Current Themes in Psychiatry in Theory and Practice by Niruj Agrawal, Jim Bolton, Raghunandan Gaind (eds.)

By Niruj Agrawal, Jim Bolton, Raghunandan Gaind (eds.)

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Migration, cultural bereavement and cultural identity. World Psychiatry 2004; 4(1): 18–24. 4. UNESCO. The Race Question. 1950. 5. Tseng W. From peculiar psychiatric disorders through culture-bound syndromes to culture-related specific syndromes. Transcultural Psychiatryy 2006; 43: 554–76. 6. Jaspers K. General Psychopathology. y Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press; 1997 [1959], p. 709. 7. Littlewood R. From categories to context: a decade of the ‘new cross-cultural psychiatry’. British Journal of Psychiatryy 1990; 156: 308–27.

This raises the moot question; is ‘dangerousness’ a medical diagnosis, and in conducting risk assessments are psychiatrists conducting legitimate medical investigations? Dangerousness has been defined as ‘a propensity to cause serious physical illness or lasting psychological harm’ by the Butler Committee,44 and as ‘an unpredictable and untreatable tendency to inflict or risk irreversible injury or destruction or to induce others to do so’. Both definitions view dangerousness as a static or permanent feature of a person’s psyche.

These attributes can only be fostered in those with a degree of self-awareness for their attitudes to other cultural groups and appreciation that their own values and beliefs are largely culturally determined. The culturally competent clinician is able to operate effectivelyy in different cultural contexts for the benefit of patients. For example, cultural knowledge and sensitivity are required for the correct assessment of an Indian male who presents complaining of semen loss. 17 This complaint thus frequently refers to fatigue and moral failure and is accompanied by foreboding and doom.

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