ERIC Number: ED419196
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1996-Aug
Reference Count: N/A
Multicultural Mental Health: Does Your Skin Color Matter More Than Your Mind? CEO Policy Brief.
Satel, Sally; Forster, Greg
A disturbing new movement in the mental health field called "Culture Competence" or "multicultural therapy" threatens to discredit traditional therapy and replace it with identity politics. In its most radical form, multicultural therapy holds that human behavior is primarily culture dependent, that doctors and patients will always experience mistrust and miscommunication if they are of different racial or ethnic groups, and that white therapists should be presumed racists. As extreme as these views may sound, their influence has been indirectly felt in the mainstream. Versions of multicultural therapy, some more moderate than others, are promoted by the federal government, various professional groups, and numerous writers and speakers in the mental health field. The most prominent cultural competitive program in the United States is the Cultural Competence and Diversity Program at San Francisco General Hospital. Doctors in the mental health unit specialize in different patient groups--blacks, Asians, Latinos, gays/lesbians/bisexuals, women, and the HIV-positive. The hospital produces a "curriculum" to guide doctors in treating patients of each group. The city of San Francisco has even created a new specialization for non-doctor health professionals: African American Health Services Specialists. No one believes that race and culture are irrelevant to mental health, but multicultural therapy seeks to establish rigid rules of treatment based on stereotypes and "groupthink." This denies the individual dignity of both doctors and patients. Contains 44 endnotes. (MKA)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Center for Equal Opportunity, Washington, DC.