Reviewer: Nishad J. Nadkarni, MD (Rush University Medical Center)
Description: This book serves to introduce concepts of cross-cultural psychiatry to mental health clinicians in an easy-to-understand, general format.
Purpose: In today's multicultural society, it is important for clinicians to have a strong understanding of transcultural psychiatry as not merely a collection of exotic culture-bound syndromes, but as relevant in placing a valence on such common disorders as depression. This change of perspective reflects recent trends in immigration and the increase in those seeking mental health services.
Audience: Mental health practitioners, both medically and nonmedically trained, will find this book of great use. In addition, given training requirements in this area of mental health, this book is a must-read for trainees.
Features: The subject of transcultural psychiatry is divided into several broad areas of concern, including initial diagnosis and the cultural expression of symptoms, treatment both pharmacologically as well as psychotherapeutically and cultural differences in response, and finally training issues. The material is supported by numerous excellent schematics, flowcharts, and summary boxes in each chapter. A minor shortcoming of this book is the exclusion of a thorough reference list.
Assessment: Though small in size, this book is dense on information, and serves as an excellent introduction to the area of transcultural psychiatry. Specifically it emphasizes the shift in thinking about this area in terms of more relevant and clinically important cultural valences attached to common psychiatric disorders. It is important reading for trainees as well as established practitioners in a multicultural society.