Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Perspective

Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Perspective

Article excerpt

To quote George Clinton of Funkadelic, "You don't drink what I drink; You don't smoke what I smoke: You don't think like I think; You don't joke like I joke. I got a thing, you got a thing, everybody's got a thing."

Everybody has a thing, and a culturally sensitive intervention would respect that thing and run with it.

To be culturally sensitive, an intervention must have content that is welcoming to the target culture. It must contain issues of relevance to the culture and not be offensive. And it must be familiar and endorsed by the target culture.

If a given intervention has universal principles of health behavior change--aspects of the intervention create social fabric, generate connectedness, help develop social skills, build self-esteem, facilitate some social monitoring, and help to minimize trauma--that intervention can usually be retrofitted for cultural sensitivity with a little work.

Using the universal principles of health behavior change, the culture can be examined for manifestations of these principles and then they can be expressed in culturally sensitive ways. For example, if, in Native American culture, going on a spirit quest builds self-esteem, the process of building self-esteem in a Native American intervention might be best served by a spirit quest exercise--rather than by building a soccer team. …

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