Historically it has been noted that therapy practices and the mental health treatment in general is limited by a lack of intersectionality and cultural awareness. Depending on the culture and associated traditions, different ethnic groups might have significantly different perceptions of the mental health issues. Patients’ cultural background influences the general perception of mental illnesses they might be inclined to have, as well as determine which treatment practices they would be comfortable with (Gopalkrishnan, 2018). It is a medical professional’s responsibility to ensure the patients’ needs are met with respect and attention to their culture.
Furthermore, it is necessary to acknowledge the way a patient’s culture might influence their previous experiences with nursing workers. A fully qualified mental health professional would thus be able to work around the limitations and specifics of one’s upbringing. It is especially important to be aware of the subconscious biases a person might have, particularly considering the history of racial discrimination in nursing. A competent therapist is expected to educate themselves on the structural inequalities to better aid the patient in dealing with them (Drustrup, 2019). Yet, particularly when a healthcare professional belongs to a socially privileged culture, they must be aware of the possibility of unknowingly playing into harmful stereotypes themselves.
To avoid this, a consistent self-improvement and education in the area of various cultures is necessary, as well as the willingness to earn a patient’s trust. When there is an established dialogue between a patient and a healthcare professional, the latter is much more likely to truly accommodate the former. Overall, any therapist as well as the medical field itself would benefit from broadening their horizons and becoming more inclusive of the traditional perceptions of others.
Gopalkrishnan, N. (2018). Cultural Diversity and Mental Health: Considerations for Policy and Practice. Frontiers In Public Health, 6. Web.
Drustrup, D. (2019). White therapists addressing racism in psychotherapy: an ethical and clinical model for practice. Ethics & Behavior, 30(3), 181-196. Web.