Western-trained practitioners assess clients and make mental health diagnoses from the perspective of based of Western diagnostic frameworks which are based on the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM V) or the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD-10) (American Psychiatric Association (APA), 2013a; WHO, 1992). The DSM V is the reference manual used in New Zealand in mental health services, providing a common language for clinicians and for referral purposes.
Clinicians who are not required to make a formal diagnosis often carry an internalised diagnostic template based on these commonly used systems.
The implication is that all behaviour and symptoms are valuated against a Western conception of mental health and illness which splits mental and physical illnesses. This has serious implications for cross-cultural psychiatry.