Western Discipline

Pre Course Reading for CALD 9

eCALD Supplementary Resources

image post it framework

Mental Health as a Western Discipline

Health professionals trained in Western biomedical and biopsychosocIal models need training and practice in cultural competency to meet the needs of clients and families from a diverse range of cultural backgrounds. Mental health practitioners face an additional challenge in that their discipline and tools are steeped in Western values and perspectives. Despite increasing recognition of the critical importance of cultural factors in mental illness, the assumptions of psychiatric universalism continue to dominate and to view  culture-specific disorders as  simply minor deviations of prototypic disorders (Marsella & Yamada, 2000). 

Post-modern perspectives have led us to the recognition that much of our reality is socially and culturally constructed. We have also become aware of the power of the dominant culture in determining what is acceptable and what is considered deviant.

The differences in approach can contribute to the challenges we face when working with CALD clients.

Reflect on the question below and type in the space provided and then click CONTINUE to bring up our response.


Think about the system you’re working in and the Western framework you’re using to work with CALD clients. Is the system or the framework you are using, creating some of the barriers/challenges you have listed in the earlier section?