How to Tailor Mental Health Treatments to Better Serve Diverse Populations

By:
To add a paper, Login.

Mounting evidence indicates that mental illness is highly responsive to one’s socio-cultural, work, family, and community environment. Positive family environment in particular has been related to prevention of psychotic relapse and re-hospitalization rates. Existing therapies have shown a decrease in mental illness symptoms following family oriented interventions. However, most treatment programs in the United States are developed and offered only in English and are not culturally informed. These existing programs fail to meet the needs of many minorities in the United States and Canada. The purpose of this workshop is to highlight the importance of diversity and cultural relevancy in treating mentally ill populations. We will introduce attendees to specific techniques and offer detailed handouts that guide those in contact with the mentally ill to work with them in a more culturally informed manner. An NIH sponsored treatment (Weisman, Koneru, Duarte, and Wasserman, 2006) developed by the first author will be used to demonstrate concrete examples of how these methods can be employed. Although this culturally informed family therapy was originally designed to be used with Hispanic families coping with schizophrenia, discussion will focus on how these techniques can be applied to many different disorders and populations. Aims of the treatment are not only to reduce psychiatric symptoms, but also to increase patient and family functioning to encourage greater integration into the community and occupational work force. Attendees will work with the panelists in an interactive format and will have opportunities to practice with the techniques and handouts in hypothetical situations conducive to working with a variety of populations. How strategies may be used outside of the context of therapy will also be discussed.


Keywords: Mental Health, Schizophrenia, Culturally Informed Therapy, Hispanics
Stream: Race and Racism
Presentation Type: Workshop Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.


Amy Gina Weisman de Mamani

Associate Professor, Psychology, University of Miami
Coral Gables, Florida, USA

I am an Associate Professor at the University of Miami with over 30 peer reviewed publications addressing how culture influences the manifestations and course of mental illness Currently, my biggest research project is to evaluate the efficacy of a Family-Focused, Culturally Informed, Therapy for Schizophrenia (CIT-S), which was developed at the University of Miami. This pilot study is in its third and final year of funding by the National Institute of Mental Health. CIT-S incorporates elements found to be effective in prior family treatment studies of mental illness, while adding new cultural components hypothesized to enhance treatment efficacy. The intervention emphasizes the following: fortifying a strong sense of family unity; educating relatives about the illness; helping participants tap into cultural, spiritual, and/or existential beliefs that may aid them in conceptualizing and coming to terms with the illness; and teaching effective communication and problem-solving skills to help create a stable and therapeutic home environment. I also regularly teach graduate and undergraduate courses on Diversity and culture.

Radha Dunham

Graduate student, Psychology, University of Miami
Coral Gables, FL, USA

Radha has just finished her third year in a clinical psychology Ph.D. program. Her masters thesis focused on assessing competence/adherence to a Culturally Informed, Family Focused Treatment for Schizophrenia and its association with treatment drop out. Her dissertation will explore issues around client-therapist match (in ethnicity, gender, values, etc) and treatment success. She has worked with several culturally diverse patients with schizophrenia and their relatives and will be an active participant in this workshop.

Stephanie Aldebot

Graduate student, Psychology, University of Miami
Coral Gables, FL, USA

Stephanie has just finished her first year in a clinical psychology Ph.D. program. Her masters thesis is underway and is focused on understanding the role of patients' insight into their illness and clinical success in a Culturally Informed, Family Focused Treatment for Schizophrenia. She has conducted assessments on several culturally diverse patients with schizophrenia and their relatives and will be an active participant in this workshop.

Naomi Tuchman

Graduate Student, Psychology, University of Miami
Coral Gables, FL, USA

Naomi just finished her first year of graduate school in a clinical psychology Ph.D. program. She is studying the role of spirituality and meaning making in coping with schizophrenia for her master's thesis. She has conducted clinical assessments with several patients and families with schizophrenia as part of a research study on Cultural Informed Treatment for Schizophrenia.

Stephanie Wasserman

Psychology, University of Miami
Coral Gables, FL, USA

Stephanie just finished her fourth year of graduate school in a clinical psychology Ph.D. program. She is studying the role of shame, guilt, and religion in coping with schizophrenia. She has treated numerous families on a project entitled "Culturally Informed Therapy for Schizophrenia." She will assist in preparation of this talk.

Ref: D08P0383