Question 1: What is the value of cultural awareness and sensitivity training for psychologist? Discuss
Globally, psychologists interact with clients who emanate from a background characterized by diversity in terms of ethnicity, linguistic orientation and cultural establishment. They work in varied environments and under different conditions. Generally, their experiences differ considerably. Their effectiveness is dependent on a host of factors. These range from the skills and knowledge that they have to experience in this particular field of specification. To knowledgeably and acceptably perform their duties, it cannot be disputed that psychologists have to endow themselves with sufficient knowledge and skills. However, of great importance in the current, diverse work environment is their ability to deal with cultural challenges. In this regard, cultural competence is of paramount importance (Knox, Burkard, Adanna & Suzuki, 2008).
In their consultative review, Delgado-Romero, Galvan, Maschino and Rowland (2005) indicate that cultural competence is a complex and all encompassing field of knowledge. Culturally distinct information about a certain community includes its religious practices, rituals, symbols, communication patterns and illness beliefs amongst others. In their research, Wing-Sue and McGoldrick (2005) found out that knowledge of this information enables psychologists to understand and appreciate the behaviors of their clients. According to their findings, this enables them to devise viable ways of addressing the problems of their consumer base in a sustainable manner. It eases interactions between them and the clients they serve. It also helps them to understand and address the health concerns of clients with utmost ease. This yields desirable outcomes in the long run (Wing-Sue & McGoldrick, 2005).
According to Wing Sue and McGoldrick (2005), cultural sensitivity enables psychologists to develop positive attitudes towards their clients. This enhances harmonic co existence that is requisite for effective functioning. A positive attitude enables the psychologists to exercise tolerance when dealing with their clients. In this regard, Delgado-Romero et al (2005) found out that certain norms of particular communities always conflict with the cultural norms of the psychologists. This is apparent in the culturally diverse work environment that the modern day psychologists work in. By developing tolerance, Lum (2004) believes that psychologists are able to perform optimally in such work environments.
Cultural competence is also useful in enabling the psychologists to improve the health of their clients. In their review, Knox, Burkard, Adanna and Suzuki (2008) cite that certain health problems stem primarily from undesirable cultural practices. In particular, traditional rituals that are performed by certain communities have adverse psychological implications on the participants. In his consultative research, Lum (2004) found out that a significant 68% of traditional rituals undertaken by aboriginal communities affect their psychological health. He recommended that understanding the effects of such cultural practices enables psychologists to devise effective, sustainable, and timely intervention measures. With these, they are able to prevent and curb detrimental effects of the cultural practices.
Question 2: What is an explanatory model of depression? Refer to postnatal depression when answering this question.
Depression is a distressing psychological state that has far reaching implications on the health of an individual. The possibility of women developing depression especially after delivery is very high. If left untreated, this has detrimental implications on both the mother and the child. Understanding the contributory factors is fundamental for preventing the deleterious implications that are associated with postnatal depression. Most importantly, knowledge of cultural dimensions to this problem is vital (Callister, Beckstrand & Corbett, 2010).
The explanatory model of depression is a psychological perspective that seeks to demystify the causes, process and effects of depression through three basic components graded as personal, permanent and pervasive. Further, the model has two styles of explaining negative and positive events related to depression which are also classified as pessimistic explanatory and optimistic explanatory (Oettingen, 1995). The components act to trace the source of depression with the personal component linking to causes believed to be self induced while the permanent component depends on conditions believed to be unalterable; commonly linked to predicament and fate. The pervasive component draws out from various effects of activities that make individuals believe in various extents of effects (Oettingen, 1995).
Postnatal depression, also referred to as postpartum depression; is the distressing psychological and emotional state that occurs in the after birth period. Using the explanatory model, several causes and effects of this state can trace their links to the components of the explanatory model, with mothers experiencing postnatal depression being placed in personal, permanent and pervasive components as sources of their depression (Leahy & Dowd, 2002). In explicating postnatal depression, the explanatory model orders the numerous causes and symptoms of depression in various trends that determine patterns of effecting cognitive reactions of mothers (Leahy & Dowd, 2002). The pessimistic explanatory and optimistic explanatory styles seek to show responsiveness to depression in mothers in the postnatal period. Pessimistic explanatory is used to explain behaviour that is individually blame cantered from mothers in relation to depression causes. Individuals with this perspective tend to recover from depression at a slow pace. On the other hand, optimistic explanatory refers to distributed vision of blame to negative effects in life, leading to a more optimistic view of recovery from depression (Leahy & Dowd, 2002). Succinctly, the explanatory model of depression explains postnatal depression by viewing causes, symptoms, responses and possible outcomes.
The causes and effects of depression to the mother and child are made of both minor and major depressions. According to Misri (2005), mood disorders that are experienced after pregnancy contribute a great deal to postnatal depression. In this regard, 84% of women from varied cultural backgrounds reportedly experience mood disorders (Misri, 2005). In particular, changes in estradiol hormone trigger postpartum depression. Biologically, these are triggered by the changes that occur in the gonadal steroid levels. Also, Bennet, Taddio, Koren and Einarson (2004) found out that, women that experience mood disorders during their menstrual periods face a higher probability of likelihood to develop depression during this postnatal period. This according to their findings is attributable to the withdrawal of progesterone and estrogen hormones.
In his research, Mule (2003) found out that the problems that are associated with pregnancy and delivery, equally contribute to post natal depression. Coupled with a history of psychiatric illness, relative complications have direct negative effects on the psychological wellbeing of the nursing mother. Further, statistical evidence indicates that women with a stressful social life are more likely to experience postpartum depression (Bowen & Muhajarine, 2006). Stressful social life in this regard is all encompassing including familial violence, financial constraints, nutritional problems, poor marital relations, and lack of vital social support amongst others. In essence, causal factors include the interplay between hormonal changes, genetic vulnerability, major life events and environmental stress (Mule, 2003).
Question 3: Provide an overview of Berry's acculturation model and critically evaluate the theory.
In order for an individual to co-exist in a harmonic manner in a given society, he or she needs to be conversant with the cultural aspects of the respective community. In the current global community, members are drawn from diverse cultural backgrounds. They have varied beliefs and practices. Also, they uphold different values as well as virtues that are in some instances conflicting in nature (Kress, Eriksen, Rayle & Ford, 2005). Regardless of this, they need to devise ways through which they can live peacefully. The fact that peaceful living contribute significantly to the wellbeing of an individual cannot be disputed. The process of acculturation enables an individual to attain the culture of a given community and use the same to interact with the respective community with ease (Kress et al, 2005).
In his model, Berry suggested that acculturation has distinct categories including segregation, marginalization, assimilation and integration. These categories are solely determined by the importance an individual places on ethnic identification and his or her need to maintain credible relationships in a dominant society (Kress et al, 2005). Thus, while individuals in the assimilation category prefer maintaining relations with dominant groups, those in integration category place great emphasis on maintaining ethnic identity as well as sustaining good relationships with dominant cultural groups. The marginalization proponents disregard the need to establish and maintain any form of relationships with the dominant groups (Kress et al, 2005). Finally, the individuals assuming the segregation category place emphasis on only maintaining ethnic cultural identity with other groups in the society.
As indicated earlier, sustainable living is heavily dependent on the establishment and maintenance of viable relationships. These relationships cushion an individual against the various challenges that they may encounter. Kuo (2004) posits that they provide social security by cultivating a sense of belonging to the society. For this reason, individuals need to assume the culture of the dominant groups within society. This also enables them to benefit optimally from societal resources offered by the respective community.
Nonetheless, it is worth appreciating that although assimilation is important in attaining this state of affairs, it deprives an individual of his or her cultural identity. In his research, Kuo (2004) found out that 50% of populations that get assimilated completely forget their culture. This can be detrimental in instances where an individual does not plan to stay within a specific community for long. Thus, just like the theory suggests, Moore and Constantine (2005) also agree that an individual should assess the outcomes of the acculturation objectively before deciding which category best meets his or her needs. In the long run, the process of acculturation should present some consistency with the needs of the respective individual.
Preferably, the category of integration within this model provides a better alternative to an individual in terms of cultural relationships. This is because while seeking relationships with dominant groups, the individual in this category does not dump his original cultural endowment. As there is maintenance of ethnic identity, this individual fits best in both societies should they be confronted with the option of returning to the previous society (Kress et al, 2005).
The disregard of dominant groups by proponents of marginalization is also worth questioning. In essence, all cultures have some valuable aspects that they add to an individual. Any individual undergoing acculturation needs to keep all the valuable elements of the previous culture as they acquire new elements of a current culture. This way, the process becomes more beneficial to the individual.
Question 4: Can Australian psychology contribute to improving the welfare of Indigenous Australians? Discuss
As a field of study, Psychology is beneficial to the society in different ways. Besides helping the communities to identify and address various social problems, psychological approach to problem resolution yields sustainable outcomes. In this regard, relative approaches address the root causes of the problem. Undoubtedly, Australian psychology contributes significantly to the wellbeing of the aboriginal populations. Besides improving the health of these individuals, Psychology has been instrumental in enhancing harmonic living, empowering the populations economically, and enhancing social and political relations of this community.
As a discipline of Australian psychology, counseling can be used to identify the various problems that the aboriginal communities grapple with (Mellor, 2004). Basically, counseling tends to be an interactive process through which psychologists can help indigenous communities to identify wide ranging problems that compromise their quality of life. In his review of the approaches used by Psychology students in the field, Mellor (2004) found out that most of them prefer talking directly to their clients. Intrinsic interaction also ensures that the solutions to these problems are culturally sound, and sourced from the community. In his review, Cool (2007) found out that solutions that are sourced from the community tend to be more sustainable and effective than those introduced by counselors. Counseling sessions are also educative in nature. Psychologists can use this to empower the locals with adequate skills and knowledge to address their problems in a timely and effective manner. Compared to other approaches of problem resolution, this yields the best results because it is sustainable. Put differently, it has direct positive impacts on the attitudes and general thought patterns of this population.
In their research, Eley, Hunter and Young (2006) found out that Australian psychology advocates for greater involvement of the aboriginal communities in social and political activities. Fundamentally, this prevents incidences of social segregation. It promotes good governance. Through active involvement in politics and other important social activities, aboriginal communities get favorable opportunities to share in the resources that are provided by the society. This greatly improves their standards of living and general wellbeing (Bennet & Zubrzyeki, 2003). Furthermore, it improves their level of productivity at both the individual and communal level. Ultimately, this boosts their general wellbeing.
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