“How can I change?”: A South Asian carer’s story

Carer 2Over samosas and mithai, for a standard case study, an elderly South Asian woman narrated her experience as sole carer for her husband who had dementia. Her story was rife with cultural abuse that is mitigated under the guise of cultural sensitivity, while culture is ignored where it’s truly needed. I’ve spoken about culture and how it’s caused harm in previous clinical work but I still advocate for cultural sensitivity in healthcare, accommodating cultural beliefs even when they seem antiquated. Why should anyone endure shame, offense or distress to access services? Cultural sensitivity ensures they don’t and improves lives. But can it also hurt them? Continue reading

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Culture shock in the psychiatric ward

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My first intensive clinical placement was for three months in the psychiatric department of a government hospital in Pakistan. I had just completed my bachelor’s, ignoring all the jokes about how I was becoming a ‘whitewashed’ psychologist. Regardless, I was still thrust into a form of culture shock when the placement began. Continue reading