Chapter

Patient-Clinician Relationship

Authors:
  • Private practice, Transparant Mental Health, GGZ Integraal
  • Parnassia Psychiatric Institute
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Abstract

This chapter offers an overview of aspects of patient-clinician communication in psychiatry, and the importance of this for diagnostics and therapy. It also offers a questionnaire which can be used in clinical practice.

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Different studies on the Cultural Formulation Interview, especially when administerd in refugees. Literature reviews, experimental studies, clinical experiences. next to this, a chapter on patient-clinician relationship. And two chapters on somatization in refugees: a literature review, and an experimental study. Final chapter is a discussion about the findings.
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OBJECTIVE: There are widespread concerns about disparities in mental health treatment for ethnic minority groups. However, previous research in this area has been limited mainly to the United States and Great Britain, raising doubts about the external validity with respect to other European countries. This study addressed ethnic differences in characteristics of outpatient treatment for depression in the Netherlands. METHODS: Longitudinal data (2001-2005) were extracted from a nationwide psychiatric case register. The sample consisted of 17,270 episodes of outpatient depression care. Information was available about timeliness of the initial treatment contact, treatment intensity, dropout, and early reregistration for mental health care. Data were analyzed with linear, logistic, and Cox regression analyses. RESULTS: When analyses were controlled for illness and demographic characteristics, timeliness and treatment intensity were somewhat less favorable for Moroccan, Turkish, and other non-Western clients compared with ethnic Dutch. No significant differences were found between minority and ethnic Dutch groups in dropout and early reregistration. Some treatment characteristics were in fact more favorable for Surinamese and Antillean clients compared with ethnic Dutch. CONCLUSIONS: The data provided insufficient support for the idea that treatment characteristics are generally less favorable for clients from ethnic minority groups. This finding may be related to the promotion of culturally sensitive approaches to care in mainstream mental health services but may also indicate that the role of traditional barriers, like stigma and taboo, is smaller than is usually suggested. However, the influence of language proficiency, which is notably better among Surinamese and Dutch Antillean compared with Turkish and Moroccan clients, should not be disregarded.
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The authors apply two contemporary notions of culture to advance the conceptual basis of cultural competence in psychotherapy: Kleinman's (1995) definition of culture as what is at stake in local, social worlds, and Mattingly and Lawlor's (2001) concept of shared narratives between practitioners and patients. The authors examine these cultural constructs within a clinical case of an immigrant family caring for a young boy with an autism-spectrum disorder. Their analysis suggests that the socially based model of culture and the concept of shared narratives have the potential to broaden and enrich the definition of cultural competence beyond its current emphasis on the presumed cultural differences of specific racial and ethnic minority groups. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2010 APA, all rights reserved).
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Psychiatric patients of non-western origin leave treatment against the advice of their clinicians far more often than do their western counterparts. This article presents a theoretical framework for better understanding such clinical cases, developed from examples of psychiatric practice in different cultures. The theory is based on two meanings of the concept of culture, an elaboration of the universality-relativity dichotomy, and a view of the work of mental health care providers as involving three components: (1) building a trusting relationship with the patient; (2) making a diagnosis and treatment plan; and (3) carrying out treatment that is acceptable and meaningful to the patient. The article argues that all psychiatry is transcultural psychiatry, because a cultural gap always exists between the psychiatrist and the patient.
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To illustrate the relevance and validity of ethnocultural factors in transference and countertransference, several factors that are prevalent in dyadic psychotherapy are described. Possible transference reactions within the interethnic dyad range from overcompliance and friendliness to suspicion and hostility. Intraethnic transference may involve complete idealization or devaluation of the therapist, prejudice, and ambivalence. Interethnic countertransference reactions include denial of ethnocultural differences, guilt, pity, and aggression. Intraethnic countertransference may include such reactions as overidentification, distancing, and cultural myopia. Case vignettes are included. Implications for treatment are discussed.
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Most cultural competence programs are based on traditional models of cross-cultural education that were motivated primarily by the desire to alleviate barriers to effective health care for immigrants, refugees, and others on the sociocultural margin. The main driver of renewed interest in cultural competence in the health professions has been the call to eliminate racial and ethnic disparities in the quality of health care. This mismatch between the motivation behind the design of cross-cultural education programs and the motivation behind their current application creates significant problems. First, in trying to define cultural boundaries or norms, programs may inadvertently reinforce racial and ethnic biases and stereotypes while doing little to clarify the actual complex sociocultural contexts in which patients live. Second, in attempting to address racial and ethnic disparities through cultural competence training, educators too often conflate these distinct concepts. To make this argument, the authors first discuss the relevance of culture to health and health care generally, and to disparities in particular. They then examine the concept of culture, paying particular attention to how it has been used (and misused) in cultural competence training. Finally, they discuss the implications of these ideas for health professions education.
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To confront the views of refugee patients and general practitioners in the Netherlands, focusing on medically unexplained physical symptoms (MUPS). The study is based on in depth interviews with refugees from Afghanistan (n = 36) and Somalia (n = 30). Additionally, semi-structured interviews were conducted with 24 general practitioners. Text fragments concerning the relationship between mental worries and health or physical ailments were subject of a secondary analysis, the results of which are presented. Medically unexplained physical symptoms were a key issue for both refugees and GPs. The GPs saw MUPS as a significant part of the illness presentation by refugee patients. Refugees felt GPs were often prejudiced, too readily using their difficult background as an explanation for physical symptoms. A 'general narrative' circulating in the refugee communities undermines trust. The GPs applied different strategies in dealing with MUPS presented by their refugee patients. A 'human interest strategy' is distinguished from a 'technical strategy'. The results are discussed in the wider context of the literature on MUPS and patient satisfaction. No fundamental difference in paradigms was found between refugees and GPs as to the negative influence worries and bad experiences can have on health. For a fruitful cooperation to develop, based on trust, GPs need to invest in the relationship with individual refugees, and avoid actions based on prejudice. The importance of (a lack of) trust is underestimated in medical practice. Phenomena undermining trust are often out of sight for practitioners. Critical reflection is needed on the strategies practitioners employ to deal with MUPS.
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The need for physicians who are well equipped to treat patients of diverse social and cultural backgrounds is evident. To this end, cultural competence education programs in medical schools have proliferated. Although these programs differ in duration, setting, and content, their intentions are the same: to bolster knowledge, promote positive attitudes, and teach appropriate skills in cultural competence. However, to advance the current state of cultural competence curricula, a number of challenges have to be addressed. One challenge is overcoming learner resistance, a problem that is encountered when attempting to convey the importance of cultural competence to students who view it as a "soft science." There is also the challenge of avoiding the perpetuation of stereotypes and labeling groups as "others" in the process of teaching cultural competence. An additional challenge is that few cultural competence curricula are specifically designed to foster an awareness of the student's own cultural background. The authors propose the professional culture of medicine as a framework to cultural competence education that may help mitigate these challenges. Rather than focusing on patients as the "other" group, this framework explores the customs, languages, and beliefs systems that are shared by physicians, thus defining medicine as a culture. Focusing on the physician's culture may help to broaden students' concept of culture and may sensitize them to the importance of cultural competence. The authors conclude with suggestions on how students can explore the professional culture of medicine through the exploration of films, role-playing, and the use of written narratives.
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