Graduate School of Psychoanalysis and Psychoanalytic training
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Courses Open to Public

Cultural Psychopathology & Social Psychiatry

PC 787

This seminar is intended to familiarize students with the social and cultural aspects of mental health or illness. Cultural psychopathology is a field of study focusing on the ways in which social and cultural factors contribute to the experience and expression of psychological distress. The analysis of the relationship between culture and psychopathology is critical for mental health professionals who work with ethnically diverse communities. The therapists' therapeutic blunders, misdiagnoses, or their zeal in over diagnosis often speaks to their cultural insensitivity and lack of appreciation of the sociocultural contexts of symptomatic behaviors. This course is interdisciplinary in that it includes material from many fields. Topics to be covered in this course include: major controversies in the conceptualization and construction of mental illness, cross-national epidemiological and ethnographic research on major and minor psychiatric disorders, culture-bound syndromes and idioms of distress, and therapeutic theory and practices as forms of symbolic or cultural rituals of healing. The more general objective of the course is to put metal illness in a socio-cultural context and bring together the contributions of different human sciences for a systematic understanding of that phenomenon. The most specific aim is to provide students and practitioners with a language and theoretical framework that would be helpful for understanding their patients from diverse populations, for conducting research or doing critical writing in the field of mental health.

Begins February 7, 2014. Meets every other Friday from 3-5 PM for 12 classes.

For Continuing Education Credit (24 CE's): $450; For academic credit (3 credits): $1875 *There is a $50 registration fee due at the time of registration

Siamak Movahedi, Ph.D., Cert. Psya is on the faculty at BGSP, where he is a professor of psychoanalysis and the Director of the Institute for the Study of Psychoanalysis, Society & Culture. He is also a professor of Sociology at the University of Massachusetts, Boston.

This course is designed to help you:
1. Explore the relationship between culture and psychopathology.
2. Explain the major controversies in the conceptualization and construction of mental illness.
3. Utilize a language and theoretical framework for clinical understanding and research.