BOOK REVIEWS

 
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Priory Lodge Education Limited, 1996-2000.
Last Amended: 28/03/99

 

Counselling in a multicultural society. Edited by Stephen Palmer and Pittu Laungani. SAGE Publications. 1998. 224 pages. ISBN-Cloth 0-7619-5064-8; Paper 0-7619-5065-6. 37.50 (Cloth), 13.99 (Paper)

 This book addresses a range of theoretical, practical and methodological issues in relation to counselling in a multicultural society. It looks at the salient value systems of the Western and non-Western cultures and sensitises the readers to the cultural and racial setting in which counselling occurs and the difficulties that cultural differences can bring to the therapeutic setting. It explores the impact of culture on identity and interaction and raises the reader's awareness of the specific counselling needs of those from differing backgrounds.

The book contains eight chapters on a range of important issues, such as, culture, identity, racism, assessment, culture centred counselling, effective counselling, and the multi-modal approach to counselling. The first chapter presents models that would help counsellors comprehend cultural diversity more clearly and a fascinating case study as an appendix. The second chapter goes deeper into the cultural differences in values and emphasises that this appreciation has to be the most essential feature of counselling, in a multicultural society. The third chapter examines racism and the fourth Western models of counselling. The fifth chapter looks at the specific counselling needs of those who come from different racial or cultural backgrounds, the sixth highlights the inherent limitations of the Client Centred approach, the seventh searches for an effective approach in this context and the final chapter describes such an approach i.e. the multi-modal approach.

 This is a very thought provoking book and an invaluable resource for all the counsellors.

 Kedar Nath Dwivedi

   

The Essential Groupworker: Teaching and Learning Creative Groupwork. Mark Doel and Catherine Sawdon Jessica Kingsley Publishers. 1999. 240 pages. ISBN-1-85302 823 1. paper 15.95

  This book considers what is essential in effective work with groups. The chapters include: Why groupwork?, Education and training for groupwork, Power and oppression in groupwork, The planning phase, Offering groupwork, The first session and the group agreement, Action techniques in groups, Interactional techniques in groups, Individual behaviours in the group, Individual and the group, Co-working and leadership in groups, Recording and evaluating groupwork, and Endings in groupwork.

 Thus, the book describes how to plan, set up and maintain a working group. The authors show how to evaluate outcomes and apply knowledge gained through experience, and consider ways of approaching group endings. They use 'activities' to promote the reader's comprehension and involvement. Most importantly they examine the ways in which power and power relations, and individual and group identities influence the success or failure of a group. They also focus on how groupwork can be taught and learnt. It is therefore, a fresh look at groupwork and has tried to capture many of its essence. Groupwork with children and adolescents has been largely overlooked, although a great deal of the book can be applicable in this field as well.

 Kedar Nath Dwivedi

  

Counselling with Native American Indians and Alaska Natives: Strategies for Helping Professionals. Roger D. Herring. SAGE Publications. 1999. 192 pages. ISBN-Cloth 0-7619-1386-6; Paper 0-7619-1387-4. 41.00 (Cloth), 15.99 (Paper)

 This book addresses the status of Native American Indian and Alaska natives in the contemporary American society and how to equip the professionals who can help these groups.

 There are seven chapters. The first chapter looks at terminology and demographics, the second considers the applicability of assessment instruments to this population, the third and the fourth focus on youth and adult clients respectively. Chapter 5 explores career development and counselling issues, chapter 6 illustrates the value of creative arts in counselling, and the last chapter highlights the implications for training, practice and research with Native American Indian and Alaska Natives. The book does not go into their cultural values, philosophical ideologies, teachings or ceremonies but has a valuable appendix for the purpose.

 This is an extremely helpful beginner's book for the workers with the above ethnic groups and will also be of interest to many professionals and academic interested in transcultural mental health.

  

Kedar Nath Dwivedi

 

Therapy across Culture. Inga Brit-Krause. SAGE Publications. 1998. 208 pages. ISBN-0-8039-7527-9. 13.99

 

It has been a pleasure to read this book. The book has examined not only the theoretical but also the practical aspects of culture and has introduced anthropological issues that are relevant to cross-cultural work. It offers not only an overview but through numerous examples, it makes a number of complex ethnographic and anthropological concepts (such as, kinship, ritual, taboo and so on) easily accessible and comprehensible to the professionals in the field of counselling, psychotherapy, psychoanalysis and others in the field of mental health. For example, the concept of ‘ritual’ becomes clearer as we read the following.

 

‘…ritual is a kind of metacommunication similar to play (Bateson 1973:154).Both these types of behaviour frame episodes or sequences of action with the message that within this frame something different from normal action is taking place. The action within the frame does not mean the same as the action outside the frame. Bateson’s famous example was that of two young monkeys having a playfight. The monkeys were performing the same action as if they were fighting and yet it was evident to Bateson as well as to the monkeys themselves that this was not a fight. Something about the sequence carried the message that this was play. This same could be said for ritual.’

(p.102)

 

I have thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and welcome it as an important contribution to bridge the fields of anthropology and mental health. I am sure that it would be of great interest to academicians and practitioners of each of the above fields.

Kedar Nath Dwivedi

 

 

Assessing and Treating Culturally Diverse Clients: A Practical Guide, second edition. Freddy A. Paniagua, SAGE Publications. 1998. Multicultural Aspects of Counselling Series 4. 161 pages. ISBN-0-7619-1050-6

 

This is the second edition of the book in which the author has expanded his original work. It starts by examining certain concepts such as, minority, Ethnicity, race and multicultural and outlines some general guidelines for assessment and treatment of multicultural groups. It offers a summary of examples of cultural commonalities across groups and within subgroups. It then provides guidelines for assessment and treatment of several specific groups of ethnic minority clients, such as, African American, Hispanic, Asian and American Indian clients. It also includes guidelines for evaluating and using epidemiological mental health literature and deals with the use of culturally biased instruments and of cultural variables in DSM-IV. Thus the book offers practical guidelines for dealing with issues while assessing and treating clients from culturally diverse backgrounds. Many of the guidelines appear to be extremely helpful, however, I am not sure of many of the underlying assumptions, as there is a lack of elaboration of evidence. For example,

 

‘In general, African Americans, American Indians, Hispanics, and Asians prefer a therapy process that encompasses a directive approach (i.e., they want to know what is the problem and what to do to solve the problem), an active approach (i.e., what exactly is the therapist recommending to solve the problem; Sue & Sue, 1990)’.

(p.17)

Although the book focuses on the ethnic minorities in the American society but a number of principles can be applicable in transcultural mental health practices elsewhere.

 

Kedar Nath Dwivedi

 

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Priory Lodge Education Limited, 1996-2000.
Last Amended: 28/03/99