Race And Culture Within Clinical Psychology

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African-centered psychology strives to address issues of race and culture within clinical psychology, with the goal of providing the best and most appropriate mental health care for African-American individuals. While traditional clinical psychology relies upon the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders to define mental illnesses, African-centered psychology more broadly states that psychopathology is not solely “individual intra-psychic malfunction but includes a larger context of social and political descent” (Kwate, 2005). Specifically, Daudi Azibo has proposed his own psychiatric nosology that is tailored to the African-American in relation to traditional African values, looking beyond the Eurocentric bias.
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Like traditional clinical psychology, behaviors are considered to be disordered if they cause an individual distress, and such is the case within African-centered psychology. Unlike traditional psychology, however, Azibo also compares behaviors to African values and their impact on the community as a whole. Therefore, a behavior that may not necessarily be troublesome to the individual or even family and friends may threaten the African-American community as a whole and is thus disordered. In order to fully understand the Azibo nosology, it is necessary to have an understanding of the language used to define disorders. Some of the disorders within the Azibo are misorientations, which are defined as “a genetic blackness minus psychological blackness” (Robinson, 2009). A person with a misorientation disorder is operating within the world “without an African-centered belief system…[s/he] proceeds with a cognitive definitional system that is non-Black” and eventually replaces psychological blackness with a Eurocentric psychology (Robinson, 2009). Azibo also proposes the concept of mentacide, which involves the loss of pro-black attitudes and orientations in the African-American mind. Furthermore, the void created by the loss of these pro-Black attitudes is replaced with a pro-European orientation that leads to the
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