Advanced Psychopathology

Monday, April 10, 2006


Lucy's Annotated Bibliography: Working With Jamaican and other British West Indian Clients

Annotated Bibliography: Working With Jamaican and other British West Indian Clients
Baptiste, D. A., Hardy, K. V. & Lewis, L. (1997). Family therapy with English Caribbean immigrant families in the United States: Issues of emigration, immigration, culture and race. Contemporary Family Therapy, 19 (3), 337-359.

This article focuses on the adjustment difficulties experienced by British West Indian families when emigrating to the U.S. Although it does address gender roles and family relations, it deals mostly with the particular social, identity and legal issues with which the average British West Indian will be coping at different phases in the immigration process. I found this article to be most helpful in understanding the immigration process as one made up of distinct phases, in which different issues become salient for the client.
Brent, J. E. & Callwood, G. B. (1993). Culturally relevant psychiatric care: The West Indian as a client. Journal of Black Psychology, 19 (3), 290-302.

The authors are native British West Indians working on the Islands, so they are able to present a rich description of the belief systems, family patterns and child-rearing practices and influences on cultural presentation of symptoms in the British West Indian client. They also use several brief vignettes to illustrate more complicated points, which add dimension and interest to the theoretical arguments. Although I did not cite it in my paper, I used this article to give me a general sense of what the British West Indian “looks like” and how they might present themselves in treatment.
Brice-Baker, J. (2005). British West Indian families. In McGoldrinck, M., Giordano, J. & Garcia-Preto, N, Ethnicity and family therapy (3rd ed.), (pp. 117-126). New York: Guilford Press.

This book is indispensable, not only for the family therapist, but for anyone who treats minority patients. Each chapter covers a specific ethnic group in depth (e.g. Salvadoran, Lebanese, Scots-Irish, etc.) and does not treat members of broader, socially-recognized groups (e.g., Asians, African-Americans or Whites) as the same. The chapter on British West Indians covers geography, social history, migration and identity issues, family relationships and help-seeking attitudes in an easy-to-read style, but at an intellectually sophisticated level. This chapter served as the basis for my paper.
Handwerker, W. P. (1992). West Indian gender relations, family planning programs and fertility decline. Social Science Medicine, 35 (10), 1245-1257.

Handwerker presents a comparative study of decline in Barbados and Antigua, using historical and social contexts as evidence for his argument that changes in the gender relations vis a vis the political economy are largely responsible for fluctuations in fertility in these countries. Although the topic was not directly related to that of my paper, I found the explanation of kinship and economic exchange very useful in understanding the roles of women and men in the British West Indies. The paper demystified a lot of the outwardly inconsistent patterns of parent-child and romantic love relationships on the islands.
Harris-Hastick, E. F. (2001). Substance abuse issues among English-speaking Caribbean people of African ancestry. In Straussner, S. L. A. (Ed.), Ethnocultural Factors in Substance Abuse Treatment, (pp. 52-75). New York: Guilford Press.

Harris-Hastick makes a detailed examination of the nature and history of slavery in the British West Indies and contrasts that with that of slavery the United States. She explores the ramifications this has had for identity and culture of the British West Indians on the islands and in the United States. The treatment of substance abuse issues is a bit general, and is just as applicable to treatment of any issues as it is to drugs and alcohol. I primarily used this article for its explanation of the social and economic structure of the colonial and post-colonial British West Indies and how this has shaped the British West Indian’s attitude about themselves and their “minority” status in the United States.
McKenzie, M. V. (1986). Ethnographic findings on West Indian-American clients. Journal of Counseling & Development, 65 (1), 40-44.

McKenzie collected ethnographic data on nine Black West-Indian youths in the United States to understand their environment, counseling, and help-seeking attitudes in order to enhance counseling experiences for this group. He also interviewed eleven counselors working with them. Using lengthy interviews and participant observation, he found strong taboos against counseling and family conflict around emotional issues. This article was particularly useful in understanding conflict between parents and children around issues of acculturation.
Ohene, S., Ireland, M. & Blum, R. W. (2005). The clustering of risk behaviors among Caribbean youth. Maternal and Child Health Journal, 9 (1), 91-100.

Using a large-scale survey method, the authors examined how early sexual activity was correlated to clusters of other risk behaviors for Caribbean youth living on the islands. They paid particular attention to behavior and clustering differences between boys and girls, and found that early sexual activity was much more common than previously expected for girls, but that it was an equally serious risk factor for violence and drug use for both boys and girls. The paper isn’t particularly useful for working with British West Indian clients, but was useful for understanding attitudes toward sexual behavior and adolescent socialization on the islands.
Payne, M. A. (1989). Use and abuse of corporal punishment: A Caribbean view. Child Abuse & Neglect, 13 (3), pp. 389-401.

Payne surveyed Barbadian adults (aged 20-59 yrs) regarding their approval or disapproval of corporal punishment in child rearing, the perceived advantages and disadvantages of such punishment and the methods and circumstances thought most appropriate for use. There was a considerable amount of consensus that corporal punishment was appropriate and effective. This article was useful in gaining a balanced view of attitudes and reasons for corporal punishment and the possible effects of this technique on children.
Schreiber, N., Stern, P. N., & Wilson, C. (2000). Being strong: How Black West-Indian Canadian women manage depression and its stigma. Journal of Nursing Scholarship, 32 (1), 39-45.

The authors used semi-structured interviews and participant observation to examine the subjective experience of Canadian British West Indian women with depression. The article presents a rich picture of the women’s lives, their concerns and fears, and their noble attempts to cope with mental illness in a culturally acceptable way. The authors explore how their attempts at coping may be both adaptive and maladaptive, and how their attempts intersect with wider cultural beliefs. I used this article to get to know the British West Indian women better, and used it to guide my reading of more theoretical or research-related articles. I would recommend this article to anyone working with any African-American or African-Canadian woman.
Smith, D. E. & Mosby, G. (2003). Jamaican child-rearing practices: The role of corporal punishment. Adolescence, 38 (150), 369-381.

This theoretical article presents a lengthy review of the evidence of the harmful effects of severe corporal punishment on children. It discusses the specific nature and practice of corporal punishment in Jamaican culture and the sources of belief that it is acceptable. Although the authors consider the origins of harsh and often unkind parenting, they come down harshly against Jamaican parents and have little to say about what might be done other than parenting education. I used this article for its explanation of gender-based parent-child relationships and how children are differentially disciplined by their mothers and fathers.
Sobo, E. J. (1996). The Jamaican body’s role in emotional experience and sense perception: Feelings, hearts, minds and nerves. Culture, Medicine and Psychiatry, 20, 313-342.

Sobo, having been a participant observer in a rural Jamaican village, describes in ethnographically rich detail the Jamaican experience of feelings, emotions, the body and how these culturally-determined experiences are integrated to interpret symptoms of mental illness. In particular, Sobo explores the experience Jamaicans have of “nerves” as a bodily-generated experience of what Western psychiatry might call “anxiety.” This article challenged the Western category of “emotion” as universal, and explained linguistic and cultural differences around emotions that could be very confusing to Americna therapists treating Jamaicans.
Thrasher, S. (1994). Psychodynamic therapy and culture in the treatment of incest of a West Indian immigrant. Journal of Child Sexual Abuse, 3 (1), 1994, 37-52.

This is a case study in which Thrasher describes the treatment of a survivor of incest of West Indian origin. Thrasher presents cultural background necessary to understand the case and her theoretical approach to treating survivors of sexual abuse. The article is less useful for understanding cultural issues in the treatment than it is for understanding treatment technique. I used this article to orient myself to the basic cultural issues in treatment and for Thrasher’s useful guidelines for working with immigrant minority clients.

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