Kia, an Ethiopian woman arrived in London six months ago with her ten year old son, seeking asylum. They were distressed and helpless having been forced out of their home and country. She doesn’t know anything about her husband (the father of her son), because in their homeland they are being persecuted by the opposition in the country. In London she feels safer, but she can’t get over either the pain of what happened to her or the anxiety connected to not understanding the language and customs of the country.
The team at the refugee centre noticed that she was losing weight and scheduled a doctor appointment for her in a local clinic, providing the following information:
Ethiopian female refugee – Her symptoms of grief were complicated by her inability to perform her culturally sanctioned purification rituals due to her relocation. Compounding her problem, she was diagnosed at various times using Western derived diagnostic criteria by doctors who were unfamiliar with her cultural background. No research or inquiries were made regarding her cultural or religious background.
Source of the study: (Adapt Bhugra, D. and Becker, M. , 2005).
Read the following study and answer what would be the most suitable scenario:
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“The symptoms of cultural bereavement may be misdiagnosed due to problems with language, culture and the use of Western diagnostic criteria in non-Western peoples. Schreiber (13) noted that traditional healing and purification rituals as well as supportive psychotherapy, after the correct diagnosis was made, were essential in the treatment of this patient’s syndrome. Western constructs of bereavement may prove to be of only partial or limited value in explaining expressions of grief when applied to people from other cultures; however, this is an area worth further study. All human beings get bereaved, but the cultural norms are essential in dealing with bereavement.
In many cultures, it is normal to be visited by spirits and ghosts, and people of non-Western culture may describe conversations with supernatural spirits. The importance of placing these expressions of grief in the appropriate cultural context is essential in differentiating between abnormal and normal reactions to loss. Inappropriate diagnosis of psychotic disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and mood disorders have been made in people of non-Western backgrounds when clinicians ignore cultural differences in the expression of grief. The misdiagnosis and subsequent inappropriate treatment will at best not address the issue for the affected person and, at worst, cause harm”.