Enhancing Cultural Sensitivity of Psychiatrists from Russia
Haim Y. Knobler, Shlomit Katz, Inessa Poliakova, Rimona Durst
Jerusalem Mental Health Center, Kfar Shaul Hospital, Jerusalem
The importance of understanding the local culture and enhancing cultural sensitivity became evident during supervision of immigrant psychiatrists from the former Soviet Union. The aim of the present study was to describe enhancement of this cultural sensitivity in the supervision of 2 immigrant psychiatrists. In the first, understanding the patient's cultural world helped the immigrant psychiatrist form the therapeutic alliance. In the second, the immigrant psychiatrist's understanding of the patient's cultural background led him to change both diagnosis and treatment. In both cases, development of cultural sensitivity through supervision enabled successful treatment. Enhancement of cultural sensitivity may accelerate absorption of the immigrant psychiatrists themselves. Discussing cultural issues during work may accelerate the absorption of all immigrant physicians.