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Challenging the Eurocentric bias in psychology: a counselling psychologist's perspective

Ker, R. J. (2013). Challenging the Eurocentric bias in psychology: a counselling psychologist's perspective. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City University)


For mainstream services to meet the necds of an increasingly diverse population, a shift from a 'one size fits all' Eurocentric treatment approach is nccessary. Inspired by the research efforts in the UK to better understand the discrepancies in service use and experience of Black and ethnic minority service users, the present study aimed to learn from Ghanaian colleagues and to give a voice to their experience and expertise. The project hoped to gain an understanding of Ghanaian mental health professionals' experiences of working in a culture where traditional or spiritual explanations for experiences that are classified as mental illness by Western psychiatric approaches are common; specifically, their knowledge of alternative health beliefs and practices, the challenges associated with working with this client group with Western approaches and the strategies they employed to minimise these challenges. In a cultural centre of traditional African beliefs, thc project aimed to explore the process of marrying two drastically different worldviews. Theoretical sampling was used to select participants that could offer rich and relevant data, and qualitative inclusion criteria made experience a priority (community psychiatric nurses, psychiatrists, psychologists and charity workers were included in the sample). The data was thematically analysed according to the procedure of Braun and Clarke (2006). Analysis revealed the Ghanaians' ability to occupy multiple worldviews and explored health beliefs relating to mental illness. The data provides an insight into the challenges and complexities associated with delivering mainstream health care in a culture underpinned by traditional beliefs, and presents data that shines a spotlight on the way Ghanaian mental health professionals work psychologically with this client group. The findings are considered in relation to the British research that documents the challenges facing the UK with regard to improving service engagement, and experience of services, for Africans living in the UK. Clinical implications are discussed.

Publication Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GT Manners and customs
Departments: Doctoral Theses
School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Psychology
School of Health & Psychological Sciences > School of Health & Psychological Sciences Doctoral Theses
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