Controversy: Culturally Bound Syndromes and Symptoms

Part A:

The question was posed about how do clinicians go about remaining culturally aware and sensitive to their patients and I was curious as to what protocols would be used in a clinical setting. After doing some research I found that there are in fact assessments that a clinician can use that will take into account a person’s culture. It is called the Cultural Formation Interview (CFI) which was made in response to the multitude of varying cultures around the world. “This evidence-based tool is composed of a series of questionnaires that assist clinicians in making person-centered cultural assessments to inform diagnosis and treatment planning” (DeSilva, Krishan Aggarwal, & Lewis-Fernández, 2015, Pg. 1). The assessment is broken down into four domains: Cultural definition of the problem, cultural perceptions of cause, context, and support (including cultural identity), cultural factors that affect self-coping and past help seeking, and cultural factors that affect current help seeking. The ultimate goal of the CFI is to ensure that patients received personalized care that focuses on the patient being heard and understood.

I encourage everyone to read the article linked below to find out more about the CFI and how it is used by clinicians.


DeSilva, R., Krishan Aggarwal, N., & Lewis-Fernández, R. (2015). The DSM-5 Cultural Formulation Interview and the Evolution of Cultural Assessment in Psychiatry. Psychiatric Times, 32(6), 1–4. Retrieved from (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.

Part B:

I tried to find something relatable that maybe other people have heard of to a make a point (I sure hope it worked). The more I read about culture stricken diseases, the more I go back and forth with how I feel about them. I question if a disease can be culture-specific?i feel that what a lot of people’s experiences negative or positive is also the result of how educated a person or culture is and/or the lack of education(this is in reference to culture stricken illnesses, practices and rituals.

Another disease that comes to mind when it’s culture related is sickle cell anemia. Sickle cell anemia is a blood disease that has been found to more prevalent in the African America community than most others.

According to the CDC

  • SCD affects approximately 100,000 Americans.
  • SCD occurs among about 1 out of every 365 Black or African-American births.
  • SCD occurs among about 1 out of every 16,300 Hispanic-American births.
  • About 1 in 13 Black or African-American babies is born with sickle cell trait (SCT).

This is to me is a good example of how disease effects one culture very strongly but, can have profound effects on other cultures as well.

Nnlmscr. ( February 8, 2018). Sickle Cell Anemia Predominant Among African Americans. Retrieved From:…

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