Intercultural Training in Tense Times: Cultural Identities and Lived Experiences Within a Community of Practice of Youth Mental Health Care in Montréal
Johnson-Lafleur, J., Nadeau, L. & Rousseau, C. (2021)
Cult Med Psychiatry
This article presents an analysis of the lived experiences of youth mental health practitioners taking part in Transcultural Interinstitutional and Interdisciplinary Case Discussion Seminars (TIICDS), an intercultural training initiative developed in Montréal (Québec, Canada), while considering the current context of increasing social polarizations. Using insights from the community of practice (CoP) framework and drawing on the analysis of 21 seminar sessions and 26 semi-structured individual interviews, this article examines the relation between the local sociopolitical context, the participants’ verbalization about their identities, and the affect and cognition evoked by the training. Results indicate that TIICDSs present several features of a CoP and that intercultural training needs to build on both theoretical and experiential knowledge, while considering local contextual elements. These include historical and contemporary social representations and power differentials between groups, the cultural identities of trainees, and the institutions and sociopolitical structures in which clinical practices take place. These elements, we argue, are sensitive and potentially conflictual but can be addressed through supportive and reflexive group-based initiatives such as CoPs that bring together practitioners on a regular basis and provide them with a ‘culturally safe enough’ space in which they can learn to complexify their understanding of clinical situations.