Interdisciplinary Case Discussions as a Training Modality to Teach Cultural Formualtion in Child Mental Health

Rousseau, C.; Johnson-Lafleur, J.; Papazian-Zohrabian, G. (2018)

Transcultural Psychiatry

On line

The DSM-5 Cultural Formulation Interview (CFI) may become an important tool to help operationalize culture in the clinical realm. However, challenges exist in teaching its use to avoid the risk of stereotyping and oversimplification, which could result in misunderstanding and stigma. The aim of this article is to document whether the CFI can be taught using regular Interdisciplinary Case Discussion Seminars (ICDSs), proposed as continuing education in child mental health and as part of clinical rotations for new trainees. During a two-year evaluative research project, ICDSs were held monthly in three different primary care settings servicing recent immigrants in Montreal, Canada. ICDSs were recorded and analyzed to examine their effect on the cultural formulation process and focus groups were conducted to explore the subjective experience of the participant trainees and professionals. Results suggest that ICDSs are a helpful way to teach the use of the CFI. The group discussions helped participants to better capture the complexity of the cultural and social experience of the child and family by moving away from simple identity assignations, supporting an inquiry into structural dimensions, and considering stigma and inequality in their formulation. The multiple levels of diversity (individual, disciplinary, and interinstitutional) represented in the discussion groups helped clinicians to understand the cultural formulation as situated in a specific relational context and a particular moment and, in so doing, helped trainees to avoid cultural formulations that essentialize culture.