Conclusions About Multicultural Assessment And Treatment Practices For African Americans

It appears that multicultural professional practices in the mental health field have significant implications for African American consumers of mental health care as well as the providers of mental health care. Multicultural practices for African Americans advocate for the following:

1. More studies on African Americans so as to better understand their history, and to add to the growing body of knowledge on African Americans and their families, children, dialects, ideas, customs, practices, beliefs, worldviews, problems of living, health and mental health risks, as well as their strengths and potentialities.

2. Better understanding of the role of culture on both wellness and illness.

3. An understanding of factors that contribute to dysfunction and maladjustment in African Americans.

4. An understanding of positive factors that lead to competency, self-reliance, responsibility, healthy growth and development, and the pursuit of happiness in African Americans.

5. The development of models, measures, practices, and clinical techniques appropriate and acceptable for African Americans in addition to the use of traditional therapies.

6. Preventive strategies to reduce high rates of pathology, maladjustment, discontent, and dysfunction where they are found.

7. The identification of negative risk factors associated with criminal behavior, substance abuse and dependence, violence, and the like.

8. Research to help identify factors related to racism, oppression, and marginalization.

9. The understanding of bicultural and biracial development, as well as racial identity development in various contexts throughout the life span.

10. The advancement of scientifically derived knowledge that empowers African Americans with self-efficacy to live better lives, particularly those who suffer from poor mental health, from poverty, from depression, from apathy, hopelessness, helplessness, high crime rates, violence, poor schools and the like.

11. The strengthening of existing mental health systems while researching and developing new systems of delivery that include the prevention of social problems related to mental health, as well as interventions that ameliorate and rehabilitate those afflicted with mental and emotional problems and disorders.

These goals necessitate (a) comprehensive understanding of the psychological life of African Americans, including all factors related to risk and maladjustment, be they cultural or not, (b) and all factors related to positive outcomes, growth and development, and (c) objective understanding of what therapies work best for whom, under what conditions, and across what specific settings.

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