Cultural Clinical Psychology and PTSD
Cultural Clinical Psychology and PTSD
4 Cultural Psychology Is More Than Cross- Cultural Comparisons Toward Cultural Dimensions in Traumatic Stress Research
This chapter considers cultural dimensions to be a theory-guided framework within which to approach the wealth of psychological differences across diverse cultural groups. First, a few reflective statements will provide some background to the topic. This is followed by an overview of the current state of research on these dimensions in general, as well as in the area of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and prolonged grief disorder (PGD). The goal of this chapter is to encourage research which takes more of the so-called contextual factors into account when describing or analyzing posttrauma or postbereavement individuals, groups, or communities. Background: Cross-, Inter-, Trans-Cultural Psychology, or just Cultural Psychology?
Are we dealing with one unified psychology for all humans? If not, how many culturally diverse psychologies do we need to consider? In any case, how can we best describe the abundance of psychological phenomena regarding sensing, thinking, feeling, and behaving, using a coherent methodology and concept? The scope of these questions is relatively new, as psychology with all its subdisciplines faces new challenges due to globalization and the increase in worldwide migration. From a practical perspective, it relates to the psychological health of migrants and refugees. The "Western," or "Global North" individual can no longer remain the archetypal individual to be investigated. Psychological research and application has lost its naïvety in describing assumptive human universalities and has even developed self-doubt about whether such a thing as "psychological universality" in the areas of cognition, emotion, motivation, and interpersonal or social regulation really exists. Cultural psychology - which in recent times has gained increased attention - opposes this simplified view of "universalist" statements. Rather, it suggests considering the current state of conventional psychological subdisciplines as limited, as they do not systematically incorporate cultural dimensions to capture the vast wealth of differences.
Historically, the term "cultural psychology" was developed and consolidated in the middle of the 20th century. Several cultural psychologists laid the groundwork avant la lettre: Wilhelm Wundt in his book series about cultural psychology, then called Völkerpsychologie (folk psychology) (Wundt, 1900-1920); Lev Vygotsky in the explication of cultural processes or dimensions in the developmental process (e.g., Vygotsky, 1929); and Carl G. Jung in his accounts of his worldwide journeys, as well as his texts on the archetype or the collective unknown (e.g., Jung, 1934-1954). Subsequent cultural psychology authors and schools of thought have had many other influences, particularly from Anglo-American cultural anthropology (including Boas, Mead, Benedict, and others), which played an important role following the end of colonization, subsequent to the end of World War II. Mainstream modern psychology has had its difficulties with systematically including these theories and concepts into its disciplinary research. For epistemological reasons, cultural psychology often rejects quantitative research methods in favor of argumentative conclusions. In using this methodology, it has gained important insights into indigenous psychologies, the self as emergent phenomena, and more unusual states of consciousness, such as trance and possession. However, cultural psychology's close relative cross-cultural psychology has received more acceptance and reception in mainstream psychology due to its application of quantitative methodology. Cross-cultural psychology is marked by a pragmatic point of departure. Research data from particular samples (e.g., Europeans, European Americans) are assessed for differences from samples from other ethnic origins (e