The Process of Cultural Consultation

  • Laurence J. KirmayerEmail author
  • G. Eric Jarvis
  • Jaswant Guzder
Part of the International and Cultural Psychology book series (ICUP)


In this chapter, we describe the process of cultural consultations in terms of the specific steps from intake and triage, through interviewing and clinical data collection, to case formulation, communication of recommendations, and follow-up. We provide sufficient detail about the actual process to guide others wishing to set up similar services. The CCS team works within the framework of the cultural formulation introduced with DSM-IV, to identify ways that cultural background and current contexts interact to shape the manifestations of illness, its course, and potential interventions. The aim is to complement standard psychiatric evaluation by focusing on social and cultural dimensions that may be less familiar and that tend to get less attention in routine care. The CCS consultants use models drawn from cultural psychiatry and psychology, cognitive behavioral therapy, family systems theory, and ecosocial systemic approaches that emphasize the social embedding of illness experience as well as gender, racialized identity, and ethnicity. Cases are formulated in terms of the interplay of personal and social meanings and dynamics that include interactions with families, communities, health care and systems. While the consultations use psychiatric diagnostic categories, they also explore the personal and social meanings of symptoms and include a broader problem list of social predicaments as well as sources of resilience and potential strategies for healing and recovery. The cultural formulation brings together psychiatric and cultural expertise in an integrated assessment and recommendations for more effective patient care.


Cultural Competence Racialized Identity Cultural Formulation Professional Interpreter Case Conference 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Laurence J. Kirmayer
    • 1
    Email author
  • G. Eric Jarvis
    • 1
  • Jaswant Guzder
    • 2
  1. 1.Culture and Mental Health Research UnitInstitute of Community and Family Psychiatry, Jewish General HospitalMontrealCanada
  2. 2.Center for Child Development and Mental HealthInstitute of Community and Family PsychiatryMontrealCanada

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