Language, bi/multiculturalism, and bi/multilingualism
What are the processes through which language constructs identity? What are the connections between languages and narratives? How does fluency in more than one language contribute to hybrid identities and how these identities are performed, challenged, and protected? In what ways does language serve to unite as well as divide social groups? What are the practical implications of language fluency in negotiating mental health care, including in conducting psychotherapy? To what extent is constructing healing narratives through language an essential aspect of culture-focused treatment?
Narrative, collective storytelling & mental health
No single narrative fully encompasses the life of a person, a community, or a culture. As we meet new patients, clients, or colleagues, how can we listen for alternative narratives that have been overshadowed by a dominant cultural narrative? How can we listen for unwitnessed narratives of resilience when hearing stories of trauma, loss, or dehumanization? How can we engage others in a manner that strengthens their empowerment to choose which narratives should stand as markers of their cultural identity? What is the role of collective storytelling in building community identity and how do these narratives shape the mental health of its members? How does collective storytelling impact how people respond to life changes that incur loss, grief, anger, love, joy and/or create community?
Identity and intersectionality
How do the various intersectional aspects of a person’s or group’s identity create harmonies and conflicts? What roles and significance do we assign to these aspects of identity in relation to mental health and wellbeing? How do we and our patients decide to prioritize some aspects over others?
Human beings are lived bodies in the world, and identity is not just constructed but embodied. How are intergenerational trauma and social inequities embodied and present in clinical context? What role does engaging emotions and the senses play in transformation within therapeutic encounters across cultures? What is the role of psychedelic and somatic psychotherapies in healing embodied social phenomena, for the individual and community?
Identity, inclusion, and advocacy
How can cultural psychiatry best combine attention to individual identities, meaning traditions, structural factors, and advocacy in a seamless healing practice that prioritizes social justice? How can we best partner with clients and colleagues as allies and advocates? How can we employ our knowledge and skills to help promote understanding and bridge divisiveness to work together towards a more equitable and inclusive society? How can we encourage such collaboration in health training settings?
Culture and meaning-making
How are health-related practices and interpretive traditions linked to cultural narratives? How do we account for differences in interpretation in cross cultural clinical and research settings? To what extent are these constructions incorporated into global mental health frameworks or excluded from them?
Identity across generations
How have our understandings of identity and the formative role of narrative shifted over time? How do various forms of narrative (oral, written texts, visual media) construct different types of identities across generations? How are identities both preserved and transformed over time?
Truth, disinformation, and polarization
How can we reconcile disparate notions of truth that exist both within a single culture and across multiple ones? How is truth constructed out of narrative? What is the role of power and social positionality in this process of construction and transmission? How can uniting truths and understandings be created in a world increasingly driven by polarization?
Culture/s of biomedicine and psychiatry
How can we best reveal the hidden assumptions, norms, and forms of exclusion that draw on language and identity in the cultures of biomedicine and psychiatry? How do these cultural practices reflect and reinforce power structures, and how can we change them to be more inclusive? Whether adapting to telehealth/digital health services, or exploring new labels such as “languishing,” how have the disciplinary practices of biomedicine and psychiatry evolved over time to reflect currencies in broader cultures?
Culture/s of virtual worlds
How has contact with virtual worlds led us to redefine many aspects of our lives: by revisiting our identities, the ways we connect with others, how we provide and receive care and services, what it means to be well, and/or how we interpret all these challenges and changes?
How are the ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic renegotiated through evolving narratives, changing identities, and new languages of experience?
Migration, acculturation, and identity
Among migrants, through which processes does acculturation influence diverse aspects of identity in distinct ways? How are these processes connected to mental and physical health? In what ways are they transmitted and challenged across generations?