Issues when Assessing Children from other Backgrounds

Issues when Assessing Children from other Backgrounds

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    Savi Mckenzie-Smith

    It would be unreasonable to expect Child Psychotherapists to be acquainted with and knowledgeable about the various cultural orientations and ethnic groupings we meet in our daily professional life. Misunderstandings can arise as a result of very different cultural expectations or partly from ignorance. It is important that careful consideration should be given before a final assessment is established. In some non-Western societies, there still exist ancient and traditional customs. What might be practised and accepted as everyday events, such as religious and ceremonial sacrifices of animals, sexual perversion, smacking of children who do not conform, to name a few, would be unacceptable to us and addressed as deviation and pathology. I am by no means condoning some of the behaviour but trying to convey that the approach to the problems should be thought about accordingly, especially when the child is caught up in cross-cultural dilemmas.

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