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October 2021

Am J Psychiatry. 1980 Nov; 137(11): 1429-32.

An Indochinese refugee psychiatric clinic: culturally accepted treatment approaches.

Kinzie JD, Tran KA, Breckenridge A, Bloom JD.

In 1978 the authors established a weekly psychiatric clinic for Indochinese refugees. During the first 20 months, 50 patients were evaluated and treated at the clinic; a Vietnamese psychiatric resident and several native Indochinese mental health counselors bridged the language and cultural barriers between patients and clinic personnel. Most of the patients seen at the beginning of the program were psychotic and severely impaired. However, patients seen later suffered from a wider variety of problems. A flexible approach to treatment was adopted that would be compatible with the cultural expectations of the refugees. This resulted in the use of different forms of therapy and special emphasis on the medical approach of the physician, a role familiar to Indochinese patients. Gradually the clinic gained acceptance by members of the local refugee community.

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