Cultural insights
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Psychology not only defines mental health and dysfunction but makes implicit assumptions about the human condition occupying a position of great power (Beinfield & Korngold, 1991). Using the language and concepts of one tradition to discuss the vocabulary and theory of another (Davis, 1992) must therefore be done cautiously. Carl Jung cautioned against western philosophical excursion into oriental systems of thought, purporting that it would be difficult for those born into an occidental paradigm to grasp the concepts fundamental to understanding the eastern perspective (Ross, 1993). For millennia societies have attempted to understand the psyche and its pathologies through their own constructs and symbols, so that psychology as a construct is nothing new. Modern medicine's evolution in the West does not restrict its scope (Xu, 1997) to other cultures. Similarly the recent western interest in traditional systems of medicine has seen the ideas of various cultures transplanted into the western model. In this climate of cultural curiosity, psychopathology has become a mirror through which viewers may glimpse other cultural realities (Draguns, 1973).

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Copyright 1998 Ilanit Tof, All Rights Reserved.