Lewis answers: You can’t really understand a creative visionary unless you are a non-judgemental person, highly intuitive, or have an academic understanding of the social-psychological variables that cause individuals to behave one way instead of another.
Unfortunately most mental health professionals especially Freudians lack all three of these skill sets. Current diagnostic standards rely on an exaggerated interpretation of neurophysiological findings that understate the scientific importance of social-psychological variables especially cultural idiosyncracies. In the end mental health experts take extraordinary thinkers and visionary and simply call them “crazy”.
It is likely that the majority of mental health cultural professionals never mind the general population has little understanding of ethnic diversity of individuals. For those professional who do the importance of this is often discounted by researchers and service providers.
The fact is that the DSM and other diagnostic guidelines have have a fundamentally Euro-American outlook. In those rare cases where guidelines recognize culture the diagnostic criteria set does not necessarily indicate that the underlying constructs have any validity within those cultures. At best the fact that a cultural pattern exists does not demonstrate that it is a humanistic or healthy pattern. At best the only thing that can be demonstrated is consistency, not legitimacy.
One need only review the introduction of cultural factors to the DSM-IV. Here disorders or concepts from non-Western or non-mainstream cultures are described as “culture-bound”. Why is it that standard psychiatric diagnoses or Western ways of thinking are given no cultural definition at all.
Lewis Harrison is the author of the book “Spiritual, Not Religious”
Lewis Harrison – Spiritual Seeker,