What Are Cultures and a Cultural Frame of Mind in Clinical Interventions

  • J. Martin Maldonado-DuranEmail author
  • Clara Aisenstein


This chapter addresses the question of “what is culture” and what is cultural about what people do, focusing in the perinatal period and early childhood. It describes the fact that animals have cultural practices learned within the social group. Similarly, humans have “innate parenting behaviors” and behaviors that are strongly shaped by culture. There is a universal tendency of promoting what is “best” for children within each culture or ethnic group. The chapter describes practices that could be considered cruel or unusual but which are understandable within a specific belief system. The separation between this world and the underworld, or the world of ancestors or spirits, is not held in many social groups. What we consider “ideal” may be abhorrent in other cultures. The chapter illustrates the notion of blindness to one’s culture and the tendency to hold certain practices as better than all others, “natural,” and more civilized. Finally, there are many differences but also strong commonalities in world views and desires and wishes for the pregnancy and the baby to helps us relate to any couple or family with young children and their wish for optimal outcomes.


Caste system Cultural ideal Devaluation of cultures Savages Child-rearing practices Cultural blindness Cultural idealization Parenting beliefs Intuitive parenting Filial piety Indianness Gay parents Human ethology 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Menninger Department of PsychiatryBaylor College of MedicineHoustonUSA
  2. 2.Consultant Psychiatrist, Indian Health ServiceSan DiegoUSA

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