A Culture-Sensitive and Person-Centred Approach: Understanding and Evaluating Cultural Factors, Social Background and History When Working with Refugees

  • Hanna KienzlerEmail author
  • Cameron Spence
  • Thomas Wenzel


In recent years, research methods and data from cultural anthropology and transcultural psychiatry have highlighted the importance of paying attention to the ways in which culture shapes expressions of distress and help- and health-seeking. This chapter builds on these insights and offers an overview of selected major aspects of the role culture plays in refugee mental healthcare. It will also summarise concrete tools that can be used to explore the needs, expressions of distress and help-seeking behaviours among the diverse ethnic and religious groups. We suggest that these tools can be used to guide interventions and treatment models in practical but culture-sensitive ways.


Transcultural medicine Transcultural psychiatry Qualitative research Idioms of distress Health belief models 


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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Global Health and Social MedicineKing’s College LondonLondonUK
  2. 2.World Psychiatric Association Scientific SectionPsychological Aspects of Persecution and TortureGenevaSwitzerland

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