Our purposes in this chapter are twofold: to contribute to the quality of mental health care delivered to bilingual patients and to add to our understanding of the psychopathology. Bilingual patients present a challenge to our mental health service delivery system because they far exceed the number of competent bilingual clinicians. Although it would be argued that communication between doctor and patient is crucial in any branch of medicine, in psychiatry it is the central issue, and there are no alternative laboratory procedures. By the same token, the bilingual patient presents a unique opportunity for study of questions concerning the role of cognition in psychopathology. Thus, two issues can be distinguished: one we have termed the language barrier, which inhibits communication in the language in which the patient is less proficient; the second, language independence, attempts to explore the implications of different language codes acquired in different pragmatic contexts.
KeywordsLanguage Barrier Dominant Language Semantic Congruency Thought Content Motor Tension
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