Transcultural Psychiatry: For an Ethics of All Worlds

  • Audrey Mc Mahon Centre hospitalier pour enfants de l’est de l’Ontario (CHEO), Université d’Ottawa, Ottawa, Canada
  • Rahmeth Radjack Maison de Solenn, Hôpital Cochin, Paris, France
  • Marie Rose Moro Maison de Solenn, Hôpital Cochin; Faculté de médecine, Université Paris Descartes Sorbonne, Paris, France
Keywords: transcultural, otherness, complementarity, psychiatry, radicalization
Language(s): French


Transcultural psychiatry is at the confluence of culture, mental health and illness. It places the patient at the centre of the relationship while respecting his or her individual and collective way of thinking and doing. Culture defines ontological representations, explanatory models and therapeutic practices which influence expressions of suffering and specific modes of coping and healing, as diverse as the cultures from which they arise. Yet, Western psychiatry is just as indivisible from the culture from which it emerged, which brings up the question of mental suffering and care in transcultural situations. Transcultural psychiatry brings the clinician to question and widen his or her clinical practice with regards to social, geopolitical and historical issues which colour the bonds in the social fabric, in power imbalances and in access to health care for individuals of cultural minorities. How can we make our consultations with patients from different parts of the world and who speak different languages ethical? How should one care for patients when faced with cultural otherness? And what are the effects on the mental health of today’s youth, who are raised in global societies which generate complex identity challenges that can lead to radicalization? This article offers some answers to these clinical and ethical questions through the hybridization of representations, in order to ensure a harmonious coexistence and a renewed creativity, for an “ethos of solidarity” in mental health care.

How to Cite
Mc Mahon A, Radjack R, Moro MR. Transcultural Psychiatry: For an Ethics of All Worlds. Can. J. Bioeth. 2020;3:54-62.