Policy Program Section Transcultural Psychiatry

Mission Statement

Promoting interculturalisation of psychiatry.

Elaborating of Terms

Interculturalisation is a process that is meant to reshape psychiatry and in broader sense mental health care so that there are large and adequate resources of treatment which are suitable for all patients in a multicultural society.


Because of migration there is a growing cultural diversity of patients, also in the Netherlands. Psychiatry has to take this into account. Psychiatry tends to avoid the confrontation with cultural aspects and tends to focus on biological and physiological determinants of mental disorders. Transcultural psychiatry places the human being in its biological, psychological, social and cultural diversity. Interculturalisation of psychiatry is placed on the edge of psychiatry and its surroundings: science, mental health care, health care, patients and society. In earlier days psychiatry was mostly monocultural, grounded in Western norms and values and based upon the clinical practice and research with populations from North America and Europe. In everyday practice psychiatry tended out to be insufficiently admittable for many patients from minority groups. Promoting interculturalisation means working towards a psychiatry which takes into account the influence of culture. Starting points in this are findings from transcultural psychiatry, medical anthropology, transcultural psychology, intercultural management and ethnopharmacology. This is regarding all ages: children, adolescents, adults, elderly people: and people born in this country or from abroad. Interculturalisation means also bringing back psychiatry to the society, and emancipation of psychiatric patients in mental health care and the society, predominantly patients from minority groups. It means also promoting cultural diversity and fighting tendencies of ethnocentrism and racism in mental health care in general and the Netherlands Psychiatric Association in particular. Psychiatrists can hereby influence other health care workers who function in the field of transcultural psychiatry ( psychotherapists, psychologists, general practitioners, other specialists)

Board Tasks

Writing a mission statement, a policy program for several years and year plans, which have the approval of the members of the section. The calling together and organisation of scientific meetings, regular member meetings and board meetings. Searching advisors on education, policy and research: for instance Mikado, knowledge centre for intercultural psychiatry (Rotterdam), Dutch Centre for Foreigners, SIGGZ, Transcultural Psychiatric Organisation (Amsterdam), Trimbos Institute, the section Culture and Health of ZON-MW Health Research, patients and relatives societies. Designing and maintaining a website with relevant information about the section, with a closed section for the members, and links to other relevant sites. This in cooperation with the Netherlands Psychiatric Association. Forming and maintaining the section board, making a division of tasks in the board, and planning the succession of board members.

Activities in the Coming Years

  • Promoting interculturalisation of psychiatry and psychotherapy in health institutions.
  • Distribution of knowledge by stimulation issues from transcultural psychiatry on congresses, organisation of study meetings and symposiums.
  • Promoting the issue of interculturalisation in the training of new psychiatrists.
  • Promoting scientific research, taking initiatives on this field and supporting and facilitating existing initiatives.
  • Facilitation of admission of medical doctors from minority groups, from medical schools in the Netherlands or abroad, in the training programs to become psychiatrist.
  • Promoting collaboration with foreigner and patient organisations.
  • Collaboration with other sections of the Netherlands Psychiatric Association, like the sections on management psychiatry and social psychiatry.
  • Maintaining and promoting international contacts among which the Transcultural Section of the World Psychiatric Association, in order to support the development of cultural sensitive mental health care worldwide. Making contacts with psychiatrists from countries of origin of patients in the Netherlands and organising activities focussed on exchange of knowledge and building up international experience.
  • Promoting mental health in development countries.

2002, 22th of april, the Board.