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PSYCHIATRIC INTERVIEW EXPERIENCES WITH NEGROES
HARVEY R. ST. CLAIR
Am J Psychiatry 1951;108:113-119.
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Abstract

Some observations upon Negro psychiatric patients have been recorded. These observations were made clinically during personal interviews for psychotherapeutic purposes, and were done in the setting of the military service, a VA hospital, and a children's psychiatric service over a 3-year period. Most of the observations were with adult males, the majority of whom were from lower socioeconomic levels.It would seem that psychotherapy is not different with Negro patients than with white in respect to general principles and techniques, that the establishment of rapport, the use of the patient's agreeableness, the importance of dealing with hostility, and the use of promoting self-esteem are of special significance. Some features which have been recorded as clinical impressions are the frequency of functional illnesses, attitudes of suspiciousness and submissiveness, a constancy of race-consciousness, a difficulty in achieving expression of hostility toward the therapist, an agreeableness, an emphasis upon prestige for its security value, a tendency to "act out," a special emphasis upon hostility in individual psychodynamics, no racial differences in sexuality, an emphasis upon somatic complaints, and the importance of the therapist's recognizing socio-economic and cultural levels in individual patients. Some of the therapeutic implications of these features have been discussed. In general the impression has been gained that the various sociological and psychological factors of a minority group and a group whose socioeconomic level is lower must be given more consideration in the understanding of the Negro's symptomatology and therefore in treatment.

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