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Families in Crisis Seminar

Practitioner Views about Parenting & Mental Illness (51KB) [download]

Briefly describe the activity and its purpose.

In this seminar, trainees explore how families of different cultures and ethnicities deal with crisis and the challenges faced with childbirth; parenting; parenting a child who has autism or other disability or mental illness; attitudes about parenting; the family burden of love (stigma and blame; isolation; guilt; culture); stress over the family life cycle. Cultural narratives of suffering are also explored.

What are the expected learning outcomes for trainees?

Trainees and faculty journal their responses to the following Reflection Questions, then the questions are discussed by larger group:

  • Where do professionals fail the most in helping parents, and particularly parents from culturally diverse backgrounds? Why?
  • What aspect of service delivery is the biggest failure in helping parents? Why
Trainees and faculty complete and discuss the 14 question survey: "Practitioner Views about Parenting and Mental Illness" (Rubin et al., 1998).

Excerpts from the book by Judith Rich Harris, "The Nurture Assumption: Why Children Turn out the Way They Do" are presented and discussed. According to Harris, the "nurture assumption," or the belief that what makes children turn out the way they do, aside from their genes, is the way their parents bring them up, is nothing more than a cultural myth. This book shatters some of our society's unquestioned beliefs about children and parents and gives a radically new view of childhood. The Nurture Assumption brings together insights from psychology, sociology, anthropology, primatology, and evolutionary biology to offer a startling new view of who we are and how we got that way.


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