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Letter to the Editor
Small World After All
Psychiatric News
Volume 38 Number 8 page 69-69

Dr. Paul Appelbaum’s wonderful experience in India, which he wrote about in his president’s column in the February 21 issue, proves the adage that a good man will find goodness everywhere. Hearing all the kind things Dr. Appelbaum had to say about India, I felt proud of my country of origin.

His observation that mental health issues facing the people in Hyderabad are exactly the same as those that occur in Baltimore or Seattle hits the nail on the head about cross-cultural psychiatry. While on the surface differences between people from different cultures appear to be baffling, on closer examination, when one digs deeper into the limited number of intrapsychic conflicts around which human beings build their culture and fall mentally ill, they prove to be meaningless. Patients with mental illness across the world show remarkable similarity in how they construct their obsessions, delusions, hallucinations, and hysterical defenses.

I raise these points because sometimes people of a dominant culture may not just start thinking that they are culturally superior to others, but also may start acting on the belief that they are inherently different. Fortunately, patients with mental illness and psychiatrists like Dr. Appelbaum bridge our differences.

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