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Luthra, V. (2001). Multicultural/Multiracial Psychology: Mestizo Perspectives in Personality and Mental Health. By Manuel Ramirez, III, Ph.D. Northvale, NJ: Jason Aronson, 1998, 280 pp., $55.00.. J. Appl. Psychoanal. Stud., 3(4):473-475.

(2001). Journal of Applied Psychoanalytic Studies, 3(4):473-475

Multicultural/Multiracial Psychology: Mestizo Perspectives in Personality and Mental Health. By Manuel Ramirez, III, Ph.D. Northvale, NJ: Jason Aronson, 1998, 280 pp., $55.00.

Review by:
Veena Luthra, M.D.

Dr. Ramirez, author of Psychology of the Americas: Mestizo Perspectives in Personality and Mental Health (1983) reintroduces and expands the concept of mestizo psychology based on both social change over the past 15 years and updated research, clinical and self-exploratory findings. Webster's dictionary defines mestizo as “a person of mixed blood.” The term is used more broadly in this book to refer to the synthesis of Native American and European people, cultures, lifestyles and environments. In fact, he generalizes that all Americans are mestizos irrespective of race or ethnic group because they have been socialized in a multicultural environment. Although this may seem far-fetched at first, it is evident that diversity is increasing in the United States and there are numerous culturally, linguistically and ethnically different groups. The book provides a model for culture-sensitive assessment and psychotherapy of people from different ethnic groups.

In the first introductory chapter the author emphasizes the inadequacy of the existing predominantly European psychological theories, research methodology and treatment approaches in understanding and helping people from diverse cultural groups. He explores the effect of colonization and other sociopolitical events in shaping both European and mestizo thinking. It also outlines the differences between European and mestizo theories, research methodology and treatment interventions. The main difference is the approach towards diversity with the European model predicting identity problems for the multicultural person in contrast to the mestizo perspective of flexibility and pluralistic identity development.

Chapter

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