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Kim, H.A. (1976). Transplantation of Psychiatrists from Foreign Cultures. J. Amer. Acad. Psychoanal., 4(1):105-112.

(1976). Journal of American Academy of Psychoanalysis, 4(1):105-112

Transplantation of Psychiatrists from Foreign Cultures

Hae Ahm Kim

Acculturation Process

Trainees from diverse cultures are not only confronted with cultural and language handicaps, but they are also inevitably faced by high social expectations to conform to the “norm” of the new culture. A frequent reaction to this is incessant self-examination. It is like traveling along an unfamiliar waterway with an unclear chart. Self-effacement, self-deprecation, and even self-aggrandizement are often observed as defensive maneuvers. They are the result of an attempt to ward off the seemingly never-ending inner and outer pressure arising from the acculturation process.

Although the early pioneers in psychiatry and mental health from abroad have contributed a major role in establishing the very foundation of social and human sciences, they have made very little effort to share their own assimilation and acculturation process. Scarcity of literature in this area proves how little effort has been given to the investigation of adaptive processes, which are greatly dependent on the learning patterns and maturation level of the individual.

The history of immigration to this country is often compared to a fine fruit tree grafted onto a hardy native trunk which then bears exotic fruit. An acculturation study within our society, which is both multinational in origin and structurally complex, is increasingly important for understanding adaptational psychodynamics.

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