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Blumenfield, M. (2021). Immigration, Cultural Identity, and Mental Health: Psycho-Social Implications of the Reshaping of America. By Eugenio M. Rothe and Andrés J. Pumariega. Oxford University Press, New York, NY, 2020, pp.. Psychodyn. Psych., 49(1):168-169.

(2021). Psychodynamic Psychiatry, 49(1):168-169

Immigration, Cultural Identity, and Mental Health: Psycho-Social Implications of the Reshaping of America. By Eugenio M. Rothe and Andrés J. Pumariega. Oxford University Press, New York, NY, 2020, pp.

Review by:
Michael Blumenfield, M.D.

As a therapist, I have always appreciated that a patient's background and culture have been extremely important in their identity. Erik Erikson conceptualized identity as resulting from the dynamic interplay between the individual and his or her group and cultural context. Therefore, I was drawn to this book because, knowing Dr. Rothe, I was sure that and he and his colleague would be able to give the reader a deep dive on this subject. I was not disappointed, as they dissected the fine points of this very complicated area.

The authors divided immigration into several different categories:

1.   Financial immigration—Those who arrived in the United States to improve their financial situation and provide for their families in a manner not available in the country of origin.

2.   Intellectual professionals or students—Immigrants who arrived in the United States in a quest for knowledge.

3.   Refugees—Those displaced by war, persecution, or natural disasters.

4.   Asylum Seekers—Those seeking sanctuary in a new country because of persecution.

5.   Sojourners—Those relocating on a time-limited basis.

6.   Exiles—Those who have been banished or expelled from their country of origin.

Each group of immigrants has various characteristics as well as their own psychodynamics, which of course depend on many factors.

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