Culture / Psychiatry


Drexel University College of Medicine

2900 Queen Lane

in the East Falls neighborhood of Philadelphia

Date & Time

Nov. 8, 2014

Free Event

Event Description

Many researchers presently hope to find the cause of mental illness in the biology of the brain. Yet a vocal contingent is discontented with what they see as an overly narrow view: they eschew models that privilege neuroscience, and argue for models that recognize the profound role society and culture have on shaping the development of minds and personalities. Clinicians of course, acknowledge the psychosocial dimension already in the so-called culture-bound syndromes (e.g. koro, and ataque de nervios). And new research in medical anthropology has begun to demonstrate that even the florid symptoms of psychosis, such as the content of delusions or hallucinations, appear to express the wider culture.

Can psychiatry explain—much less treat—the ‘biopsychosocial’ illnesses by reducing them to underlying diseases of the brain? Or must psychiatry make room for perspectives in psychology, sociology, and anthropology, and progress as a humanist branch of medicine?


  • Psychiatry Interest Group Network
  • Society for Psychoanalytic Inquiry
  • Drexel Medicine Department of Psychiatry
  • Temple Medicine Department of Psychiatry


10:00 a.m.

  • Coffee & Welcome

10:30 a.m.

Critique of Biological Psychiatry and Alternative Directions

  • Stacy Gallin, “The Evolution of Psychiatry: Morals, Mind, and Medicine”
  • Andres J. Pumariega
  • William Schultz, “The Chemical Imbalance Hypothesis of Depression: An Evaluation of the Evidence”
  • Timur Suhail-Sindhu, moderator

12:00 p.m.

  • Dennis Debiak, On Psychoanalytic Education / Lunch

1:30 p.m.

Socio-Cultural Determinants of Mental Illness

  • Akriti Bhatia, “Society, Deviance, and Mental Health”
  • Patricia Gherovici, “The Puerto Rican Syndrome: When Otherness Attacks”
  • Amir Hampel, “The Social Anxieties of Capitalist Individuals: An Analysis of Ideal Personality Types in Beijing”
  • Greg Gabrellas, moderator

3:00 p.m.

  • Coffee break

3:15 p.m.

Clinical Applications of Culture/Psychiatry

  • Lily Chan, “Clinical Benefit of Culture-focused Therapeutic Activities in Child Adolescent Psychiatric Practices”
  • Phoebe Friesen, “Let A Thousand Ontologies Bloom”
  • Puneet Chawla Sahota, “Anthropology Tools for Healing Trauma”
  • Ashley Sterchele, moderator

4:45 p.m.

  • Coffee break

5:00 p.m.

  • Psychiatry Residents Panel

2014 PsychSIGN Mid-Atlantic Regional Conference

  • Panels with clinicians, scholars, and graduate students
  • Presentations on the path to becoming a psychiatrist or psychoanalyst
  • Breakfast and lunch provided