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How do psychiatrists in India construct their professional identity? A critical literature review

Bayetti, C; Jadhav, SS; Deshpande, SN; (2017) How do psychiatrists in India construct their professional identity? A critical literature review. Indian Journal of Psychiatry , 59 (1) pp. 26-37. 10.4103/psychiatry.IndianJPsychiatry_16_17. Green open access

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Abstract

Psychiatric practice in India is marked by an increasing gulf between largely urban-based mental health professionals and a majority rural population. Based on the premise that any engagement is a mutually constructed humane process, an understanding of the culture of psychiatry including social process of local knowledge acquisition by trainee psychiatrists is critical. This paper reviews existing literature on training of psychiatrists in India, the cultural construction of their professional identities and autobiographical refections. The results reveal a scarcity of research on how identities, knowledge, and values are constructed, contested, resisted, sustained, and operationalized through practice. This paper hypothesizes that psychiatric training and practice in India continues to operate chiefy in an instrumental fashion and bears a circular relationship between cultural, hierarchical training structures and patient–carer concerns. The absence of interpretative social science training generates a professional identity that predominantly focuses on the patient and his/her social world as the site of pathology. Infrequent and often superfuous critical cultural refexivity gained through routine clinical practice further alienates professionals from patients, caregivers, and their own social landscapes. This results in a peculiar brand of theory and practice that is skewed toward a narrow understanding of what constitutes suffering. The authors argue that such omissions could be addressed through nuanced ethnographies on the professional development of psychiatrists during postgraduate training, including the political economies of their social institutions and local cultural landscapes. Further research will also help enhance culturally sensitive epistemology and shape locally responsive mental health training programs. This is critical for majority rural Indians who place their trust in State biomedical care.

Type: Article
Title: How do psychiatrists in India construct their professional identity? A critical literature review
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.4103/psychiatry.IndianJPsychiatry_16_17
Publisher version: http://doi.org/10.4103/psychiatry.IndianJPsychiatr...
Language: English
Additional information: © 2017 Indian Journal of Psychiatry | Published by Wolters Kluwer - Medknow. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 License, which allows others to remix, tweak, and build upon the work non-commercially, as long as the author is credited and the new creations are licensed under the identical terms
Keywords: Clinical ethnography, cultural identity, global mental health, India, local mental health, professional identity, psychiatric training
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Division of Psychiatry
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1551626
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