Working with Older People
By advocating the practice of recognising the individuality of each service user, this book provides practitioners with the tools and information they need to work fairly and effectively.
This book is full of practical guidance, aiming to improve the quality of work and relationships of mental health practitioners with black and minority ethnic (BME) service users. This is an accessibly written manual, whose clear structure and subject index make it easy to negotiate... Sewell artfully articulates the complexities of issues about race, culture and ethnicity within Mental Health, in accessible language. He uses the prevailing evidence and literature to argue that certain BME groups are overrepresented in the Mental Health services and that it is essential to take action to address inequality: 'If no specific steps are taken to prevent negative patterns the default position is likely to be continued inequality.' (p.39) He gives a brilliantly clear explanation of institutional racism in which he attacks the unhelpful, perhaps 'politically correct', absolutist language of the seventies which polarised debate, leading individuals to feel stifled and unable to even discuss these important issues for fear of censure or causing offence... He openly and succinctly explores why it is so difficult for society and organisations to talk about race and culture, gives clear examples and exercises in how to overcome personal fears, including the kind of language that may be helpful rather than 'correct'... He aims and succeeds in supporting practitioners and users in finding useful ways of voicing these challenging issues. He directly addresses key questions such as 'When is it safe for workers to talk about things that are stereotypes and taboos?' (p.62) His practical and thoughtful exercises could be effectively used by supervisors, training organisations or in the workplace... His guidelines for using language which helps practitioners and users to collaborate in finding ways forward are very helpful... This manual deserves to become a key text in addressing intercultural issues. It is a timely text, relevant not only for mental health settings, within clinical supervision and therapeutic training institutions, but also in educational and other contexts. Whilst the exercises and activities are cognitive and verbal in orientation, they could easily be adapted by dramatherapy supervisors and training institutions to a more action based approach. This text offers pragmatic ways to uncover the assumptions which can cloud professional judgement and impede the ability to relate to people as individuals. 'By advocating the practice of recognising the individuality of each service user, this book provides practitioners with the tools they need to work fairly and effectively.' (Fernando, p.11) It is truly 'a very practical book informed by common sense, a wealth of knowledge and clear thinking.' (Fernando, p.12)
The service to our client group would improve beyond recognition if every mental health professional read this book. Sewell shows how to integrate best practice into any modern mental health service. A few hours with this book will provide more insight into the subject of race than many of the study days arranged by so-called experts.
Every practitioner working in multicultural mental health services in the UK should find this book indispensable as it uncovers the importance of preconceived biases when working with service users from black and minority ethnic groups... The main strenght of this read is that it is reflective of the current British patient cohort and as a result provides up-to-date practical knowledge to delivering and achieving to race equality.