2012–2013 Seminars

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

“A Disability of the Soul: Community-Based Psychiatric Recovery at an Intentional Community in Japan”

Karen Nakamura, PhD, Associate Professor of Anthropology & East Asian Studies, Yale University
Ackerman Union / Viewpoint Conference Room
12 – 2:00 pm

KarenCoverAbstract: Founded in 1984, Bethel House is a small intentional community for people with schizophrenia and other psychiatric disorders in a remote area of northern Japan. Using a unique, community-based  approach to psychosocial recovery, Bethel House focuses as much on social integration as on therapeutic work. Cultural and visual anthropologist Karen Nakamura has been conducting research at Bethel for the past five years and has recently finished an ethnography of the community titled: _A Disability of the Soul: An Ethnography of Schizophrenia and Mental Illness in Northern Japan_. The title draws upon both the Japanese government’s perception of severe mental illness as a form of disability as well as the community’s focus on social recovery, a philosophy that draws heavily from its Christian roots.

shapeimage_4Karen Nakamura is  a cultural and visual anthropologist whose research focuses on disability and minority social movements in contemporary Japan. Her ethnography about sign language, identity, and deaf social movements was published by Cornell University Press in 2006. More recently, she has been engaged in a new project on the comparative politics of severe physical and psychiatric disabilities in the United States and Japan. While her main focus is disabilities and minorities, she also work on issues surrounding gender and sexuality (link to website).

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

“Preliminary report on the CBDMH India field project, ‘Research on families and children with autism in India”

Haines Hall Reading Room 352
12 – 2:00 pm

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

“Psychiatry and Culture: The Case of Delusion”

Ian Gold, PhD, Canada Research Chair in Philosophy & Psychiatry, McGill University; co-PI, FPR-UCLA-McGill Program in Cultural Psychiatry
Haines Hall Reading Room 352
12 – 2:00 pm

Abstract: Delusions, as Jaspers remarked, have always been the archetypal symptom of madness. It is surprising, therefore, that contemporary psychiatry has rather little to say about delusions or about the ways in which delusions change with time and culture. In this talk, I make some suggestions about why this is the case. Further, I discuss the changes to psychiatric thinking that are required to better understand delusions and, thereby, psychosis.

i.goldIan Gold is Canada Research Chair in Philosophy & Psychiatry at McGill University in Montreal. He completed a PhD in Philosophy at Princeton University and did postdoctoral training at the Australian National University in Canberra. From 2000 to 2006 he was on the faculty of the School of Philosophy & Bioethics at Monash University in Melbourne and returned to McGill in 2006. His research focuses on the theory of delusion in psychiatric and neurological illness and on reductionism in psychiatry and neuroscience. He is the author of research articles in such journals as Behavioral and Brain Sciences, Mind and Language, Consciousness and Cognition, Canadian Journal of Psychiatry & Psychology, and Cognitive Neuropsychiatry. No Mind is an Island is a book co-written with Joel Gold, is due to appear in 2012.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

“Bypassing evolution: How to redesign a brain”

Eran Zaidel, PhD, Department of Psychology, UCLA; co-PI, FPR-UCLA-McGill Program in Cultural Psychiatry
Haines Hall Reading Room 352
12 – 2:00 pm

Abstract: Many higher cognitive functions of the mind appear to be controlled by separate modules in each of the two cerebral hemispheres of the brain. These modules take long to evolve and are difficult to modify. However It is possible to modulate the effects of these modules by modulating the attention systems that orchestrate their operations within and between the hemispheres. In this way, information processing can be optimized by sharing resources between the hemispheres, by adapting the task to the individual’s brain, as well as by changing the individuals’ brain states to fit the task demands. In this talk, I will describe a simple lateralized test for assessing the networks of selective attention (Conflict Resolution, Spatial Orienting,  Alerting) in each cerebral hemisphere and I will illustrate how this test can be used to uncover and modulate social relations between individuals and across socio-cultural groups.

Zaidel_view.phpEran Zaidel, PhD, is a Professor of Behavioral Neuroscience in the Department of Psychology at UCLA and Director of the Zaidel Lab, which focuses on on hemispheric specialization and interhemispheric interaction in the mind/brain. The lab works with normal participants and participants with acquired (hemispheric lesions, split-brain, etc.) and developmental (ADHD, dyslexia, and schizophrenia) deficits using a variety of techniques, ranging from behavior to neurophysiology to neuroanatomy. They also study hemispheric relations in a variety of domains, including attention, perception, problem solving, error-monitoring, emotions and social cognition. Recent projects include hemispheric relations in attention and emotions (impulsivity, depression, and anxiety) and modulation of brain activity using EEG-Biofeedback.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

“Taoism and dissociation: Exploring the practice of dang-ki healing in Singapore”

Laurence J. Kirmayer, MD, FRCPC, McGill University
Haines Hall Reading Room 352
12 – 2:00 pm

Kirmayer photoLaurence J. Kirmayer, MD, FRCPC, is James McGill Professor and Director, Division of Social and Transcultural Psychiatry, Department of Psychiatry, McGill University. He is Editor-in-Chief of Transcultural Psychiatry, the journal of the Section on Transcultural Psychiatry of the World Psychiatric Association, and directs the Culture and Mental Health Research Unit at the Department of Psychiatry, Jewish General Hospital in Montreal. He founded and directs the annual Summer Program and Advanced Study Institute in Cultural Psychiatry at McGill. He also founded and co-directs the CIHR-IAPH Network for Aboriginal Mental Health Research. His past research includes studies on cultural consultation, pathways and barriers to mental health care for immigrants and refugees, somatization in primary care, cultural concepts of mental health and illness in Inuit communities, risk and protective factors for suicide among Inuit youth, and resilience among Indigenous peoples. His current projects include a multi-site study of culturally-based, family-centered mental health promotion for Aboriginal youth; development of a web-based multicultural mental health resource centre; and the use of the cultural formulation in cultural consultation.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

“Unpacking Culture Through the Lens of Bilingualism in Psychosis”

Xavier Cagigas, PhD, Director, Cultural Neuropsychology Initiative; Assistant Clinical Professor, Department of Psychiatry & Biobehavioral Sciences,  UCLA; Co-PI, Schizophrenia & Bipolar Disorder Pilot Project Faculty, CBDMH

Papers to be discussed:

Bialystok, E., Craik, F. I. M., & Luk, G. (2012). Bilingualism: Consequences for mind and brain. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 16(4), 240–250 (read now).

Paradis, M. (2007). Bilingualism and neuropsychiatric disorders. Journal of Neurolinguistics, 21, 199–230 (read now)

Xavier Cagigas, PhD, is Director of the Cultural Neuropsychology Initiative (CNI) and Health Sciences Assistant Clinical Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, at UCLA. The CNI consists of three components:  the Culture and Neurocognition Assessment Service, providing bilingual and bicultural neuropsychological and psychodiagnostic assessments for a variety of neurological and psychiatric patients within the Los Angeles Community; a training program designed to produce the next generation of culturally and linguistically competent clinical and research neuropsychologists; and an emerging research program seeking to study historically underrepresented populations within a culturally inclusive neurocognitive research model.  Dr. Cagigas initially trained as a clinical neuropsychologist at the University of California, San Diego, before coming to UCLA where he completed his clinical internship in Neuropsychology and Exceptional Abilities, postdoctoral research fellowship in Neurobehavioral Genetics, and eventually received a faculty appointment in the Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences within the David Geffen School of Medicine.  He is also an active investigator within the Consortium for Neuropsychiatric Phenomics (CNP), a transdisciplinary research team charged with addressing major unsolved challenges in research on neuropsychiatric disorders through the systematic study of phenotypes on a genome-wide scale by integrating basic, clinical, and information sciences.  Dr. Cagigas has previously received funding from NINDS, NIMH, and most recently from FPR.  His current research interests examine the neurocognitive correlates of bilingualism and other cultural variables within psychosis, healthy community members, and neurosurgical populations.