'Don't show weakness:' Black Americans still shy away from psychotherapy

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Author: John Leland
Date: July 14, 1997
From: Newsweek(Vol. 130, Issue 2)
Publisher: Newsweek LLC
Document Type: Article
Length: 559 words

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DR. ALVIN POUSSAINT remembers clearly a visit to the housing project s of Boston in the late 1960s. A public-health nurse had directed him to a woman in need of help. When he identified himself as a psychiatrist, says Poussaint, who is black, the woman refused to open her door. "She told me there were two individuals who could have her locked up. One was the police. And one was the psychiatrist." The experience taught him a lesson about the power relationship between his profession and the black community. "I realized that in poor black communities, the psychiatrist was seen as someone who had the power to say you were crazy, to have you committed"--or to take your children away.

When Mike Tyson announced last week that he planned to seek psychiatric treatment, it was something of a watershed....

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A19573641