chapter  7
14 Pages

Group Work with Minority Mentally Ill Men: The Role of the Woman Worker

This chapter describes three weekly groups, each engaging about five men in verbal and visual-artistic activities, that were led by this writer (“the worker”) over a three-year period in a New York City medical center’s mental health clinic. These were a support group for men thirty to forty-five years of age with mixed diagnoses and two groups for younger men diagnosed with psychotic disorder. As the largest outpatient unit of the medical center’s psychiatry department, the clinic’s multidisciplinary staff provided psychotherapy, assessment, and medication services to about 850 locally residing people of all age groups other than infancy. Nearly the entire population served by the clinic was poor and nonwhite, and nearly half were male. The served population’s ethnic composition was roughly the same as that of the three weekly groups: about half African American, a quarter black Caribbean, and a quarter Latino. In contrast, nearly the entire professional staff at the clinic, including the worker, were white/non-Latino. The men in these groups had all been admitted to the clinic following a process of assessments, and nearly all were in medication (psychopharmacotherapy) programs while being seen by the worker for group therapy.