Mental afflictions challenge people everywhere in the world and every tradition has methods for alleviating mental suffering. Cultural psychiatry explores the impact of diverse social histories, cultures, and contexts on mental health and illness. A growing literature demonstrates the role of culture in shaping illness onset, experience, coping, healing, and recovery. Recent work in cognitive science on embodiment and enactment provides a framework for thinking about the importance of culture and context in mental health. This leads to an ecosocial view of mind that integrates culture and biology in a cultural neurophenomenology of experience informed by both neuroscience and ethnography. In this view, mental phenomena are produced by looping effects within and between body/brain/person and the social world. These loops are mediated by psychophysiological and discursive processes involving metaphoric, narrative, and rhetorical practices. The social world provides forms of life, with specific niches or positions and corresponding modes of selfunderstanding or construal, as well as opportunities for and constraints on action. Attention to
culture and context can inform the design and delivery of mental health promotion and treatment interventions in diverse global contexts by building on local knowledge and practices. This presentation will consider some implications of this work for contemplative science.

Laurence J. Kirmayer, MD, FRCPC, FCAHS, FRSC

McGill University

Laurence J. Kirmayer, MD, FRCPC, FCAHS, FRSC 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, … MORE

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