Interactions in psychiatric care consultation in Akan speaking communities
The present paper examines interactions in psychiatric care consultation in selected hospital settings in three Akan-speaking communities in Ghana, based on 45 audio-recorded doctor/nurse-patient interactions. Using a discourse pragmatics approach, we note how language is used in the management of communication in psychiatric consultations, and how the dominance of healthcare practitioners is enacted. Specifically, we focus on some of the strategies used by the participants to manage the multilingual communicative settings, such as code-mixing. Our findings also suggest that the use of proverbs as a diagnostic tool in psychiatric consultations in Ghana needs to be reviewed. We propose that in order for patients to experience consultation sessions that are more interactive, with possible therapeutic benefits, health practitioners need to make considerable efforts to involve the patients in decisions regarding their health.
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