Module 301-2

Assessment and Diagnosis


This module aims to provide an understanding of cross-cultural issues in clinical practice as well as strategies for engaging, screening, assessing and diagnosing when working with CALD clients in a psychiatric context.

It provides knowledge for recognising the differing expressions of distress and explanations of illness; strategies to engage with CALD clients and their families; considerations when using screening tools and conducting a Mental Status Examination; a cultural assessment tool and guidance on how to develop a cultural formulation.


Key topics covered in this module

The following key topics are covered:

  • Cultural variations
    • CALD engagement
    • Expression of distress
    • Explanatory models
  • Assessment
    • Screening
    • MSE
    • Suicide risk
  • Diagnostic issues
    • Risk of misdiagnosis
    • Personality disorders
    • Cultural formulation
    • CALD Assessment Tool
    • Developing a formulation

Learning outcomes for this module

At the end of the module, you should be able to:

  • engage in a culturally appropriate way with CALD clients and their families, and keep your CALD client engaged in the process
  • recognise differing expressions and explanations of illness
  • use screening tools appropriately with CALD clients (specific for psychologists)
  • conduct a culturally appropriate Mental Status Examination (MSE)
  • understand some of the risks of misdiagnosis
  • develop a cultural formulation.

About the other modules in this programme

This training programme includes 3 other modules

  • 301-1 Pre-requisites for CALD practice
    • Cultural competence in New Zealand
    • Cultural competence in mental health
    • Cultural awareness
      • Cultural constructs
      • Cultural dimensions
    • Cultural sensitivity
    • Cultural knowledge
      • Acculturation
      • Intergenerational issues
      • Sensitive issues
    • Skills development
      • Checklist for CALD engagement
      • Case vignette
  • 301-3 Treating cross-culturally
    • Modalities for intervention
    • Ethnopsychopharmacology
    • Ethnocultural transference
    • Collaboration in intervention
    • An integrative treatment plan
    • Seeking collegial input
  • 301-4 Working with interpreters in mental health
    • About interpreters
    • Language assessment
    • Pre-briefing interpreters
    • Structuring a session
    • Debriefing interpreters
    • Addressing common interpreting issues

Overall aim of the programme

The training programme is designed to:

  • facilitate the acquisition of knowledge, the development of awareness and sensitivity to cultural factors, and provide opportunities to apply these as skills in practice.
  • fill the gap between theory and practice: there is a proliferation of papers and discussion on cultural competence in the literature and internet, but very little to guide the application of cultural competence learning in a practical way.

Target audience

This programme is recommended for clinicians working with CALD clients in the field of psychiatry and psychology in the New Zealand health system.


E-Learning online self-paced learning = 4 hours.

Assessment and Diagnosis

Assessment and Diagnosis

Online course

This module is available as a self guided 4 hour online course.


Excellent training for psychologists

The training is excellent and useful for psychologists.


The vignettes are very practical and useful.

I find this course very helpful. I like the wideness and depth of the knowledge. The vignettes are very practical and useful


Interesting content and well researched.

Love the graphics! I thought the content was interesting and well researched.


Very applicable to psychiatrists and registrars.

This module is very applicable to psychiatrists and registrars. I think this will be a great learning for them.


A very interesting module and an eye opener. A great reminder of acknowledging one's own biases (conscious and unconscious)

There was a lot to digest in this module. It was interesting and I realised how easy it can be in a busy day to forget important issues like acknowledging one’s own biases (conscious and unconscious) and smaller issues (like taking a bit of extra time to ensure you have done everything you can to make people comfortable with you to facilitate engagement). Expression of distress – an eye-opener; Somatisation – fascinating; Personality Disorders – very interesting. It is thought-provoking, with a lot of material to cover, it would require some revision over time to really get to grips with the concepts and integrate the tools and knowledge easily into one's practice.

Mental health nurse