" ...a knowledge of history, when combined with a knowledge about typical ethnic group norms (subject of a later post), can be extremely useful in making an educated guess about how and why certain family behavior patterns may have developed. These patterns were then transferred to succeeding generations through a process known as the intergenerational transfer of dysfunctional behavior."
"Problems (whether physical or mental) can be neither diagnosed nor treated without some understanding of the frame of reference of the person seeking help.” They asked the authors who were writing in the book about various American groups to answer the following questions, relating them specifically to a family therapy context:
The paradigms in these chapters are used not as "fact", but rather as maps which, although covering only limited aspects of the terrain, may nevertheless provide a guideline to an explorer seeking a path. This focus can mean emphasizing certain characteristics which may become problematic while ignoring certain others, such as the Irish people's great hospitality and charm, which are not problematic. By no means is it meant to add to any tendency toward negative labelling or stereotyping of the Irish.”
Some critics of the field complain that personality disorder diagnoses label and pigeon-hole patients, just like ethnic stereotypes. Well, they can do that, but they do not have to! Almost anything can be misused, but this is hardly an argument against the usefulness of anything.
To point up the belief that Irish children are not praised enough because their parents don’t want to spoil them, Dr. Pearce was quoted (Pittsburgh Post Gazette, 2/9/80) as saying that when he said that to an Irish mother, she replied, “I praise them. Kevin here, he’s not so bad.”