Frank Kortmann

Frank Kortmann

Frank Kortmann (1942) is emeritus professor of transcultural psychiatry, Radboud University, Nijmegen, the Netherlands. He recieved his psychiatry training at the University of Groningen and became psychoanalist as well. He was invited to take the position of Associate Professor in Psychiatry in Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia. There he wrote his PhD on empirical crosscultural research with the Self Reporting Questionnaire (SRQ) developed by the WHO. After this he was general and medical director in psychiatric hospital ‘Wolfheze’ (840 beds), now Pro Persona. In 1993 he became professor in General Psychiatry in the University of Nijmegen in The Netherlands.  After seven years he continued as professor in Transcultural Psychiatry. He also was very active in global mental health projects around the world, especially East Timor, Cambodia, Nepal, Afghanistan, Jemen, Turkey, Bosnia, Kosovo, Suriname, Sierra Leone and Ethiopia. After being involved in transcultural psychiatry for many years, he became more and more convinced that all psychiatry is transcultural psychiatry, as there is always a cultural gap between the doctor and the patient.

Emeritus Professor in Psychiatry and Transcultural Psychiatry
Radboud University Nijmegen
The Netherlands




goede foto Frank

Title of keynote:

The versality of words; language in (cultural) psychiatry

The building blocks in psychiatry are just words and behavior. Words and behavior derive their meanings in their context. The larger the cultural gap between patient and worker, the more content they need to understand each other. This statement has huge consequences for the application of clinical and epidemiological instruments, as will be illustrated with the finding of a validity study of the Self Reporting Questionnaire (SRQ) in Ethiopia. The conclusion: don’t think too quickly or too fast that you have understood your patient. Take the stand of the one who does not know, as long as possible. Only then you might receive sufficient context from your patient to really understand him or her.