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Serving the Amish

, 256 pages
September 2014



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Serving the Amish

A Cultural Guide for Professionals

Serving the Amish is a targeted guide for professionals who care for or interact with Plain people: doctors, nurses, law enforcement officers, judges, social workers, psychotherapists, and addiction counselors, among others. For these professionals, knowing the "what" of Amish life is not enough. They must go deeper, understanding the "why"—the ideologies that both drive and bind this community in a system of beliefs that seems alien to those who embrace the technological and social turbulence of the twenty-first century.

James A. Cates draws heavily on his experiences as a clinical psychologist in private practice in northeastern Indiana, a region that is home to more than 35,000 Amish people. He combines anecdotal evidence and first-person narrative to shed light on the social, emotional, and psychological foundations of Amish life to help professionals interact competently and build rapport with Amish clients. He also explains the unique challenges outsiders face in offering aid to a people whose lifestyle and rules dictate a distance from all things worldly.

This practical book balances evidence-based principles of care with an emphasis on reducing anxiety and establishing warm relationships. From the police officer dispersing a party full of Amish Youngie to the social worker staffing a child protective services hotline, professionals who work with the Amish will benefit from this one-of-a-kind guide.

James A. Cates is a board-certified clinical psychologist and licensed addiction counselor in northeast Indiana. He is an associate professor at Indiana University–Purdue University Fort Wayne.

" Serving the Amish is a model for learning how to relate intelligently and sensitively to other cultures. Both professionals—including health care providers, police officers, and social workers—and the Amish community will be better able to effectively cope with the realities of their interaction because of this fine work."

"A psychologist with long experience in Northern Indiana’s Old Order communities, James A. Cates writes knowledgeably, respectfully, and frankly about working with Amish adults, teenagers, and families. This work, the first of its kind, is a must-have for health care and other professionals who encounter the Amish."

" Serving the Amish: A Cultural Guide for Professionals, by James A. Cates, provides the reader with a window into the world of the Amish... The author provides a wealth of information for all mental health clinicians who may serve in professional roles with member of Amish communities. This book is very successful in achieving its goal of sharing essential information for preparing clinicians working in Amish communities. But this book is much more than that. It also provides valuable information for mental health clinicians who work with clients of all diverse backgrounds in that many of the lessons shared are relevant to how we prepare ourselves for, and conduct ourselves with, member of a wide range of diverse groups... Whether or not one might interact with the Amish in the future, I strongly recommend this well written and engaging book to all mental health professionals and trainees."

"James A. Cates’s Serving the Amish: A Cultural Guide for Professionals delivers a useful tool for practitioners interacting with Amish communities as well as a notable contribution to the field of Amish and Anabaptist studies... Rarely do we see cultural guides that reflect such depth of experience in the community, length of treatment that allows for sufficient detail, and writing that conveys clear respect for the breadth of scholarly literature on a given group. Serving the Amish raises the bar for a form of cultural competency writing that may be embraced by social scientists and practitioners alike."

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