Psychotherapy And Traditional Healing

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Abstract

Multicultural advocates within professional psychology routinely call for “culturally
competent” counseling interventions. Such advocates frequently cite and celebrate
traditional healing practices as an important resource for developing novel integrative forms
of psychotherapy that are distinctively tailored for diverse populations. Despite this interest,
substantive descriptions of specific forms of traditional healing vis-à-vis psychotherapy have
appeared infrequently in the psychology literature. This article explores the prospects for
therapeutic integration between traditional healing and contemporary psychotherapy. There
is a growing trend to seek alternative, complementary and traditional healing not only as a
reaction to Western biomedicine but also to the mindset of ‘‘talking heads’’ in
psychotherapy. Traditional healing aims to restore harmony and balance within the
individual through a symbiosis of the body, mind and spirit. Through this process traditional
healing offers a holistic conceptualization of wellness and wellbeing, both within the
individual, and between the individual and his or her environment. Comparative studies on
alternative healing practices indicate that many patients/clients often see a mental health
professional and a traditional healer concurrently. This paper considers the use of
traditional healing alongside Western counselling psychology as a process of dual
interventions for clients who engage traditional healing practices alongside psychotherapy.

Authors:

Francis Bala Aku Akwash

akwash03@yahoo.com

 

Description

Multicultural advocates within professional psychology routinely call for “culturally
competent” counseling interventions. Such advocates frequently cite and celebrate
traditional healing practices as an important resource for developing novel integrative forms
of psychotherapy that are distinctively tailored for diverse populations. Despite this interest,
substantive descriptions of specific forms of traditional healing vis-à-vis psychotherapy have
appeared infrequently in the psychology literature. This article explores the prospects for
therapeutic integration between traditional healing and contemporary psychotherapy. There
is a growing trend to seek alternative, complementary and traditional healing not only as a
reaction to Western biomedicine but also to the mindset of ‘‘talking heads’’ in
psychotherapy. Traditional healing aims to restore harmony and balance within the
individual through a symbiosis of the body, mind and spirit. Through this process traditional
healing offers a holistic conceptualization of wellness and wellbeing, both within the
individual, and between the individual and his or her environment. Comparative studies on
alternative healing practices indicate that many patients/clients often see a mental health
professional and a traditional healer concurrently. This paper considers the use of
traditional healing alongside Western counselling psychology as a process of dual
interventions for clients who engage traditional healing practices alongside psychotherapy.

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