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October 2022

Br J Med Psychol. 1979 Mar; 52(1): 49-54.

An analysis of contemporary East African folk psychotherapy.

Rappaport H, Dent PL.

In an effort to identify the characteristics of folk psychotherapy that could account for its tenacity in East Africa, a total of 31 Tanzanian shamans were studied. It was found that patients with emotional problems make use of both the folk and Western therapists and that a clear conceptual distinction is made between the services offered. The range of techniques used, style of service delivered, and the fundamental (or underlying) model of causation were all analysed. It was concluded that folk therapy is an effective approach to psychosocial disorders which, in the future, should be considered a dynamic supplement to Western practices. Additionally, based on the appeal of the medicine man, new directions for Western psychotherapy were suggested.


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