Cultural Healing and Belief Systems

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William E. Smythe, Angelina Baydala, James D. Pappas
Detselig Enterprises, 2007 - Social Science - 332 pages
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Section One, Theoretical Groundwork has two chapters which provide a clarification of the terms religious, spiritual and psychological constructs which we often use carelessly and incorrectly. Section Two, Cultural Systems of Healing consists of five chapters dealing with the healing systems and associated belief systems of various non-Western cultures. We find that most approaches to healing outside the Western model are holistically based. That is, they do not just treat an organ or labeled illness, but treat the whole individual. The whole individual is both a physical, psychological and spiritual entity totally enmeshed within a cultural and social group. "The inclusion of religion and spirituality as important variables for mental health has been supported by scientific research. More studies are needed to explore the relationship between spiritual and religious variables from the cultural perspective in order to inform psychiatric practice". (p. 185). Section Three, Religious Belief Systems and Healing has three chapters and as the title suggests looks at how religious belief is an important and significant aspect which must be included in cultural healing. Chapter Nine explains Islamic and Sufi approaches to healing, and Chapter Ten looks at how Christian belief is integrated into healing approaches. Section Four, Clinical Issues in Cultural Healing has five chapters which deal particularly with cross-cultural approaches to healing. The first chapter (Ch. 11) discusses qualifications and standards for Indigenous Healers. The other chapters investigate how allopathic medical modes of healing might be successfully integrated with various other culturally significant forms of healing. Despite the criticism of the Western allopathic medical model it must be understood that this system has many great attributes, it is more the imbalance or unholistic approach that is being criticized.

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About the author (2007)

Dr Angelina Baydala is an Adjunct Professor of Clinical Psychology and a registered clinical psychologist in private practice in Edmonton, Alberta.

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