Interpretations and Perceptions associated with Indigenous Psychotherapeutic Practices of Traditional Healers in Ayetoro Township, Ogun State, Nigeria

A PhD Proposal Presentation
August 2012

Supervisors: Professor Akin Odebunmi (Department of Psychology, University of Ibadan) Dr. Abiodun Gesinde (Department of Psychology, Covenant University)

Akomolafe, Adebayo Clement

(B.Sc., M.Sc.)
Clinical Psychology

Department of Psychology School of Human Resource Development College of Development Studies Covenant University

Greetings & Acknowledgements
My deepest acknowledgements are reserved for my wife and life-force, ‘Lali’, whose presence is a reminder that the ‘world’ is always more mysterious, more beautiful, and more enchanted than our most inspired attempts to understand ‘it’. I have been aided, counseled and supported in ways too far-reaching to articulate here by Professor Aize Obayan, Professor Akindele Odebunmi and Dr Abiodun Gesinde, Professor Augustine Nwoye, Professor Molefi Asante (USA), Professor Chinua Achebe (whose comments on a related work of mine were more than enough to encourage my present trajectories of questions), Professors Jack Whitehead and , Professor Kenneth Gergen (TAOS Institute) and Manish Jain of Swaraj University, India.

I dedicate this work to the intellectual visionaries in and out of the academia, who are accessing
new landscapes of alterity and possibilities; whose subversive visions are challenging the political orthodoxy of order, hegemony and the heteronormative articulations of success; who are learning to ‘fail’ into new ways of being and knowing – whether this be deemed legitimate or not.

Presentation Outline Introduction Statement of Problem Aim and Objectives of Study Research Questions Literature Review Research Methodology Expected Contributions Conclusion References .

Introduction .

This singular controlling influence over competing metanarratives of mental health has helped silence/delegitimize the rich practices of indigenous mental health practitioners. which has historically marginalized alternative conceptions of mental wellbeing due to its hegemonic claim to universal legitimacy.Statement of Problem The monoculture of the mainstream • This study problematizes the monoculture of mainstream mental health service delivery in non-Western contexts. Interpretations and Perceptions associated with Indigenous Psychotherapeutic Practices of Traditional Healers . therefore impoverishing perspectival appreciation of the construct of mental illness and stifling access to plural frameworks of healing.

there is a need to stimulate new evaluations of the construct of mental wellbeing and illness along plural. and thus enable the emergence of multiple healing cosmologies and practices. Bolstered by the resurgence of a critical tradition in clinical psychology praxis. The critical emergence of plural frameworks of healing will enable new cultural solutions to mental health service delivery that do not depend on any single framework. Interpretations and Perceptions associated with Indigenous Psychotherapeutic Practices of Traditional Healers .Statement of Problem Pluralizing Mental Health Frameworks • The problem of the monoculture of Eurocentric psychotherapies in non-Eurocentric contexts is further complicated by the severely limited provision of facilities dedicated to the ‘treatment’ of mental illness. 2002). mythopoetic-cultural lines (Akinyela.

practitionerbased techniques. belief systems. • 2) Employ narrative methods such as unstructured in-depth interviews/life histories. Interpretations and Perceptions associated with Indigenous Psychotherapeutic Practices of Traditional Healers . and the collection of site artefacts to investigate the experiences and subjective accounts of the clients/former clients of these traditional healers in a bid to understand their grounded perspectives about influence and efficacy of indigenous therapies – as well as the commensurability of Western mental health systems to local livelihoods.Aims and Objectives of the Study Investigating ‘other’ practices of ‘healing’ • 1) Perform a phenomenological investigation of a select number of indigenous traditional healers to describe variants of Yoruba epistemology. ontology. aetiologies and local approaches to mental health and mental distress. observational tools.

Aims and Objectives of the Study Creating an ethnic portrait of wellness • 3) Investigate the perceptions of practitioners in mainstream mental health services about the outcomes and techniques of indigenous practices. • 4) Employ the convenience of video and pictures to create a mural that will complement the text in the „final‟ report. and employ non-academic means of knowledge dissemination to help revitalize these traditions in community of concern – thus providing alternatives in healthcare for communities marginalized by the hegemony of Eurocentric psychotherapy Interpretations and Perceptions associated with Indigenous Psychotherapeutic Practices of Traditional Healers .

Research Questions How? Why? When? What? • 1) What do the traditional healers in Ayetoro Township understand the nature of traditional healing to be? How do traditional healers perceive and valorise ‘normality’ and/or wellbeing? • 2) How do the traditional mental health practitioners approach mental ‘health’ and mental ‘illness’ and what epistemological. ontological and situational constructs inform their approaches. techniques and evaluations of successful intervention? • 3) What kinds of psychological problems do people bring to the attention of traditional healers in Ayetoro Township? Interpretations and Perceptions associated with Indigenous Psychotherapeutic Practices of Traditional Healers .

rituals and performances are enacted by traditional healers in the ‘treatment’ of mental distress or the restoration of distressed persons into society? What procedures do the practitioners engage in to effect healing in their clients? • 5) What are the peculiarities of the setting or context under which the practitioners live and work? • 6) How do „subjects‟ of these indigenous techniques story their experiences and what informs their preferences for these therapeutic technologies? Interpretations and Perceptions associated with Indigenous Psychotherapeutic Practices of Traditional Healers .Research Questions How? Why? When? What? • 4) How do the practitioners explain the basis for the emergence of psychological problems in their clients? What techniques.

as articulated by traditional practitioners and persons who patronize them. course and treatment of mental illness? Interpretations and Perceptions associated with Indigenous Psychotherapeutic Practices of Traditional Healers . relate with Eurocentric orthodoxies on the aetiology.Research Questions How? Why? When? What? • 7) How do practitioners in mainstream mental health services conceive the outcomes of indigenous? How do these indigenous perspectives of mental health.

Literature Review .

37) states that ‘in Igbo perception. many indigenous healing methods. studied by a growing number in the academia unsatisfied with mainstream psychotherapy. Boardman. & Weiss. Abbo. continue to serve locals across the globe (Raguram. spiritual or supernatural origin and visible or natural origins. Nwoko (2009. • The Igbo of Eastern Nigeria also have an elaborate cosmology that implicates healing and illness. Ramakrishna. & Aliyu. every ailment comprised the invisible. 2002. 2009. Kabir. Interpretations and Perceptions associated with Indigenous Psychotherapeutic Practices of Traditional Healers .Literature Review: Studies ‚We Africans need to come back to ourselves…‛ • Ethnopsychotherapeutic practices have long been recognized as existing side by side with ‘orthodox’ therapies (Ovuga. Iliyasu. Abubakar. 2004). deviance and wellbeing. p. & Oluka. 1999) • Unrecognized. Venkateswaran.

Indeed. as Eurocentric psychology – giving opportunities for the articulation of thrillingly new and parallel ways of responding to the questions: what does it mean to be ‘human’? What does it mean to well? Interpretations and Perceptions associated with Indigenous Psychotherapeutic Practices of Traditional Healers . critical psychology implies that we see psychology.Literature Review: Theoretical Framework ‚We Africans need to come back to ourselves…‛ • Social constructionism and critical discursive psychology. Social constructionism is concerned with the ways knowledge is framed. while critical discursive psychology is a rising trend that advocates a deconstruction of the so-called tenets of Eurocentric psychology. hitherto unfettered by any ethnic affiliation as a result of its pretensions to universality.

Proposed Research Methodology .

which seek the subjective meaning behind experiences within multiple contexts. Qualitative research is naturalistic research. questions and objectives of the project are not appropriate for positivist and quantitative approaches.Research Methodology Phenomenological research • This study employs a qualitative research design since the topic. assumptions. Interpretations and Perceptions associated with Indigenous Psychotherapeutic Practices of Traditional Healers . and is particularly adapted to the exploration of „why‟ and „how‟ questions.

Research Methodology Phenomenological research Setting The study will be situated in the south-western part of Nigeria. in Yewa North Local Government Area. established around 1813. which is mostly populated by indigenous Yoruba communities. and is home to many prestigious traditional healers – hence its selection. Interpretations and Perceptions associated with Indigenous Psychotherapeutic Practices of Traditional Healers . It has more than four government secondary schools and many private schools. Ayetoro. specifically in Ayetoro Township. Additionally. it serves as the administrative headquarters for Yewa North Local Government. is one of the founding cites that formed Ogun State in the mid-1970s. Ogun State. Ogun State is home to one of Nigeria‟s few psychiatric centres.

but remaining true to the facts. refraining from any pre-given framework. The operative word in phenomenological research is ‘describe’. not outcome – which is usually a story – and who seek to describe the subjective experiences of people. The aim of the researcher is to describe as accurately as possible the phenomenon. phenomenological research design (inspired by a social constructivist paradigm) and adaptations of phenomenological thematic analysis procedures as data analysis tools. It is employed by qualitative researchers who are concerned about process. Phenomenology is a major form of qualitative research. Interpretations and Perceptions associated with Indigenous Psychotherapeutic Practices of Traditional Healers . Phenomenologists are concerned with understanding social and psychological phenomena from the perspectives of people involved.PRM (2): Things to know about QRM Ethnographic study employing grounded theory data analysis Research Design This study employs a qualitative.

PRM (3): Setting Ethnographic study employing grounded theory data analysis Participants My ‘portrait’ of the mental health system in Ayetoro and the culture that informs their indigenous practices will be derived from my interactions with multiple populations: a) Traditional Healers/Indigenous Mental Health Practitioners in Ayetoro Town b) Clients of Traditional Healers c) Clinicians at the Federal Neuropsychiatric Hospital Interpretations and Perceptions associated with Indigenous Psychotherapeutic Practices of Traditional Healers .

The purposive sampling method is a non-probability sampling method. Snowballing is a method of expanding the sample by asking one informant or participant to recommend others for interviewing. The probability sampling techniques employed in quantitative research are rarely appropriate when applied to qualitative research (Marshall. 1996).PRM (4): Research Design Ethnographic study employing grounded theory data analysis Sampling The most popular form of sampling in qualitative research is purposive or theoretical sampling. I shall use snowball sampling. and has thus been selected in this study since it is appropriate to the direct goals of identifying primary participants within the multiple populations – or looking for those who have had experiences relating to the phenomenon to be researched. In addition. Interpretations and Perceptions associated with Indigenous Psychotherapeutic Practices of Traditional Healers .

However. Ogun State. In this case.PRM (4): Research Design Ethnographic study employing grounded theory data analysis Sample Size The sample size cannot be determined prior to engaging the concerned populations. and not less than 10 mainstream psychotherapists at the Aro Neuropsychiatric Hospital in Abeokuta. it is possible to have a rough estimate about the number of participants one might expect to meet in the sites. since it is already clear the kinds of people I expect to meet. it is expected that I shall be able to interview approximately seven well-established practitioners in Ayetoro town. Interpretations and Perceptions associated with Indigenous Psychotherapeutic Practices of Traditional Healers . not less than 10 clients.

and quotations) based on the research questions I have earlier earmarked. ii) phenomenological interviews observational methods (video. The data collection methods are: i) Unstructured in-depth (personal narratives). pictorial and rich descriptions).PRM (5): About Ethnography Ethnographic study employing grounded theory data analysis Data-Gathering Methods This phenomenological study of practitioner-based worldviews about mental health in Ayetoro and the lived experiences of participants in the culture will derive its data (narratives. and iv) memoing (a qualitative research method-inspired way of accounting for researcher bias) from field notes Interpretations and Perceptions associated with Indigenous Psychotherapeutic Practices of Traditional Healers . observations. iii) focus group discussions.

which involve coding qualitative data (that is. 5) Extracting general and unique themes from all the interviews and making a composite summary. building categories that exemplify elements of a narrative. 1) Bracketing and phenomenological reduction. validating it and where necessary modifying it.PRM (5): About Ethnography Ethnographic study employing grounded theory data analysis Data Explicitation Data explicitation will be performed using content explicitation protocols. the transcribed conversations generated from the interviews. constructing themes from categories and then arriving at a representative „theory‟ or „big picture‟ about the data. 3) Clustering of units of meaning to form themes. 2) Delineating units of meaning. Interpretations and Perceptions associated with Indigenous Psychotherapeutic Practices of Traditional Healers . focus group discussions and even field notes made by the researcher) in a spiral fashion. 4) Summarising each interview.

Expected Contributions .

popularized by Professor Lambo in Nigeria and Linda Smith in New Zealand. Its connections to the rich traditions of mental health decolonization. Interpretations and Perceptions associated with Indigenous Psychotherapeutic Practices of Traditional Healers . The study of these non-mainstream approaches to therapy weaves together streams of wisdom and history about being. wellbeing. the colonial moment.Expected Contributions ‚We Africans need to come back to ourselves…‛ • This study is timely because it directly addresses the marginalization of indigenous voices on mental health and employs research methods consistent with indigenous traditions for expression in order to propose counter-hegemonic measures aimed at the revitalization and reclamation of the said traditions. personhood. deviation and experience – thus opening up new vistas for emergent and participatory enactments of wellbeing. relating with others. recommend it has a study worth supporting.

Conclusion .

Thank you .

References .

2010.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=19&Itemid=34 Abbo. C. Pragma-criticism: An Afrieurocentric reaction to the Bolekaja Agenda on the African novel. 85-103. (2010).: http://pirimn.(Full bibliographic content provided in Proposal. J. Retrieved September 22. Nigeria.org/index. Makanjuola.kib. Retrieved September 22.ki.pdf Abdi..Types of mental illness among Yoruba tribe of Nigeria. (2010). July).. A. from TED: http://www. African Research Review. Adegoke. Factors influencing health beliefs among people in South West. Interpretations and Perceptions associated with Indigenous Psychotherapeutic Practices of Traditional Healers . 1-26. (2009). A. the following is merely displayed here for presentation purposes) Causes of mental illness (Traditional healers) . Management of perceived mental health problems by spiritual healers: a Nigerian study.html Afolayan. from Makarere University: http://diss. Inc. Agara. Profiles and outcome of traditional healing practices for severe mental illnesses in two districts of Eastern Uganda. 113-118. S. 177-197. Afr J Psychiatry. Adichie. A. 2(1). 11. 3(10). Retrieved September 26. O. & Morakinyo. A. A. 2010. 2010.se/2009/978-91-7409-5906/thesis.ted. (2009. The Journal of Pan African Studies. (2008). culture and development: Perspectives on Africa. O. A. Chimamanda Adichie: The danger of a single story. Globalization.com/talks/lang/eng/chimamanda_adichie_the_danger_of_a_single_story. 2(1). (2010). from Progressive Individual Resources. C. (2008). B. Journal of Alternative Perspectives in the Social Sciences.

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful

Master Your Semester with Scribd & The New York Times

Special offer for students: Only $4.99/month.

Master Your Semester with a Special Offer from Scribd & The New York Times

Cancel anytime.