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Decolonizing the Notion of Mental illness and Healing in Nigeria, West Africa

Akomolafe, A.C. (2012) Decolonizing the Notion of Mental illness and Healing in Nigeria, West Africa. Critical Psychology in Changing World. pp. 726-740.

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Abstract

Mental illness or socially incongruent behaviours and normalcy are conceptualized in radically different ways by culturally diverse groups. These perspectives are informed by paradigms and cosmologies that situate the human person in storied relation to the self, the constructed world and others. However, an epistemological imbalance privileges Western-inspired conceptions of mental health over non-Western or indigenous perspectives. This hegemonic situation serves to propagate a single story about mental health and distress, thereby casting alternative traditions in inferior light. Bolstered by critical psychology’s critique of mainstream psychology and its decidedly postcolonial and social constructivist themes, I address this situation by interrogating the assumptions behind the modernist beliefs of universality and superiority that undergird orthodox clinical praxis. By exploring irreducibly diverse and rich impressions of mental healing, this submission espouses a socioparticipatory and multicultural clinical praxis, challenges positivistic ideas of therapeutic neutrality in Western psychotherapy, presents ‘evidence’ for the effectiveness of indigenous healing traditions and the notional integrity of culturebound ‘illnesses’, and recommends the legitimacy of attendant alleviative practices. Finally, I advocate a re-imagination of the therapeutic landscape – a rethink that addresses the marginalization of indigenous healing systems, and promotes a polyvocality of healing praxis in the Nigerian mental health terrain

Item Type: Article
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: Faculty of Law, Arts and Social Sciences > School of Humanities
Depositing User: Mr Solomon Bayoko
Date Deposited: 10 Oct 2013 06:46
Last Modified: 19 Jan 2016 14:49
URI: http://eprints.covenantuniversity.edu.ng/id/eprint/1611

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