Embodiment, Power, Fear, and the Other: Dimensions of Spirituality in (Sub-Saharan) African Psychology
An in-depth understanding of the African Religious Cosmology is crucial for psychologists developing culturally appropriate mental health interventions in Sub-Saharan Africa. Given that spirituality permeates every facet of African life and culture, the worldview of peoples in Sub-Saharan Africa has remained distinctly spiritual in nature. This has resulted in an understanding of mental illness that has been spiritually rooted. In this theoretical dissertation, I have proposed an understanding of the spiritual environment in Sub-Saharan Africa as predominantly embodied, power-focused, fear-based, and other-centered. These four elements have provided an African-centered spiritual worldview that not only has explained the etiology of mental illness but also has revealed ways that it brings about mental distress. A focus on schizophrenia (psychosis), suicidality, and childhood autism spectrum disorder has underscored the pervasiveness of this spiritual worldview. The implications of an embodied, power-focused, fear-based, and other-centered spirituality in mental health practice with clients in or from Sub-Saharan Africa were discussed. Unique considerations for African Christian psychologists and theologians were also highlighted.
Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology (PhD, Non-Clinical)
Spirituality, Fear, Power, Mental health, Africa, Sub-Saharan