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Periodical article Periodical article
Title:Traditional treatment of mental and psychosomatic disorders in Ethiopia
Author:Jacobsson, L.
Periodical:International Congress Series
Geographic term:Ethiopia
Abstract:In traditional Ethiopia, there are three major cultural influences that are operating: Traditional African, Coptic and Islamic. Irrespective of the religious affiliation, people share very much the same ideas on human nature and the world. Regarding mental disorders, but also many somatic disorders, the commonly shared belief is that they are caused by spirits or by other evil forces. Generally, there is no clear-cut division between physical and mental disorders and accordingly there is a clear interaction between physical and spiritual healing, for example when spiritual formulas have to be ingested or when herbal remedies have to be gathered with proper spiritual ceremonies. There are several different indigenous institutions for dealing with mentally disturbed people. In the Coptic Church, there are monks and priests that are specialized in healing practices often using holy water sites. In the traditional African context, there are different kinds of spiritual healers who are in direct contact with the spiritual world, from which they get information and directives for the treatment. In the Muslim culture, there are also spiritual leaders who are praying and preparing charms with writings on paper or skin of words of Allah, but who also practice healing with herbs and surgery.