Faith healing does work

Don’t miss this interesting article from CNN. My only quibble is that it portrays schizophrenia as a  condition impervious to faith healing, ie there is no point in amateurs trying to heal schizophrenia! Nonsense, I say. When I looked around at the other mental health articles on the left sidebar of the CNN site, I grasped that they seem to be infomercials in favor of mental health labelling and medication.

iReport shows how mentally ill in India turn to faith healers

Christopher Davis, an anthropologist at the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), said traditional healers can play a role as mental health providers.

She contends that there is epidemiological evidence to the effect that people with mental health issues actually fare as well in communities where there is less medicalization of their condition.
“Anthropologists would argue that regarding faith healers as a less appropriate choice than physicians is a reflection of our own faith in medicine rather than in community as a way of finding a remedy for life’s problems,” she said.

3 thoughts on “Faith healing does work”

  1. Ethan Watters wrote about a researcher who researched the different treatments available in southeastern Africa (not sure if it was Tanzania, Mozambique or Madagascar), and found that basically medical intervention falls along the high expressed emotion treatment spectrum and stirs things up much more than non-medical. There is of course lots more detail. Probably you have blogged about his book, Crazy Like Us. And then of course there is the WHO study.


  2. I *hate* that schizophrenia is so often portrayed as the hold out of the “One, True, Incurable MENTAL ILLNESS!” Bullshit, I say. Just ask all the folks in Western Lapland how they feel about that. 🙂

    Someone recently told me they view schizophrenia, bipolar, depression, etc. as just different manifestations of trauma, crises, and other root causes based on the individual. That makes a lot of sense to me.

    (And if I read Whitaker correctly, it seems in the pre-drug era that schizophrenia was most often viewed as a period of temporary instability, right along with all of the other “mental disorders.”)

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