Issues of African traditional cultural beliefs and practices and psycho-spiritual health in a Christian setting

Muraya, Phyllis N. (2013) Issues of African traditional cultural beliefs and practices and psycho-spiritual health in a Christian setting. Doctoral thesis, Anglia Ruskin University.

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Are there vestiges or elements of African traditional cultural beliefs and practices that affect the psychological and spiritual well-being of African Christian students in Tangaza University College (TUC)? If there are, how best can pastoral carers work with the affected students to help them deal with the issues and regain congruence? These questions, arising out of our practice in the Student Life Ministry in TUC, are the puzzles I set out this study to try to resolve. Our experience was that some of the students were presenting issues in counselling and spiritual direction emanating from unresolved conflict between their African backgrounds and the Christian faith. Observation was that the issues did not surface easily and when they did the carers were not sure how best to help the clients. I thus felt a need to find out what cultural issues affect the students, how the issues manifest in their lives and how best the pastoral care team could work with those affected to help the issues surface and be resolved. This is an original research designed as an inductive case study and to collect data, a multi-dimensional approach including focus discussion groups with students and members of the SLM, depth interviews with SLM members, selection of some vignettes of counselling and spiritual direction and practitioner observation - were used. The main finding is that there indeed are elements of African beliefs and practices that impinge on the psychological and spiritual wellbeing of some of the African Christian students in TUC. However, not all the students experience such dissonance as some have developed a synthesis between their two world views. Those who have not are embarrassed about and reticent in disclosing the issues thus the need for the pastoral carers to help them to integrate their traditional culture with their Christian faith. Clinical experience has shown that by combining two counselling models – the Rogerian Person-centred and Albert Ellis’s Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy, underpinned in a dialogical, theological paradigm, counsellors and spiritual guides can help the affected students not only to talk about the issues but also to work through them to re-gain equilibrium and enjoy greater fullness of life.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Keywords: fullness/abundance of life, pastoral care, inculturation, synthesis, psychological and spiritual health
Faculty: Theses from Anglia Ruskin University
Depositing User: Repository Admin
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2014 12:18
Last Modified: 09 Sep 2021 19:02

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