ERIC Number: ED343739
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1991-Aug
Reference Count: N/A
Healing and Spirituality: Implications for the Training and Practice of Psychologists.
Mohatt, Gerald V.
This paper outlines a psychologist's insights about traditional American Indian healing, gleaned through 20 years of friendship with and observation of Lakota medicine men. These insights include the following: (1) the power of traditional Lakota medicine comes from vision; (2) the healer's role is related to family history; (3) the process of becoming a medicine man is arduous, involving the quest for a vision and an ongoing commitment to intense personal growth through ritual; (4) Lakota healing rituals often produce dramatic results in a short period of time, but persistence of a cure depends on the presence of a healing community that directs spiritual energy toward the cure; (5) healers suffer and endure much because their commitment to others places no limits on the demands of others; and (6) the healing environment is dispersed throughout the community and is able to renew itself, but a healer must act as pivotal person in bringing this energy to the person needing help. Reflection on traditional healing practices and the medicine man's role raises many questions concerning the practice of Western psychotherapy and the training of psychologists. These questions involve the spiritual source of a student's desire to be a therapist, the necessity for professionals to pursue personal growth and knowledge about their own possibilities and limits, the nature of a cure, the nature of a healing community and how it is created, and the origins of healing in spirituality. (SV)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Commitment; Lakota (Tribe); Medicine Men; Traditional Healing
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Conference of the American Psychological Association (San Francisco, CA, August 16-20, 1991).