Table of Contents
My recent learning experience was from one of my psychology modules. The prescribed book is Personology from individual to ecosystem, chapter 17 i.e. African perspective. The driving point of this chapter is “Why an indigenous African psychology not develop?” The chapter cited the importation of the mainstream psychology a predominately “Euro-American” science into Africa resulting in a lack of development of a purely African personology theory. Several recommendations are made in terms of how this can be changed or improved. Also covered in this chapter is the topic on “Views on psychopathology” Some of the sub-topics covered included:
How do traditional Africans view illness and pathological behaviour? The role of ancestors in the lives of traditional Africans
The difference between the African and western conceptions of stress Dreams, spirits and sorcerers
The link between psychotherapy and traditional healing
As an African it was not difficult to relate some of my experiences to what was explained in the terms of the African believes and practices. Recommendations were made to psychologist practicing in Africa on how to treat African patients in line with their beliefs. The aha-moment for me was when I acknowledged the African way of living which I myself and my immediate family do not practice. This brought me back to Freire’s “Culture of silence” from SCK 201-3 module guide. Freire defines the culture of silence as cultural invasion where invaders penetrate the cultural context of another group. Colonisation and militarisation dominance are said to be conducive to the development of the culture of silence. I found the insight into colonisation very interesting. Being a black African who stays in Africa I am personally not complaining that I refuse to believe in ancestors or traditional healers. I personally feel that colonisation did bring a lot of change to Africa; the question I asked myself is at what cost? Africa has natural resources, we have been “civilised” and educated but majority of African countries are still dependant on European aid. Why? I enjoyed sharing and debating the “Views on psychopathology” and Freire’s theory with my work colleagues. We all conceded that even though we are liberated and gained “independence” we are still indirectly colonised. We also reached a consensus that corruption and lack of accountability are some of the reasons that are delaying progress in Africa. Question 2
There are so many different perspectives to psychology that explain the different types of behaviour. No one perspective has explanatory powers over the rest. Some contradict one another, overlap with each other or build upon one another. Behaviourist perspective is different from most other approaches because people (and animals) are viewed as controlled by their environment and specifically that people are the result of what they have learned from their environment. Behaviourism is concerned with how environmental factors affect observable behaviour. The psychosexual perspective by Freud believes that events in people’s childhood can have a significant impact on behaviour as adults. Feud also believed that people have little free will to make choices in life and that human behaviour is determined by the unconscious mind and childhood experiences. Humanistic psychology emphasizes the study of the person as a whole (holistic approach). This perspective suggests that each person is responsible for their own happiness and well-being. It suggests that humans have innate capacity for self-actualization which is a unique desire to achieve one’s highest potential as a person. Because of this focus on the person and his or her personal experiences and subjective perception of the world, the humanists regarded scientific methods as inappropriate for studying behaviour. Cognitive psychology perspective focuses on the study of cognition...
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