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Healing in the Nigerian Church

A Pastoral-psychological Exploration


Moses Chinonyelu Ugwu

This research work shows that «Healing in the church» which is found in different African countries could be better understood from the traditional African religious world-view. Using the Igbo of Nigeria as an example, the author suggests that some problems attributed to one cause or another in traditional African society might be psychological or psychosomatic in nature. Elements of a belief system can be used as means of expressing some underlying psychosocial conflicts. Psychological problems and conflicts are general human problems that could be found in any culture, but their expressions, manifestations and actualizations depend on the culture concerned. Experiences of Psychotherapy in Africa have shown that Therapists need to be familiar with the cultural features of the patients' lives in order to recognize the psychosocial problems behind the physical complaints of the patients. Only in this way can they resolve most of the problems termed «spiritual» cases. These findings are also very relevant for theology and pastoral practice in African countries.