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Emory Global Health Institute Field Scholars Awards Program

2007 Global Health Institute Field Scholars

Comparing African Traditional Health Practices with Western Psychotherapeutic Methods in Ghana

Bridget Piggue, Doctor of Theology in Pastoral Counseling Program, Candler School of Theology

2007 fsa project 17 insetMs. Piggue is a doctor of theology in pastoral counseling student at the Candler School of Theology and Director of Pastoral Education at the Wesley Woods Medical Center. As a Global Health Institute Scholar, she examined methods of integrating best practices from western psychotherapeutic approaches with the best of African and Diasporan African traditional healing practices in Dansoman and Accra, Ghana. She explored how traditional African healing practices and practitioners may be better incorporated into Ghana’s mental healthcare delivery program, which currently relies exclusively on western approaches. Ms. Piggue’s project responded directly to Ghana’s desire to have a more integrated approach to mental health care delivery that draws on local cultural beliefs and links with traditional practitioners who serve as the first point of consultation for rural populations when any illness develops.

Her visits to sites of traditional African healing and her interviews with traditional health practitioners are part of a directed study with Dr. Emmanuel Lartey, a native Ghanan and accomplished scholar in intercultural pastoral care and counseling. Her global health field scholar work also informed a course entitled “Religion and Healing in Africa,” which Dr. Lartey offered in 2008 at the Candler School of Theology and that will be open to global/public health students from across the university.

To read Ms. Piggue's account of her experience, please click here . You can see pictures she took during her field scholar experience below.

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