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Accepted Paper:

Psychologist or clairvoyant - between sacred place, healing, and psychological therapy  

Author:

Anna Cieslewska (Jagiellonian University (Krakow), University of Bialystok)

Paper long abstract:

In Central Asia, various forms of magic and healing are common. Folk medicine is part of the cultural tradition based on plants, rituals, charms, and prayers. Some sacred practices are associated with the belief that illness can be caused by malevolent spirits whose identification is part of the healing process; these include jinns, albastyi (alvasti), pari, devs, and others. There are different experts including religious leaders such as mullas, ishans, qasida-khons, as well as other healers who deal with the spirits by using various techniques such as reading prayers, amulets, rituals and so forth. People believe that those methods have a therapeutic value, helping to remove bad energies, release tensions, regaining psychological balance. They can profoundly affect feelings, and thus lead to a change of the person’s attitude towards certain situations. Nevertheless, many of these healing practices are not recognized by biomedicine, although in certain situations they replace conventional psychological therapies or psychiatric treatments. Some methods can be complementary combining various healing practices and biomedicine to give a person ‘a double protection’.

In this presentation, I seek to answer what people think regarding mental health in different contexts, what they describe as madness or/and psychological disorders/effect of malevolent spirit. How do they deal with various emotional disorders caused by mishaps, work, migration, others. To address these questions, I present the cases of spiritual healers and healing methods performed in Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan as well as in Moscow by migrants from Central Asia. My presentation will be based on various field studies which I conducted in the years of 2006-2019.

key words: healing methods, psychological disorders, religion

Panel ANT-05
Shamanism, Psychiatry and Social Trauma: On Global, National, and Local Dimensions of Mental Health