Academic journal article Ife Psychologia

The Importance of Logotherapy in African Culture

Academic journal article Ife Psychologia

The Importance of Logotherapy in African Culture

Article excerpt

ABSTRACT

From literature review, Logotherapy is less utilized in Nigeria. Despite of the brevity of the therapy, many Nigerian psychotherapists are yet to imbibe it in their practice. In demonstrating the effectiveness of Logotherapy in African culture, specifically Nigerian culture, the paper briefly examines the history of psychotherapy and highlights what logotherapy is about along with illustrations on how its holistic form of therapy is very useful in Nigerian culture.

In conclusion, some justifications for using logotherapy are provided in order to guide African psychotherapists in their decision making.

INTRODUCTION

The number of ethnic groups in Africa is so many that it is difficult to pinpoint what African culture actually is. Since culture comprises different ways of life of a people in a particular place or region, it is apt here to adopt Peltzer (1989)'s description of African culture, though his study was based in Malawi. The justification for the adoption is because, like Malawi, almost all African countries also experienced colonialism and acculturation.

Therefore, Africans could be grouped into three categories. The first categoiy is the traditional people who predominantly live in rural area. They belong to the low socioeconomical class. The second categoiy is the "Western personhood." Members of this group predominantly live in urban areas. They practise only Western culture, although they are Africans. They belong to the upper class that has lost touch with traditional culture. The third categoiy of people is the "transitional" people. They belong to the middle class. At times, their behavior reflects traditional culture, and at other times, it reflects western culture. Although they live in urban area, they still have connection with the rural area. In other words, they are in the process of becoming completely westernized. They still practise both traditional and western cultures together.

In using any type of psychotherapy, it is necessaiy to take cognizance of the above named categories of people in Africa in other to be able to effectively implement any intervention. Logotherapy is a culture-free psychotherapy that is based on the totality of man. That is, man consists of body, psyche and spirit. All these must be taken into consideration when dealing with man. This is the reason why logotherapy is suitable for those three categories.

Therefore, logotherapy fits into African culture because Africans are spiritual people. For instance, Africans hardly do anything without prayer in their daily lives-right from naming ceremony to performance of the 'rite de passage", marriage, house warming to even burial ceremony. All these ceremonies require prayers in Africa. The prayers have to be made by traditional Priest, Pastor or Imam, depending on people's religious beliefs. Despite the awareness of logotherapy over two decades in Nigeria, many Nigerian psychotherapists are yet to utilize it in their practices. A lot of studies have proved logotherapy to be effective and economical and as well veiy suitable to our culture. Africans do not have time to be visiting psychotherapy like it is done in Western culture. Therefore, the paper briefly examines the histoiy of Logotherapy and highlights it with some illustrations in order to make logotherapy more understandable. The study concludes with some justifications for using logotherapy in Nigerian cultural context.

II. BRIEF HISTORY OF LOGOTHERAPY

Logotherapy is a term derived from the word existential analysis by Frankl in the 1930s in order to differentiate his own definition from many existentialists at that time. Therefore, Frankl used the words logotherapy and existential analysis interchangeably in all his writings throughout his lifetime.

The "Logo" in the logotherapy comes from the Greek words "Logos" which means "word" or "meaning". Logotheraphy, therefore, can be termed "therapy through meaning" (Asagba 2002 and 2006, Fabiy & Frank 1967& 1988). …

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