Developing a culturally appropriate model of counselling for working with Basotho University students

Selebalo-Tseki, L., 2000. Developing a culturally appropriate model of counselling for working with Basotho University students. PhD, Nottingham Trent University.

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Currently the emphasis in cross-cultural counselling is placed on the problems arising when white, middle class, Euro-centric trained counsellors, attempt to help non-Euro- centric clients. There is a marked reservation on the problems occurring when Eurocentric counselling methods and techniques are 'indiginized', that is, when both the client and Euro-centric trained counsellor come from similar albeit non-Euro-centric cultural backgrounds, but employing foreign (Euro-centric) counselling techniques.

A central question which has not really been addressed is whether counselling, as it is known in Euro-centric societies, is appropriate or even effective in helping people from different cultures. This intervention is an attempt to provide a framework for answers to the foregoing fundamental question, and thereby answer a more pertinent subsidiary question: Could the Basotho culturally based helping techniques be more effective with Basotho university students in particular, than the Euro-centric oriented counselling intervention. In an attempt to answer this question, a multiple-case study was carried out with a view to assess the effectiveness of Euro-centric models of therapy against culturally based techniques in helping Basotho university students. It was expected that this study would yield cross-cultural implications related to traditional healing that are of interest to academics, practitioners and consumers.

The main topic of concern for this study was the phenomenon of traditional healing as practised in Lesotho and how this affects the cultural norms and the emerging Euro-centric oriented system at the University of Lesotho. The information generated by this study has the potential to increase knowledge about multi-cultural issues to counsellors. The rationale for this investigation is that multi-dimensional Euro-centric understanding of indigenous healing practices in developing countries has been limited. Recent philosophy and history of science literature indicate a shifting scientific paradigm, with movement away from the hegemony of scientific method and Cartesian logic as the only valid dictum of knowledge (e.g. Kuhn, 1970; Longino, 1990). If this is the case, if the paradigm is truly shifting- and thus the awareness of limitations of scientific method is shifting- it is necessary for academics and practitioners to investigate some of the "ancient" practices that historically have been considered as outside the parameters of the Euro-centric scientific paradigm. For example, the World Health Organisation (WHO, 1978), promotes collaboration efforts between the "biomedical" and indigenous healing communities in developing countries. They realise that traditional healers play a significant and recognised role in health care provision in Southern Africa.

In the group intervention, one group (group A), the traditional Basotho helping techniques, in which the appreciation of Basotho culture, and the roles played by family, spirituality and traditional healers in the members' lives were emphasised. The alternative group (group B) was also constituted of Basotho students. But, this group was helped using the usual Euro-centric group intervention techniques. I believe that from the point of sociological theory and from cross-cultural studies in counselling, it is of academic importance and interest to embark on the study of this nature.

Through this intervention I realised that because of their Euro-centric training, counsellors at the National University of Lesotho believe that they could best help Basotho students by helping them adjust to Euro-centric value system. But as noted through this study, the Basotho students' approach to psychology assigns importance to traditional healers and therapists as value keepers for the society. The current NUL counselling service operates primarily on a scarcity paradigm regarding mental health resources with Euro-centric trained specialists being considered the only valid helpers. Data provided in this work clearly threw light on three main points:

(1) Most Basotho students are confronted by adjustment and social problems at the National University of Lesotho, and these problems last for their entire study period

(2) This group does not feel that it can be properly helped by Euro-centric trained professionals employed in the University counselling service especially when it comes to personal problems that are associated with witchcraft and other cultural aspects of problem causation.

(3)There is a need for new strategies and techniques for helping these students overcome their problems while they are at the university.

(4)Some form of collaboration between traditional healers and the Eurocentric trained therapists is highly recommended, where clients can be referred to traditional healers when there is a need. There should be an establishment of periodic consultations and freely reciprocal referral system between the traditional healers and counsellors at NUL.

Item Type: Thesis
Creators: Selebalo-Tseki, L.
Date: 2000
ISBN: 9781369316834
Divisions: Schools > School of Social Sciences
Record created by: Linda Sullivan
Date Added: 30 Sep 2020 14:47
Last Modified: 13 Sep 2023 15:02

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