Authors: Juanita Ryan, Bernard Guerin, Pauline Guerin, and Fatuma Hussein Elmi, NEW ZEALAND
Event: 2005 TheMHS Conference
Subject: non-Western treatments, social conceptions and expectations, psychopathey
Type of resource: Conference Presentations and Papers
Abstract: Research suggests that Somali employ different explanatory models of psychological suffering than those used in the West. Hence, the objectives of this study were to explore 1) psychological, physical, and spiritual constructs of suffering as, described by Somali women and, 2) factors that protect Somali against experiencing significant psychological suffering. Eleven Somali were interviewed on multiple occasions using an open-ended interview style. The results suggested that Somali typically employ spiritual explanations for suffering, and that psychological suffering as conceptualised in the West is considered rare within Somali culture. Strong family and community support and faith were factors considered to protect against psychological distress. With spiritual manifestations of distress, typically participants stated that there was no effective protection. The findings suggest that for mainstream mental health services to be effective in working with Somali, considerable modification is required to encompass their conceptions and treatments of suffering.