Original Articles

The Practices of Apostolic Faith Healers in Mental Health Care in Zimbabwe

Published in: Journal of Psychology in Africa
Volume 16, issue 2, 2006 , pages: 315–319
DOI: 10.1080/14330237.2006.10820135
Author(s): James JanuaryUniversity of Zimbabwe,, Tholene SodiUniversity of Venda,


This study aimed to understand and interpret faith healers' explanations of the aetiology and treatment of diseases and to canvass their views regarding collaboration between Western trained health care professionals and faith healers. Fifteen female and six male faith healers from Apostolic churches in Marondera (Zimbabwe) were selected and interviewed (mean age = 42.38 years; age range = 20–69 years). All the faith healers interviewed had been practising from two to fifty years. Content analysis of the data indicated that faith healers use a variety of procedures like prayer, holy water, counselling and sacred stones during their healing sessions. Common ailments brought to the faith healers included mental disorders, infertility, substance abuse, sleep disorders, childhood problems and physical problems. Witchcraft and avenging spirits were cited as the most common causes for illness. Closer cooperation between Western trained health practitioners and traditional (faith) healers is needed in the treatment of both physical and mental illnesses.

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