Today In Fact, 7 October

In Southern Africa, traditional healing is initiated by the healer experiencing a painful ancestral possession known as “Gothwasa”. It is widely regarded as the period of apprenticeship for healers on their spiritual journey.

Western Psychiatry diagnosis these experiences as paranoid schizophrenia, a thought disorder that requires drugs to control.

Ronald David Laing, a Scottish psychiatrist was born today in 1927 and traversed the boundary between the Western psychiatric medical model and the anti-psychiatry movement which would applaud the traditional African approach to healing.

In his seminal work; “Knots” Laing describes his own experience of Schizophrenia and how he attempted to manage his experiences of the double bind.

This courageous man fought for the dignity of those whom we regard as mentally ill. He insisted that the lived experiences of people suffering from Schizophrenia are valid and not merely to be regarded as symptoms of disease.

Something we Africans have been doing for millennia.

– Posted by Douglas Racionzer (

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