HomePsychology and Education: A Multidisciplinary Journalvol. 16 no. 1 (2023)

Diagnosis and Treatments with Perceived Mentally Disturbed Persons: The Case of Traditional Healers in South Cotabato

Feliz Charlet Decdican |  Kaye Desiree Fuentes | Reahjean Magbanua | Mary Joy Alave

Discipline: Psychology and Health



Traditional healers are considered essential members and significant health workforce in the community, thus, their engagements to promote a better understanding of mental illnesses are crucial. The study explored the experiences of Philippine traditional healers in dealing with what they perceived to be mentally disturbed clients. The researchers captured narratives from the three traditional healers in South Cotabato: the albularyo, manghihilot, and tabib. This study is qualitative research that utilized a holistic multiple-case study as its method to gain insights into traditional healers’ diagnoses and treatments of perceived mentally disturbed persons. The results showed that traditional healers describe their perceived mentally disturbed clients in terms of physical and behavioral changes. They agree with the combination of observation and inquiry methods as a good way of diagnosing and using localized terms to label these clients. Alternative medicine emerged as the overarching method used by healers to treat their mentally disturbed clients. Their distinctive ways of diagnosing and treating showed their differences in expertise since they belong to different categories. Despite their insufficient knowledge of mental health, their ideas may be beneficial for collaboration with professionals in reducing the mental health treatment gap in our community.


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