The Role of African American Folk Beliefs in the Modern Therapeutic Process

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In response to a need for more cultural competency in indigenous practices, this article examines folk beliefs and healing practices in African American culture from theoretical, clinical, and practical perspectives. Four empirically derived culture-specific factors—spirituality, ritual, power of words, and dreams—are presented as themes often embedded in African American clients' narratives. A clinical case example illustrates the use of narrative therapy as an approach in therapy with a depressed client who subscribes to a folk belief system. Finally, interview questions and suggestions are given concerning how to better incorporate African American folk beliefs and healing practices in counseling and psychotherapy.

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