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Experience of Illness

Mode of Healing Intervention


Normal phase of the cycle of energy allows the ill-person to achieve the status of ancestor, spirit, etc.

Meaning varies with type of illness (Bondyè, diab, lwa).

Polymorphism and volatility of experience of symptoms (metaphors)

Absence of (occidental) anatomical references

References to energy and to one or other elements of the person.

Few links made between malaise and affects, thoughts, fantasy.

traditional oungan practitioner Maladi lwa: domain of the invisible spiritual; can be healed by an oungan.

without medical attention.

Fatal result of a biological disequilibrium that medicine has not yet mastered. Experienced as a failure for the patient as well as for the medical practitioner. Clear and univocal character of symptoms Reference to anatomy Fixed relationship to malaise. Reference to physical or psychological. Links to affect, fantasy, etc.

Mediation with the universe of spirits Prescription of measures include rituals

Realignment of energies.

Active participation of patient (search for plants, pilgrimage, dance, etc.).

Mobilization of social networks and knowledge networks. Links with the moral, social and political.

Divination of the nature and meaning of malaise.

remuneration of the healing (financial or otherwise).

  • Elaboration of a rational diagnosis related to the nature and cause of illness (according physiopathology or psychopathology). Recourse to medical technology to confirm diagnosis. Spirituality is suspect or an index of pathology. Prescription of measures to restore equilibrium (medication, nutrients, exercise, etc.). Interventions centered on the individual.

  • Financial participation of the patient is ethically and politically unacceptable when it opens the way to abuses.

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