n IFE PsychologIA : An International Journal - Integrating principles underlying ancestral spirits belief in counseling and psychotherapy

Volume 21, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1117-1421



This article discusses the traditional beliefs, of many indigenous cultures of Africa, associated with ancestral spirits and its use as powerful therapeutic agent for influencing behavior or lifestyle changes. Explanatory models of attachment to ancestral spirits by living descendants are first discussed, followed by a discussion on major factors responsible for real sense experience of ancestral spirits. Special emphasis of the paper is on the employment of exemplary behavior or status of dead relative, during their lifetime, for influencing different aspects of life of living descendants including lifestyle and career choices. Also featured in the paper are the drawing of significant parallels between traditional and Western psychotherapeutic practices and suggestions as to how to incorporate ancestral spirits belief into conventional counselling and psychotherapy.

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