n IFE PsychologIA : An International Journal - Psychotherapeutic allegories and some metaphors of harmony restoration theory and therapy in an African indigenous folktale

Volume 22, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1117-1421



Folktales, narratives, metaphors or stories are psychotherapeutic in nature especially when consciously applied in a therapeutic setting. They assist clients in achieving wholeness in the area of therapy focus. They also educate, entertain and perform other functions depending on the context they are used. While reading, listening to, or even writing their own stories, people tend to understand, feel, relate with and even see a part of themselves in stories. In Africa, when people are bereaved, they are told stories to assist them grieve positively (Nwoye, 2005). This paper elucidates the psychotherapeutic components of folktales or metaphors with focus on "Alabingo" (The land of Bingo), an indigenous (Igbo) folktale translated to English by Pritchett (2004). The story shows cycles of harmony-disharmony within the endocosmos (relationship within oneself), mesocosmos (relationship between oneself and others) and exocosmos (relationship between oneself and higher order beings (God or gods) or other revered things) that the Chief of Bingo went through before he was able to marry a wife and select a heir to his throne. The harmony-disharmony cycle experienced by the Chief were teased out and were juxtaposed with the steps he took to facilitate the achievement of harmony his life. The importance of metaphors in psychotherapy and therapeutic characteristics of metaphors in Alabingo were highlighted and implications for psychotherapy practice in Africa were also elucidated.

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