Psychotherapy and Curanderismo

I used to work with the Behavioral Mental Health agency and Being Latina, I wanted to mention to everyone that, If I would get the opportunity to work with mental health, and would have liked to integrate the psychotherapy and curanderisimo into our mental health services to better serve the Latino community.

As you read the Curandero book, you will find that the Latino people believe in many magical and spiritual beliefs that they apply to everyday life. Those Latinos raised with Mexican grandparents and al Estilo Mexicano, come with many beliefs. “Curando con un huevo” for example, pretty much takes care of many illnesses.

While I worked at mental health, I had some Latinos clients who would complain about not having a person who understood the Latino culture. “They find things to diagnosis me as something when I would tell them “I felt I have been cursed, or that I felt that I had an attachment.  “Like an evil spirit.”

Psychiatrists, are mainly Caucasian or of another ethnicity. There is Latino therapist, but I have found that they will comply with the western methods of counseling. I mentioned this complaint to the therapist and psychiatrist, psychologist, and those in charge of the mental health like the commissioners.

They agreed with me, but they stated they had trouble finding people who had qualifications. They would find those who spoke Spanish or some form of the Spanish language, but in my experience, they did not understand the Curandero aspect part of the Latinos. Hispanics seek help on how to face life’s challenges.

I would recommend my clients to the Spanish-speaking professionals but were not satisfied with the comprehension of the culture. The service providers in the traditional system of mental health do not thoroughly understand the cultural needs of the Hispanic psychological disorders

One Psychiatrist even got upset with me. I was trying to explain the differences in our beliefs and how some of the tactics which they use, for example, “what does the following mean to  you?”  “If you live in a glass house you shouldn’t throw rocks.” Who understands this?

One of my clients I worked with had no choice but to stay with a psychologist even though the Psychologist spoke Spanish, but who would get upset at my client and give him a higher dose of medication.

My client would tell me he did not take the high doses. My client understood he needed to stay on his medication, but would not take the higher doses. He was trying to hold on to a job, but the higher doses would interfere with his functioning.

I have read and heard that other Latinos have had the same complaints. But in California, I read that many professionals are having more of an understanding of the need of combining both curanderismo and psychotherapy, they are about the same in using talk therapy and advice seeking.

My desire is that someday the alternative healing rituals and therapeutic techniques of the Latino culture-based system of care can be integrated into the western therapeutic practice to elicit more successful mental health integration for a better outcome for the Latino patients with mental health issues.


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