Concept and history of ethnopsychiatry in Pakistan


Hamdard College of Medicine, Hamdard University, Karachi, Pakistan


This paper examines the historical development and concept of ethnopsychiatry in Pakistan, the health seeking behaviour in case of mental illness, the use of western and alternate therapies for the treatment of mental disorders and the resultant benefits and hazards associated with these approaches. There is strong belief on jinni, evil eye, witchcraft and evil influence as the causes of mental disorders and the majority of people approach the ethnotherapists for seeking cure from mental illness who in turn prescribe holy water, rituals and amulets, etc. This paper also examines the relative benefits and hazards associated with ethnotherapeutic approaches and attempts to identify a middle ground where both types of practitioners could collaborate.


Panel 7C   (Erratics)
Friday, 17 September 1999

The Neurosciences and Psychiatry: Crossing the Boundaries

Joint Congress of the European Association for the History of Psychiatry (EAHP), the European Club for the History of Neurology (ECHN), and the International Society for the History of the Neurosciences (ISHN)

Zurich and Lausanne, Switzerland, 13-18 September 1999