Psychotherapy for Africans with a Migration Background

  • Samuel O. Okpaku


This chapter is an attempt to provide a background to and a framework for conducting psychotherapy for Africans with a migratory background. It is important to bear in mind that Africa is a continent with people of various economic, historical, and sometimes cultural background. Africans migrate for a variety of reasons; some of these may be due to social, economic, educational, and training purposes. The suggested framework is based on a psychoanalytic based psychotherapeutic approach. The chapter emphasizes that although cultures may vary there are instances of universally occurring situations in cultures that are substantially different from our own. In this chapter it is suggested that anyone interested in working with individuals from a distinct cultural or substantially different background from his/her own can also benefit from some familiarity with the etiquette, values, and beliefs of that society. Some background understanding of West African religious philosophy may also be helpful. The intial assessment should be as comprehensive as possible. The treatment approach as suggested would emphasize the need to identify the themes that emerge from the assessment and subsequent meetings with the client. The approach should be supportive and facilitatory. The therapist should be willing and open to be informed by the patient.


Background Framework Psychotherapy Africans Migratory Economic Historical Psychoanalytic Cultures Therapist 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Samuel O. Okpaku
    • 1
  1. 1.Center for Health, Culture, and SocietyNashvilleUSA

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