Black and White Witchcraft: A Cultural Crossroads in Paris Inspires Therapeutic Innovation

Black and White Witchcraft: A Cultural Crossroads in Paris Inspires Therapeutic Innovation

by Tamar Kaim

An American psychology student reflects on her year of research at an ethnopsychiatric clinic in Paris, France.
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Monsieur D. arrives at the Centre Georges Devereux

Monsieur D. was a successful chemistry professor at a West African university and a respected community leader until the day he parked in his garage, stepped out of the car, and was shot in the head. Miraculously, he survived to be transported to a hospital in France for immediate surgery. There he stayed for several months, alternately unconscious and delirious, until one day he was found lying on the grounds outside the hospital, having somehow "fallen" from the un-openable window of his fourth story room. With only a fractured back, Monsieur D. remained, miraculously, alive.
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Tamar Kaim

Tamar Kaim has been conducting clinical research for a number of years in various mental health settings around the world from seeking the genes associated with bipolar disorder in Massachusetts to her work with African immigrants in Paris, France, to most recently, a study of intercultural mediators working with Moroccan psychiatric patients in Belgium.

Tamar has a BA in Psychology and French from Amherst College and an MA in Intercultural Conflict Management from Alice Salomon University in Berlin, Germany with a focus on mental health care for immigrant populations. Contact Tamar.

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CE credits: 1.5
Learning objectives:

  • Compare ethnopsychiatric approaches to diagnosis and treatment with those of traditional Western psychiatry and psychology
  • Recognize indications when consultation with cultural experts may improve mental health treatment of African immigrants in Western countries
  • Consider the moral and intellectual challenges involved in integrating indigenous African healing and traditional Western psychological approaches
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