Incorporation of traditional healing into counseling services in tertiary institutions : perspectives from a selected sample of students, psychologists, healers and student management leaders at the University of KwaZulu-Natal.
Tertiary institutions in South Africa have become culturally diverse and the question of the counseling services available to students from diverse cultural backgrounds is inevitable. The study investigated the views of different stakeholders of the University of KwaZulu–Natal (UKZN) on the incorporation of traditional healing into student counseling services. In-depth, open ended interviews and focus group discussions were held with purposefully-chosen students, psychologists, a traditional healer and deans of student services. Data were analyzed qualitatively using thematic analysis. The participants highlighted the potential usefulness of traditional healing especially in dealing with culture-bound syndromes and students’ identity issues. The logistics of having traditional healing services in spaces modeled along Western influences, as well as ethical issues were identified as the main challenges. The findings are discussed in relation to indigenous knowledge systems and the constitutional imperatives on cultural diversity.