This paper was presented at the
National Seminar on
Indian Psychology: Theories and Models
December 26 - 28, 2007
What is Psychological Healing? Towards Identifying its Salient Attributes
Jyoti Anand Allahabad
Pain and suffering are universal and in every culture people develop their own ways of understanding and dealing with personal crises. Cultural beliefs and practices not only help people in finding meaning in their suffering but also in shaping their psychological healing. The present research aimed to examine what constitutes psychological healing in the Indian cultural context and what are its salient indices. A sample of eight women who had gone through some major life crises and seemed to have come out of it, were taken. The life narratives of these women brought forth some important attributes of healing. It was observed that healing entailed positive reconstruction of the suffering experience, wherein the participants were able to transcend the painful event and maintain their faith in karmic justice. Most of the participants exhibited a sense of surrender to a Guru or God’s will, which facilitated active acceptance of their life crises without grudges, anger, bitterness or questions. Healing was also punctuated by one’s re-embeddedness in relationships with oneself, the family, the community and the divine. The implications of these findings for developing a conceptual framework of psychological healing are discussed.
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