Curanderismo: Religious and Spiritual Traditions
The art of healing comes from nature and not from the physician. Therefore, the physician must start from nature with an open mind.
Recently there has been a proliferation in the utilization, publication and research of “folk medicine,” “indigenous systems of medicine,” and “complementary and alternative medicine” (Abbot, White, & Ernst, 1996; Campion, 1993; Pal, 2002). Folk healing alternatives had traditionally been researched by anthropologists, ethnographers, and social scientists dedicated to the study of culture (Kiev, 1968). With the advent of multiculturalism in psychology and the emphasis on multicultural competencies, mental health professionals are becoming increasingly aware of the importance of culturally sensitive therapeutic practices and have made an effort to incorporate
indigenous or culture-specific therapeutic interventions in counseling (Sue, 1990; Sue & Sue, 1990). What previously had been labeled alternative, unconventional, folk, or unorthodox and considered the practice of charlatans is increasingly becoming the focus of study of multicultural psychologists and widely used by informed consumers (Arenas, Cross, & Willard, 1980; Ruesch, 1963; Ruiz & Langrod, 1976; Tan, 1988; Torrey, 1972; Van Oss Marin, Marin, Padilla, & De La Rocha, 1983). Research both in the United States and abroad has found several factors for the increasing utilization of indigenous healing alternatives, which includes holding a holistic orientation to health (Astin, 1998), having had a transformational experience that changed the person’s worldview, and an interest in spirituality and personal growth (Pargament, 1997).