Reframing and Redefining Family Therapy: Ubuntu Perspective

S.H. Somni, N.S. Sandlana


Most Western theorists and practices have undermined the richness of African indigenous cultural practices that have been in existence from time immemorial. Furthermore, ignorance concerning African values has led to the development of a negative attitude towards African culture. This necessitates a need for ways of knowing that are legitimate and valuable as those of the West, ways that will embrace African values. An African value that sets the pace for most Africans is Ubuntu. Ubuntu is rooted in the African worldview which embraces interconnectedness, interdependence and spirituality. Unlike in conventional methods of healing, this value transcends the self to include significant others in one’s social world and therefore promotes collectivism and communalism among family members. Like other conventional forms of treatment, traditional family therapy is based on western principles and as such fails to meet the needs of the Black African population. It is against this background that the researchers seeks to redefine and restructure family therapy using Ubuntu perspective as an endeavour to enhance provision of a culture specific and sensitive family therapy. The paper is based on the explorative qualitative study that was conducted in the Nkonkobe municipality of the Eastern Cape, using focus group discussions. The research findings revealed that lack of Ubuntu is the main cause of family problems and as such the researchers recommend redefinition and restructuring of strategies used by conventional therapist in helping families deal with their problems.

DOI: 10.5901/mjss.2014.v5n23p2158

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Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences ISSN 2039-9340(Print) ISSN 2039-2117(Online)

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