Open Access Senior Thesis
Bachelor of Arts
©2022 Angela Molina
Also known as traditional folk healers, Curanderos’ name stems from the word “curar” which means “to heal” in Spanish. Curanderismo is the practice and Curanderos are the practitioners. Prior research has found there are significant barriers Latinx communities face when seeking mental health care in the U.S. Reasons include institutional barriers such as language, citizenship, and socio-economic status and cultural barriers such as lack of cultural competency by practitioners. Because of the holistic healing nature Curanderismo emphasizes, extensive research has been conducted to understand why these marginalized communities seek Curanderos’ treatment. Culture and psychopathology have a significant relationship because psychiatric disorders can manifest differently across cultures. Curanderos can be used to bridge disparities for this community, because they have the cultural competency and understanding of complex paradoxes experienced by patients. Curanderismo does not look at different aspects of health individually but utilizes a holistic approach. The three main aspects of health are the mind (alma), body (cuerpo), and spirit (spiritu); the emotional, physical, spiritual, and mental health. Spirituality can play a huge role in a person’s cultural background; an aspect of health Curanderos understand extensively but often overlooked in psychology research. Curanderos are not an “alternative,” a term used mainly to describe this treatment, but as “the standard”. This proposed study is to comprehend the role it has for health within Mexican communities, specifically in the U.S. The proposed methodology chosen will be qualitative constructivist grounded theory (Charmaz, 2014). 20 participants; 5 Curanderos and 15 people who have been treated by Curanderos will be interviewed. Practitioners will be asked the same 9 questions. People who have been treated will have a different set of questions but will all be asked the same 9 individually in 1 hour interviews. At the end, conceptual development and theory construction will be created to answer the central aim question. I anticipate the opportunity to listen to multiple rich personal accounts from the participants, through CGT (Charmaz, 2014). This approach to data collection will help to understand what role Curanderismo plays in the mental health care for Mexican communities living in the U.S. Through my proposed study, it can open a conversation about using more qualitative methodologies in research of Curanderismo and emphasize culturally sensitive frameworks in treatment and diagnosis. Utilization of CGT (Charmaz, 2014) does not compare or measure effectiveness of Curanderismo to another medical practice but understands the impact it has on its own community by gaining rich personal accounts from people themselves.
Molina, Angela, "Curarse en Salud: Mexican Curanderos in Mental Health" (2022). Scripps Senior Theses. 1995.