How have you been impacted by your own culture and experiences? How can this information be transferred when working with a client?

I think the concept of culture may be exaggerated. According to West (2007) discusses therapy and medicine in terms of culture form the standpoint of a belief in the supernatural and its impact on treatment (West, 2007).  West views the interpretation and use of metaphor to explain magic and religion as a form of erroneous riddle solving in which the professional is attempting to solve.   This idea creates a situation in which the therapist is attempting to solve a mystery or confusion which is assumed in the subject. According to West (2007), the act of doing this assumes erroneous ideas concerning the religion in question and dismisses the world view.

While this idea may be true to some extent, West may be giving the religion too much credit for being easily understood. If religions were easily understood there would be no controversy concerning them. Religions are interpreted because by their nature they are unprovable and often extremely ambiguous.

One might ask what this has to do with healthcare and medicine and the answer would be everything. Healthcare operates on the same principles as other sciences and being culturally sensitive is not always possible when practices are being used that could endanger the patient. This is especially true in cases where ethics are at stake. Understanding this line of difference between healthcare and cultural belief allows one to see how shamanism in practice can negatively impact healthcare.


West, H. G. (2007). Ethnographic Socery (Vol. 1). Chicago, Illinois: University of Chicago Press.

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