The Effectiveness of Western Psychotherapy in treating Psychological Disorders among Subsaharan African Populations. A Systematic Review of the Literature

  • M.S Jidda
  • M.A Wakil
  • A.O Mohammed


Background: Psychotherapy has been shown to be effective in the treatment of mental disorders in the western world but viewed as an alien method of treatment to Africans. Aim: To review the literature on the effectiveness of psychotherapy in sub- Saharan Africa. Method: A systematic search of Medline, PsychINFO, CINHAL, were undertaken along with citation searches. In addition relevant text books and journals were searched for and used. Studies were selected if psychotherapy treatment in Africa were described in the title or abstract. Study quality was rated. Result: The search produced over 1261 articles; nine (9) met the inclusion criteria, four (4) were case reports, four (4) randomized controlled trials and one (1) quasi-experimental. Of the five (5) with relevant data four (4) revealed a positive outcome and, the need for some adaptation of the western model. Conclusion: High quality data examining the effectiveness of psychotherapy is quite sparse. However, the few quality data available revealed mostly positive outcome.

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eISSN: 0189-1774