Of Spirits and Madness: An American Psychiatrist in Africa

Of Spirits and Madness An American Psychiatrist in Africa Notwithstanding four years of medical school and an eight year residency a psychiatrist really learns his trade from his patients After five years of practicing in San Francisco including stints in

  • Title: Of Spirits and Madness: An American Psychiatrist in Africa
  • Author: Paul R. Linde
  • ISBN: 0639785331537
  • Page: 355
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Notwithstanding four years of medical school and an eight year residency, a psychiatrist really learns his trade from his patients After five years of practicing in San Francisco, including stints in the emergency room and the city jail, Paul Linde thought he had seen it all When his pediatrician wife decided she wanted to practice medicine in Africa for a while, he wentNotwithstanding four years of medical school and an eight year residency, a psychiatrist really learns his trade from his patients After five years of practicing in San Francisco, including stints in the emergency room and the city jail, Paul Linde thought he had seen it all When his pediatrician wife decided she wanted to practice medicine in Africa for a while, he went along for the ride, not expecting that the experience would transform his life Of Spirits and Madness is Linde s account of his year spent practicing psychiatry at Zimbabwe s Harare Central Hospital With compassion, good humor, and growing insight he describes his patients and their demons and difficulties We meet Winston Chivero, who injures himself by sticking needles and nails into his leg in order to protect his community from a bewitchment Sister Pagomo, a Shona nurse suffering from kufungisisa, or thinking too much Esther Mawena, who tries to kill herself after her husband gives her AIDS Samuel Rugare, a 28 year old laborer driven mad by too much mbanje, or cannabis and many others Overwhelmed at first by the press of suffering humanity waiting patiently in his clinic to see him, Linde gradually comes to understand how mental illness cuts across cultures He also sees the devastation it can cause in a country where psychosis is severely stigmatized as a contagious spiritual illness caused by witchcraft Most of all he is left with many important lessons from his patients who endure poverty and illness with incredible patience and spiritual dignity.

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      Published :2019-01-19T20:15:31+00:00

    1 thought on “Of Spirits and Madness: An American Psychiatrist in Africa”

    1. In fact, in Zimbabwe excessive complaining is considered to be a sign of relapsing psychotic illness, whereas in America it is a normal and even valued behavior. (55) Tragedy and misfortune and need never go out of style. (168)

    2. Having just finished another book of an American doctor's experience in Tanzania and how "he changed so much of what was done backwardly in the country", I very much enjoyed how Paul Linde, who spent a year working as a psychiatrist in a Zimbabwean government Psychiatric Unit (PU) wrote about his experiences. Almost all the chapters in this book are short case studies on different patients he saw in Harare.He highlights how each of these cases caused him to rethink his diagnoses based on both hi [...]

    3. I enjoyed a glimpse into a few worlds I would not normally get a glimpse into. Well written and easily understood by someone who does not have any sort of medical degree.

    4. What's sad to me about this book -- aside from the obvious, like the paucity of mental health care available in places like Zimbabwe -- is that Linde refers to his time in Zimbabwe as the peak of his career as a psychiatrist. He was facing a much steeper challenge than he might ordinarily in his work, considering the combination of psychiatry and culture, so it makes some sense, but he was also only a few years into that career when he and his wife went to Zimbabwe. To think of peaking so early, [...]

    5. Absolutely compelling reading. Each chapter is a mini story on a particular case where one reads in anticipation to just know how a particular case was resolved or solved. Furthermore, the book cleverly leads us through the intricacies of balancing modern western psychology within the framework of the Shona culture of Zimbabwe. I truly recommend this book if you are remotely interested in cultural anthropology/psychology or just interested in peoples' unique experiences in very different culture [...]

    6. There was some interesting information in this book, especially for a person interested in comparative mental health practices. However, Linde takes a very elitist view of his patients. Despite literally being in a singular African country, he continually refers to "Africans" and "African beliefs" as if they are a monolithic entity (as should have been obvious to me from the book's title). The author's time in Africa is clearly a way to "find himself," and while it's nice that he's semi-aware of [...]

    7. This book is a fascinating memoir about an American psychiatrist in Zimbabwe for a year. I especially like how honest he is about not finding satisfaction in practicing psychiatry in the United States and it is clear through his writing that he felt most fulfilled with his job in Zimbabwe due to the different culture and the amount of independence he had.

    8. I enjoyed this book. A memoir about an American psychiatrist who takes a year out of his career working in a busy A&E in San Fransisco to work in a disadvantaged Zimbabwe hospital. Linde focuses each chapter on a different patient he encountered and shows what a strong effect culture plays in the presentation and treatment of patients. Recommend adding this to your booklist!

    9. My knowledge of Africa was richly improved by reading this true account of Dr. Linde's work in a psychiatric hospital in Zimbabwe. Stunning observations about the beliefs and psyche in some African tribal communities. It helps explain why AIDS is the overwhelming tragedy of our lifetime.

    10. This is another book on my top five list of favorites. I actually emailed this author after I finished it a few years ago and he actually emailed me back. It's a good read if you have an interest in psychiatry and Africa.

    11. Linde's story is fascinating and educational, but his tendency to make sweeping generalizations about "the Africans" was quite off-putting.

    12. I read about half the book. I thought the writing left something to be desired, but the content was fascinating. A good read for an American wanting to work as a helping professional in Africa.

    13. I think this guy has some good points, but the book didn't captivate me enough to finish. I read about half.

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