Aetna Presentation Diversity Behaviors - part 1

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Spiritualism, Santeria, and Fatalism …

Spiritualism, Santeria, and Fatalism

Otilia Salmon, PhD, College of Education & Human Services, University of North Florida

March 25, 2005 - UNF Hispanic Health Issues Seminar

This is part 2 of an 8 part series of seminars on Hispanic Health Issues brought to you by the University of North Florida’s Dept. of Public Health, College of Health, a grant from AETNA, and the cooperation of Duval County Health Department.

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  • 1. Spiritualism, Santeria, and Fatalism This is part 2 of an 8 part series of seminars on Hispanic Health Issues brought to you by the University of North Florida’s Dept. of Public Health, College of Health, a grant from AETNA, and the cooperation of Duval County Health Department. For more information or register for the seminars, please call 620-1289. Otilia Salmon, PhD College of Education & Human Services University of North Florida
  • 2.  
  • 3.
    • The projected 2005 population based on 1990 census indicates 38 million Hispanics in the United States which represents approximately 13 percent of the total population, making it the largest minority group in the country.
    • In 1996, the number of Hispanic children (12 million) in the country surpassed the number of African American children (11.4 million ).
  • 4.
    • Hispanic health beliefs have focused on rural and/or low SES Mexican-Americans
    • Caution must be exercised in generalizing the findings to all persons of Hispanic ethnicity.
    • (Salas, Erickson, & Reed. American Journal of Speech – Language Pathology)
  • 5.
    • This is especially crucial given that in the next 20 years at least one-third of all clinical caseloads will consist of individuals from minority groups
    • (Cole, 1989; Zuniga, 1992; Sue & Sue, 1990).
  • 6.
    • Hispanics traditionally view the family as the most valued institution, with their religious and folk beliefs being essential aspects of the family system (Madsen, 1974l Samora, 1963; Zaldivar, 1994).
  • 7. In Latin American it is commonly believed that many illness can be caused by :
    • Psychological states such as embarrassment, envy, anger, fear, fright, excessive worry, turmoil in the family, or improper behavior or violations of moral or ethical codes;
    • Environmental or natural conditions such as bad air, germs, dust, excess cold or heat, bad food, or poverty and Supernatural causes
  • 8. Beliefs, continued …
    • Supernatural causes such as malevolent spirits, bad luck, or the witchcraft of living enemies (who are believed to cause harm out of vengeance or envy.)
  • 9. Fatalism
    • Illness can be viewed as a punishment or the will of God.
    • In such cases prayers and candles are often offered. However, fatalism is a prevailing sentiment in the Latino culture.
    • It is the belief that persons have little control over what happens to them. (Hazuda, Stern, & Haffner, 1998).
  • 10. The belief in Spiritualism is commonly found among the poor.
  • 11.  
  • 12.
    • Poverty excludes many from full access to science-based medicine and encourages people to seek other avenues to healing. The range of spiritual healing practices in Latin America today is very diverse.
  • 13.  
  • 14. 2. Insufficient medical personnel 3. Distance from health services Spiritualism continued…
  • 15.
    • Humans have both a physical and spiritual body.
    • Discarnate entities constantly contact the physical world.
    • Humans can learn to contact and incorporate the spirits for the purposes of healing and spiritual evolution.
    Spiritualist Beliefs in Latin America
  • 16. Spiritual Healers
    • Under the
    • umbrella of spiritual
    • healing are the
    • curanderos or
    • curanderas, shamen,
    • spiritists, and
    • herbalists.
  • 17.  
  • 18.
    • Spiritual healing
    • also takes place in
    • Religious ceremonies
    • such as the
    • Macumba/
    • candumble, or
    • Santeria.
  • 19. Macumba
    • Umbandistas , like other Macumba groups, believe that there are no "evil" spirits, only misbehaving spirits that need to be educated.
    • Quimbanda , however, uses mischief for its own desires. Considered black magic by many, Quimbandistas siphon power from unruly spirits, and therefore their practices are considered tainted.
  • 20.
    • Candumble, like Macumba, is practiced mostly in South America.
  • 21. Santeria
  • 22. Mal De Ojo
    • Illness is also seen as the result of the ill will of others.
    • For example, mal de ojo (“the evil eye”)
  • 23. Mal de Ojo – Evil Eye
  • 24.
    • The Evil eye is a folk illness with symptoms such as high fever, headaches, insomnia, and in children, excessive crying. It is said to be caused by the gaze of an envious or jealous person.
    • With the evil eye, a person may unwittingly damage the baby by admiring him or her too long or by making too many positive comments.
  • 25. Evil Eye, cont.
    • A mother will worry if a person looked directly and insistently, with admiration, at her baby. The admiring person might experience a subtle envy that would be pathogenic.
  • 26.
    • Pat the infant’s head slightly after making a positive comment. This is thought to alleviate the effects of the eyesight .
    • The mother may place a red object, like a choral bracelet or a red string around the baby’s wrist as something to protect him or her from the evil eye.
    How to counteract the effects of the Evil Eye:
  • 27.
    • is sold in many markets in Mexico to be placed around the child’s neck or wrist, also thought to be protective .
    A seed called “ojo de venado” (deer’s eye)
  • 28. Ojo de Dios- God’s Eye
  • 29.
    • Another way to wear off the effects of the evil eye is to mark a blue cross on the bottom of an infant’s foot or hang a figa around the neck or wrist of the baby.
  • 30. Figa
  • 31.
    • Once the person (baby or mother) is already the victim of those influences, the remedy may be to be “cleansed” through a “limpia” (cleaning).
    • This may be achieved by a family member or by a curandero (healer).
  • 32.
    • Also, a special combination of herbs in used to perform this cleaning. The bundles of herbs can be bought already made in the markets in Mexico.
  • 33.  
  • 34.
    • Often, an egg is passed over the body of the person to absorb the negative energy or influence.
  • 35.  
  • 36. Illnesses with Spiritual Causes
    • Beliefs regarding illnesses:
    • a) an illness may be caused by an imbalance between hot and cold or by being improperly dressed for the weather;
    • b) diarrhea may result from the presence of flies in the home;
  • 37.
    • c) mal de ojo (evil eye) can cause conjunctivitis and other diseases;
    • d) susto (fright sickness) can result in the loss of appetite and weight as well as fatigue.
  • 38.
    • Mexican-American healing practices are a comfort to many families and include remedios caseros (home remedies):
    • Holy water, votive candles, eggs, rice water, and medicinal teas such as manzanilla (chamomile).
  • 39.
    • A curse may involve a magical purification ritual performed by a curandero/a (folk practitioner).
    • Spiritualistic healers can also be a source of treatment through liturgical ceremonies that incorporate access to the spirit world, cleansing rituals, and herbal potions
    • (Spires-Robin & McGarrahan, 1995).
  • 40.
      • Beliefs may vary from prayer (82.5%) to the use of urine in the ear (2.5%).
      • 12.5% indicate that scaring a person could be used to treat stuttering.
  • 41.
    • Groups call upon the deity to protect their temples.
    • Priests, or babalao, are in charge of handling animals that will be used as sacrifices in rituals.
    • For members, rigorous devotion to ritualistic chants and dancing are required for initiation into the group. Abstinence from certain foods and sex is also required.
  • 42.
    • Some results support the stereotype that low income, less educated, and/or older minority persons hold folk beliefs regarding causes and cures of disability.
  • 43. Disabilities
    • In order to provide quality treatment to individuals from cultures other than their own, healthcare professionals, including speech-language pathologists and audiologists, must understand cultural variation including folk beliefs about causes and treatment of disabilities.
  • 44.
    • Because a disability is “owned” by the family members, it may be easier for the individual to adapt to his/her disability (Alvarez, 1998). In contrast, machismo (maleness, virility) may contribute to denial of a disability. For example, some males in Hispanic culture may feel that participation in a rehabilitation program is a sign of weakness.
  • 45.
    • Women also may deny the impact of a disability in order to meet cultural expectations to aguantar (endure) the hardship of the disability.
  • 46.
    • A disability may be viewed as a divine punishment for sin, and the family may believe they should not interfere with God’s will.
  • 47. Causes of childhood disabilities are believed to include : (a) premonitions (dreams during pregnancy); (b) past transgressions (prior sins); (c) genetic problems; (d) birth trauma; and (e) childhood accidents such as the baby being dropped.
  • 48.
    • Children with disability may be considered healthy and normal. Being healthy could simply refer to a lack of physical illness or disease, and being normal may be culturally defined as being able to tend to activities of daily living at their present level of functioning (Mardiros, 1989).
  • 49.
    • Religion, including rituals such as visiting a holy place, crossing oneself with holy water, and making promises to a saint relate to folk beliefs regarding health and illness.
    • How one views the causes of disability and the healing process can be classified as either emic (an insider’s point of view) or etic (an outsider’s scientific point of view).
  • 50.
    • From a clinical perspective, imposing an etic view and/or not respecting the emic view could interfere with the clinical relationship.