A critical evaluation of the involvement of pastors with mental patients : a case study of Saint John of God Mental Hospital in Mzuzu, Malawi

Kamanga, Chrispine Nthezemu (2019-04)

Thesis (MTh)--Stellenbosch University, 2019.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This study critically evaluates pastors’ involvement in the treatment of people suffering from mental illness at Saint John of God Mental Hospital, a community based mental health mission run by the Roman Catholic Church, in Mzuzu, Malawi. The problem that this study investigates is the exclusion of non-Catholic pastors from the healing ministry of people with mental illness. This exclusion often leads to the relapse of mentally ill people when they (or their guardians) seek the services of pastors once they are discharged from hospital and are advised to stop medication in favor of healing through faith and prayer. This study draws inspiration from my experience as the Pastoral Care Coordinator at Saint John of God Mental Hospital, which has led me to discover that most patients, once they are discharged, turn to pastors who have no experience in the treatment of mental illness, a decision which often has tragic results. The patients are instructed to stop medication after the pastors pray for them. Such instructions led to patients’ relapse and readmission to the hospital or in worse scenarios, their suicide. This study considers the possibility of including pastors of other denominations in caring for patients at Saint John of God Mental Hospital. To conduct the evaluation, the study utilizes a practical theological methodology as proposed by Richard Osmer (2008) and the chapters are structured and aligned with the four tasks of practical theology that he identifies. It also makes use of related literature in theology, health and other social sciences. As such, the first chapter focuses on the African epistemology on illness and healing. It further discusses the African Synod’s endorsement of inculturation as a vital component of evangelisation. Chapter One presents a discussion of liberation (feminist) theology with the aim of giving a voice to patients suffering from mental illness. The second chapter evaluates the Curia, Provincial and the Malawian Pastoral Care policy documents in order to discuss the burden of relapse as a result of the exclusion of pastors from other denominations from the healing ministry. Chapter Three is a historical discussion of the contribution made by pastors to the healing of patients in hospital. Following on from that, Chapter Four proposes possible ways in which to include pastors from other denominations in mental health healing at St. John of God Mental Hospital. Overall, the evaluation of the policy documents indicates that the Malawian policy on pastoral care is inconsistent with the African understanding of illness and healing, the Roman Catholic Church’s view on inculturation and the overarching Curia and Provincial policy documents. The study furthermore argues that the exclusion of pastors from other denominations adds to the burden carried by mentally ill patients and their guardians. For this reason, it establishes the need for a holistic and multifaceted approach that can respond to the needs of mental patients in the hospital. Ultimately, it recommends that Saint John of God Mental Hospital finds a way to responsibly involve pastors from other denominations in its healing ministry in order to achieve sustainable and holistic healing.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Hierdie studie is ʼn kritiese evaluering van die moontlike betrokkenheid van pastors van ander denominasies as die Rooms Katolieke Kerk, by die bediening aan pasiënte met geestesongesteldhede in Saint John of God Mental Hospital in Mzuzu, Malawi. Die probleem wat hierdie studie ondersoek, is die huidige beleid wat die pastorale sorg van pastors van ander denominasies uitsluit. Ditlei dikwels tot terugslae of weerinsinkings van mense met geestesongeesteldhede wanneer hulle ontslaan word en hulle (of hul voogde) die dienste van pastors benodig. Hierdie navorsing volg op my ervarings as die Pastorale Sorg Koordineerder van Saint John of God Mental Hospital, waar ek ontdek het dat die meeste pasiënte na ontslag deur hul plaaslike kerkleiers aangeraai word om medikasie te staak en eerder staat te maak op geloofsgenesing-sessies waar daar vir hulle gebid word. Hierdie aanbevelings van pastors wat die gebruik van medikasie teenstaan, lei daartoe dat pasiënte terugsink en hertoelating tot die hospitaal moet kry, of, in die ergste gevalle, selfmoord pleeg. Die navorsing oorweeg die moontlikheid om pastors van ander denominasies in te sluit by die pastorale sorg van pasiënte by Saint John of God Mental Hospital. Die studie maak gebruik van ʼn praktiese teologiese metodologie soos voorgestel deur Richard Osmer (2008) en die hoofstukke van die navorsing is gestruktureer en belyn volgens Osmer se vier take van praktiese teologie. Die navorsing maak ook gebruik van teologiese, gesondheids- en geesteswetenskaplike literatuur.Die eerste hoofstuk fokus op die Afrika-epistomologie van siekte en genesing. Dit bespreek die Rooms Katolieke Kerk se Afrika-Sinode se konsep van inkulturasie as ʼn noodsaaklike komponent van evangelisasie. Hoofstuk Een sluit ook in ʼn voorlegging oor bevrydings- (feministiese) teologie met die doel om ʼn stem te gee aan pasiënte met geestesongesteldhede. Hoofstuk Twee evalueer die Curia-, Provinsiale en Malawiese Pastorale Sorg beleidsdokumente. Die hoofstuk bespreek ook die las van pasiënte wat weerinsinkings beleef as gevolg van die uitsluiting van pastore van ander denominasies in die genesingsbediening. Hoofstuk Drie is ʼn geskiedkundige bespreking van die bydrae van pastors tot die genesing van pasiënte in die hospitaal. Hoofstuk Vier stel verskillende maniere voor waarop pastors van ander denominasies ingesluit kan word by die genesing van geestesgesondheid by Saint John of God Mental Hospital, waar die huidige beleid nie pastors van ander denominasies as die Rooms Katolieke Kerk by die bediening van genesing insluit nie. Die evaluering van die beleidsdokumente dui aan dat die Malawiese beleid oor Pastorale Sorg teenstrydig is met die Afrika verstaan van siekte en genesing, die Rooms Katolieke Kerk se beleid oor inkulturasie, en die Curia- en Provinsiale beleidsdokumente. Die studie argumenteer dat die uitsluiting van pastors van ander denominasies, ʼn groter las op pasiënte en hul voogde plaas. Die navorsing bevestig die noodsaaklikheid van ʼn holistiese en veelsydige benadering en respons tot pasiënte met geestesongesteldhede in die hospitaal. Die studie beveel aan dat Saint John of God Mental Hospital ʼn manier vind om pastors van ander denominasies ook by die bediening van genesing te betrek om volhoubare en holistiese genesing te verseker.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/105820
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