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Puerto Rican Spiritualists View Mental Illness: The Faith Healer as a Paraprofessional
ISAAC LUBCHANSKY; GLADYS EGRI; JANET STOKES
Am J Psychiatry 1970;127:312-321.
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Director, community psychiatry department, Lamus Hospital, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Department of psychiatry and the social psychiatry research unit, division of community and social psychiatry, Columbia University, 128 Fort Washington Ave., New York, N. Y. 10032

Department of psychiatry, New York University, department of psychiatry and the social psychiatry research unit, division of community and social psychiatry, Columbia University, 128 Fort Washington Ave., New York, N. Y. 10032

1971, American Psychiatric Association

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Abstract

The authors examined the attitudes and beliefs about mental illness of 20 faith healers in the Puerto Rican community of New York City; these were compared with data collected earlier from samples of Spanish-speaking community leaders and a cross-section of Puerto Rican household heads. Spiritualists appear to be an idiosyncratic group differentiated within their culture for the purpose of healing. The authors emphasize the lack of professional acknowledgment of the role native healers play in this and other minorities and present two case studies that may help to explain this lack of acknowledgment.

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