Seminar Khoa học của TS. Julia

Seminar Khoa học TS. Julia

Seminar khoa học, TS Julia Vorhölter.

Dr. Julia Vorhölter, Institute for Social and Cultural Anthropology, Göttingen University

  1. Tuesday 17 July, 9:00-11:00:

Mental Health Interventions and Psychotherapy in Countries of the Global South: Appropriations, Translations, and (Unintended) Consequences


In recent years, psychotherapy and discourses on mental health have become widespread on a global scale, not only in the so-called West where they have long been prevalent, but also in countries of the Global South. This trend has been driven, among other things, by the Global Mental Health initiative of the WHO since the early 2000s and a related upscaling of humanitarian efforts to provide psychological counseling and ‘trauma relief operations’ in disaster zones or post-war contexts. Furthermore, (social) media has popularized a particular form of self-reflection and related techniques of self-management which in turn has inspired various actors and institutions (e.g. religious institutions, governments, or professional psychotherapists) to establish ‘counseling institutions’ in places where they had previously been largely unknown.

My talk focuses on this global expansion of psychotherapy in countries of the Global South. In the first part I will draw on my ongoing research in Uganda, where new forms of psychotherapy have been emerging and spreading from two different centers, and in very different ways since the early 2000s: Northern Uganda, where – following the end of the 20-year civil war in 2006 – there have been a number of so-called ‘psychological interventions’ which are mainly funded by international donors and focus on trauma. And Kampala, the capital, which has seen the establishment of a number of private psychotherapy practices since 2001 – a development that is driven by a small group of Ugandan psychotherapists whose clients are usually from upper middle class backgrounds. Taking these two different centers as my starting point, I analyze why and how psychotherapeutic discourses and practices have recently started to proliferate in Uganda, and who can and wants to access them. I seek to understand how the emergence of ‘psy’ is related to broader transformations of Ugandan society and new forms and perceptions of psycho-social suffering.

In the second part of the talk I will present an outlook for a planned research project which will expand the focus to other countries in the Global South where psychotherapy has recently been emerging. Concretely, the project will compare five selected countries in Sub-Saharan Africa and South-East Asia: Uganda, Senegal, Ghana, Thailand and Vietnam. The aim is to develop a better understanding of how psychotherapeutic discourses and practices are being integrated, appropriated and translated in different settings with different ontological and epistemological backgrounds, how they are being recreated and changed in the process, and how they generate new and reshape existing subjectivities. On a more practical level, the project aims to gain a deeper understanding of the dynamics and broader consequences of mental health interventions.

2. Wednesday 18 July, 9:00-11:00: 

How to make an argument?

Making an argument is one of the most important aims of academic writing. Yet, while this sounds easy is theory, it often turns out to be quite difficult in practice. The seminar will provide students with some guidelines on how to conceptualize and convincingly convey an argument in their theses. It also offers the opportunity for students to ask specific questions and share ideas and examples in relation to their own work. While there will be some input from the lecturer, the main format of the seminar is ‘dialogical’, therefore students are encouraged to actively participate.

3. Thursday 19 July, 9:00-11:00:

 Reviewing the Literature 

In academia, reviewing in a broader sense happens all the time: scholars review works of their students, colleagues, and fellow researchers. Reviewing is a central part of any publishing process. And a literature review is part of almost every form of academic writing. Thus, learning how to review the literature and how to summarize it in writing is crucial for any scholar. In this seminar, students will learn a few basic tricks and rules for writing a literature review. There will be plenty of opportunities to ask questions and share examples from their own current work.