From Affliction to Affirmation: NarrativE Transformation and the Therapeutics of Candomblé Mediumship

Rebecca Seligman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

26 Scopus citations


Through the presentation and analysis of a prototypical mediumship narrative, this article shows how individuals initiated into the Candomblé religion of north-eastern Brazil come to alter their own self-narratives by learning and internalizing the cultural model for an established social/religious role: that of the medium. As individuals come to identify with this ‘role model,’ they are able to reinterpret their own life histories in terms of the model's structure and its symbolic content. This article also demonstrates how the social articulation and cognitive internalization of this new self-narrative act therapeutically, to foster a positive transformation in self-understanding that facilitates positive behavior.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)272-294
Number of pages23
Journaltranscultural psychiatry
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2005



  • Brazil
  • mental health
  • religious healing
  • self-identity
  • spirit possession

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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