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Article   |    
Clinical Perspectives on the Rastafari Movement
Frederick W. Hickling; Ezra E. H. Griffith
Psychiatric Services 1994; doi:
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Psychotherapy Associates, Connolley House, 23 Connolley Ayenue, Kingston, 4, Jamaica; University of the West Indies

Connecticut Mental Health Center; Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut

1994 by the American Psychiatric Association

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Abstract

Members of the Rastafari movement, which originated in Jamaica, are found in the Caribbean and in parts of the United States and Europe with a large Afro-Caribbean population. To help mental health professionals serve members of this group more effectively, the authors review literature on the movement and present clinical case examples with analyses and recommendations for interventions. The Rastafari movement is both a political and a religious group with a life-style that includes the wearing of dreadlock hairstyles and the sacramental use of marijuana. The group also advocates opposition to traditional government and support members' repatriation to Africa. Clinicians involved in caring for Rastafari are encouraged to make diagnoses based on phenomenological grounds rather than on social behavior. Many blacks who became engaged in the antithetical transformation to membership in the Rastafari movement may be attempting to resolve racial, religious, class, and gender conflicts. The Rastafari movement may provide an affirmation of black identity and a moral framework for black people emerging from centuries of slavety, colonization, and oppression.

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