"We had a lot of trouble with western mental health workers who came here immediately after the genocide and we had to ask some of them to leave.
They came and their practice did not involve being outside in the sun where you begin to feel better. There was no music or drumming to get your blood flowing again. There was no sense that everyone had taken the day off so that the entire community could come together to try to lift you up and bring you back to joy. There was no acknowledgement of the depression as something invasive and external that could actually be cast out again.
Instead they would take people one at a time into these dingy little rooms and have them sit around for an hour or so and talk about bad things that had happened to them. We had to ask them to leave."
~A Rwandan talking to a western writer, Andrew Solomon, about his experience with western mental health and depression.
From The Moth podcast, 'Notes on an Exorcism'.
I think the issue here is that Westerners (particularly Americans) live in such an atomised, individualistic culture that this sort of healing is alien to us. We also tend to live in the past (endlessly replaying what went wrong) or the future (worrying about what could go wrong) instead of the now. Though this "Mindfulness" idea which is everywhere now seems to be a way to change that - Buddhism with the God stuff taken out of it.