Defense Date


Graduation Date

Summer 2007


Immediate Access

Submission Type


Degree Name



Counselor Education and Supervision (ExCES)


School of Education

Committee Chair

Lisa Lopez Levers

Committee Member

Emma C. Mosley

Committee Member

William J. Casile


collaboration with indigenous healers, counselors in Botswana, incorporating cultural practices, indigenous cultural practices, interconnectedness and wellbeing, utilizing cultural practices


The primary purpose of this qualitative study was to identify and examine the ways in which and the extent to which counselors in Botswana incorporate and utilize indigenous cultural practices and structures in counseling. This applied research involved interviewing 30 counselors from different parts of Botswana. Data collection was through a semi-structured interview guide while audiotaping was the main method of recording the interviews. The study showed that while counselors in Botswana appreciate the need to utilize indigenous cultural practices and structures, they rarely incorporate cultural practices into counseling. In addition, the study revealed that most counselors have limited knowledge and skills on how to how to handle indigenous cultural beliefs of clients. The data showed that the deficiencies in counselor education curriculum and the negative attitudes towards indigenous cultural practices and healing systems contribute significantly to their limited utilization by counselors. Furthermore, counselor training inadequately prepares counselors on how to respond in a culturally appropriate manner. Most importantly, the colonial legacy, postcolonial government's apathy towards indigenous culture, and missionary and post-missionary teachings against indigenous cultural practices have resulted in negative attitudes towards indigenous cultural practices and methods. These influences contribute to Batswana's introjections of Western values, and perceived superiority of Western interventions. Paradoxically, although counselors had positive views about the inherent power, influence, and superiority of indigenous healers in handling indigenous religious and cultural beliefs, they had misgivings concerning working with healers. It is clear from the findings of this study that most counselors generally involve the extended family network as a means of helping the client establish a support system, and as a way of facilitating reconnecting with other family members for security, compassion, and care. This study revealed the need for counselors' cultural grounding, and to respond appropriately to the belief systems and psychosocial problems of clients in Botswana's collectivistic cultural context. By embracing the indigenous cultural practices, counselors would be taking a positive step towards facilitating a more fruitful dialogue with indigenous practitioners, widely used by many Batswana. Collaboration between counselors and indigenous healers may reduce suspicion and improve communication between the two groups.