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International Journal of Research and Innovation in Social Science (IJRISS) |Volume VI, Issue X, October 2022|ISSN 2454-6186

Ethnopsychological Meaning of the Symptomatology of War Psychotrauma in Traditional Africa

 Guy-Bertrand Ovambe Mbarga
Department of Philosophy and Psychology, University of Maroua, Center for Psychological Research RAPHA-Psy, RAPHA-Psy Psychology Foundation, Cameroon

IJRISS Call for paper

Abstract: The thesis statement of this research is the ethnopsychological meaning of the symptomatology of war psychotrauma in traditional Africa. Here, the individual is considered as a person with four principles in. The purpose of the study is to understand the meaning of the signs and symptoms of war psychotrauma in traditional Africa. The research used the clinical method which is based on the natural observation of facts. It refers to the totality of situations, to the singularity of individuals, to the concrete aspect of situations, to their dynamics, to their genesis and to their meaning. The data were collected through semi-structured interviews with five psycho-traumatized war soldiers. The results show that the psychotraumatic symptomatology is the expression of an attack on the fundamental psychic principles. It concerns the violation of the biophysiological principle, which is similar to the avoidance and revival syndromes; impairment of the vital principle which is akin to neurophysiological syndrome; of breaking in of the spiritual principle which is similar to dissociative symptoms. The study allowed the development of the cultural theoretical model of war psychotrauma from the approach of the conflict of relation of Sow.

Keywords: African psychopathology; symptomatology; post-traumatic stress disorder; cultural signifying

Résumé: L’article aborde la symptomatologie du psychotraumatisme de guerre en Afrique traditionnelle. Ici, l’individu est considéré comme personne-personnalité. L’objectif de l’étude a été de comprendre les signes et les symptômes du psychotraumatisme de guerre à partir des signifiants culturels. La recherche a utilisé la méthode clinique. Les données ont été collectées à travers des entretiens semi-directifs chez cinq soldats psychotraumatisés de guerre. Les résultats montrent que la symptomatologie psychotraumatique est l’expression d’une atteinte des éléments constitutifs de la personne-personnalité. Il s’agit de l’atteinte du principe biophysiologique, qui s’apparente aux syndromes d’évitement et de reviviscence; de l’atteinte du principe vital qui s’apparente au syndrome neurophysiologique ; de l’atteinte du principe spirituel qui s’apparente aux symptômes dissociatifs. L’étude a permis l’élaboration du modèle théorique culturel du psychotraumatisme de guerre à partir de l’approche du conflit de relation de Sow.

Mots clés: Psychopathologie africaine ; symptomatologie ; trouble de stress post-traumatique ; signifiants culturels.


At the beginning of the studies of the symptomatology of psychic trauma, Freud (1920) noted that signs and symptoms of traumatic neurosis are similar to the hysteria by the richness of motor symptoms. Trauma is the manifestation of a pronounced disorganization of the psyche Likewise, the