Prof. Lourie Terblanche

Name
Prof. Lourie Terblanche
Degree
PhD
Company
University of Pretoria
Presentation Title
EAP Intervention: Exploring an Afrocentric paradigm, the Harmony Restoration Therapy
Content Focus Area
Individual Level
Mental Illness
Biographical information related to the topic
Prof Terblanche is employed at the University of Pretoria since 1987. He is the programme manager for the masters in EAPs and responsible for short courses in the EAP and wellness. A total number of 84 master’s and 10 doctoral students graduated under his supervision.

He served on the EAPA-SA Board as member and president. As a NRF- rated researcher he presented numerous papers at conferences, both nationally and internationally.

Abstract
Employee Assistance Professionals often encounter clients in need of clinical intervention. This could be in form of clinical services like Critical Incident Management (Psychological First Aid (PFA)), Crisis Intervention or Case Management which could be short or long term therapeutic intervention and so forth. When such requests arise, the preferred and available treatment of choice for most EAP advisors is the Solution Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT) which has as its core, solution focused not problematising presenting issues. The SFBT as an intervention tool seems to have proven effective overtime with a plethora of confirmatory studies empirically alluding to its efficacy. Irrespective of these impressive outcome studies, most African clients appear unsettled even when their presenting problem has been effectively resolved during therapy using SFBT. This unsettledness could principally result from the client not having had all aspects of his/her world in harmony during therapy. It could also be as a consequent of the therapy procedure not addressing the core of the African personality which is a desire to be at peace with his/her world.

The behaviour of the African is largely determined by his/her harmonious relationship with the components of his cosmos or world. The African is largely cosmocentric and any presence of disharmony or disruption of the relationship between the individual and his cosmos brings about illness or destabilisation in the African. This is because mental health issues from an African perspective are either externally or internally caused and these issues could be socially, environmentally, demonically, ancestrally or even spiritually influenced (Ebigbo, 1989, 2001; Igbokwe & Ndom, 2008; Igbokwe, 2014). Hence, to assist the African client, it is important not only to focus on solving the presenting issue during therapy but to also ensure that the client is in harmony with components of his/her cosmos following the HRT paradigm. The HRT has as its core tenet that, “he that is at peace with his world does not fall sick.” From the HRT perspective, the components of the cosmos are the endocosmos, which represents the relationship between the individual and him/herself, the mesocosmos, which represents the relationship between the individual and his/her significant others and the exocosmos, which represents the relationship between the individual and other higher beings that he/she reveres. The HRT synchronises these dimensions and allows for psychotherapy integration.

Parallels of the HRT concept depicting the need for the African client to maintain harmony exist in many African cultures, traditions, folktales, proverbs, mores and so forth. For instance, the Ubuntu philosophy, “I am because we are” is a principal reflection of the need for harmony. The crux of this presentation is to highlight the need for counselling during EAP clinical service provision to have a tinge of “Africanness” in its Western construction. Hence, the emic explanation of African mental health issues and the resolvability of same through an admixture of both paradigms should be the principal EAP counselling pursuit for the overall benefit of the client and organisation.

Session Description
EAP advisors prefer the Solution Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT) when they encounter clients in need of clinical intervention. The SFBT has proven effective overtime with a plethora of confirmatory studies empirically alluding to its efficacy. However, for some African clients, SFBT does not seem to be enough because the behaviour of the African is largely determined by his/her harmonious relationship with the components of his cosmos or world. Hence, there is need to have a tinge of “Africanness” in EAP intervention by integrating other indigenous psychotherapies like the Harmony Restoration Therapy (HRT) with SFBT for better outcome.
Learning Objective 1
Attendees will be exposed to the personality attributes of the African and the need to explore the integration of Psychotherapy methods in EAP intervention.
Audience Level
Intermediate