Curanderismo: A Phenomenological Methodological Study

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Purpose: The purpose of this study was to use a phenomenological methodological approach to understand the historical and sociocultural elements of Curanderismo. This study was also looking to discover how Curanderismo are used for treatment of mental health disorders.

Data Source: This study interviewed 8 curanderos in the southwest part of the United States. The research team was composed of four people, two of which were the authors of this study and two who were researchers. The first author was a bilingual, Mexican-American and the second author was a Venezuelan-born clinician and researcher. The other two members were psychologists that were experienced in dealing with qualitative research methods, such as the phenomenological
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They must have been in practice for more than 5 years.
They must have learned their ways directly from another curandero.
They must have given a treatment within the last five years, that way the information and methods were still fresh in their mind.
They must speak fluent Spanish.
They must have practiced in the Mexican-American Community The research team was very adamant on following this criteria because they were curious about understanding the ways of curanderismo in the Mexican-American culture. They began this study by creating an interview guide, one in Spanish and one in English. The questions were asked in an open-ended style to follow the phenomenological approach they were using. These nine questions were ones that the researchers felt the current literature did not cover very well. The questions were as followed:
Identify the important elements of their Curanderismo traditions and history
What does spirituality mean to you and how do is it in their forms of treatment?
What were your assessments?
What were the commonalities between the patients?
Which symptoms were the most severe?
Which symptoms were the least
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One of these weaknesses is that the sample size was extremely small. Only using eight curanderos doesn’t accurately represent an entire population. In order for them to have a complete understanding on the questions that were proposed, they would need to increase the sample size. A second weakness was that the researchers found these curanderos through word of mouth of each other. They chose one curandero to start the study, and got others from them. This creates a weakness because this is considered a sampling bias. Finally, another weakness that was apparent was that the questions were more focused on the history and methods they use for general illnesses, not for mental health, which was what the study was about.

Strengths: This study had few strengths. The major strength in this study was that they used open-ended questions when asking the participants. This allowed the participants to explain in as much detail as they wanted. This was helpful for the study because it gave the research a vast amount of data to work with. It helped them find the major tenets, major practices, and their worldview. Another strength was that they allowed to participants to answer in either Spanish or English, whichever they were more comfortable with. This allowed the participants to answer the questions with
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