An Ethnopsychiatric Study of Ecstasy and Healing in Nepal
Dr. Larry Peters is an internationally acclaimed scholar and an initiated shaman. Tamang Shamans is a “unique contribution” to the psychology and anthropology of shamanism. To be more precise, it is an ethnopsychiatric analysis of the practices and trance-steps of the Tamang shamans of Nepal.
With his ingenious research, Dr. Peters here opens new frontiers of ancient wisdom by demonstrating the shaman’s role in Tamang segment of Nepalese society as analogous to the psychotherapist’s role in the contemporary western world. The book opens with an examination of Tamang shamanism in a cross-cultural perspective and in the process explores the ethnographic setting of the Tamang culture in context of Nepalese society.
In the course of his research, Dr. Peters employs traditional participant-observer method as well as an experiential approach in which he undertook a Tamang shaman apprenticeship. The practices of curing and being cured are explored in detail. The Tamang shamans of Nepal function as community psychotherapists, treating a wide range of symptoms by redressing social conflicts and as “training analysis” in relation to their disciples. The master shaman’s procedures in both instances are compared to concepts and techniques prevalent in the contemporary psychiatry in order to account for their psychotherapeutic effectiveness.