Africana Journal Articles

Spirit Possession Among Secondary School Students In Karen-Nairobi, Kenya: Implications for Psycho-Spiritual Counselling Intervention


Spirit possession is as old as humanity and affects people irrespective of age, race, status and colour. Hence, cases of spirit possession among students in Kenyan secondary schools have been reported for some time now. As a result, this study examined the act of spirit possession among secondary school students in Karen-Nairobi, Kenya and also explored how psycho-spiritual counseling could be a way of intervention. The study was guided by the following objectives: To examine the self-concept of students who experience spirit possession; to explore academic performance of students who experience spirit possession; to explore the role of psycho-spiritual therapy in the management of spirit possession among secondary school students in Karen, Nairobi county. The study is grounded on two theories, namely; Spirit Release Therapy and Transactional Analysis Theory. The literature review provides evidence indicating that spirit possession is a common phenomenon in schools which among other things impact on students’ self-concept and academic performance. The research design used was quantitative technique and specifically descriptive survey method. The study sampled 182 participants comprising 167 students, 3 deputy principals and 12 teacher counselors. The researcher’s self-designed questionnaire vetted by supervisors was used to collect data and descriptive analysis such as percentage and frequencies were used to capture the participants’ responses to experiences of spirit possession and its influence on self-concept and academic performance. SPSS software package was employed to aid the analysis. As well, Pearson correlations analysis was conducted to explore if there were significant relationship between the variables of the study. Validity was ensured with the help of the researcher’s supervisors and researcher’s own reflection and peer scrutiny while reliability of instruments was tested through piloting. The findings of the study revealed that spirit possession adversely affects the possessed students’ self-concept by altering their self-image, self-value and self-acceptance, particularly in leading them to feelings of self-guilt including exhibition of multiple personality. Furthermore, the findings portrayed that experiences of spirit possession also impact on academic performance as students who are possessed by the spirit tend to not only perform poorly but sometimes distract school activities leading to closure of schools. Consequently, the study’s findings revealed that one of the dominant intervention strategies for managing experiences of spirit possession is through psycho-education, which psycho-spiritual therapists in conjunction with other healers are capable of providing. Thus, the study concluded that psycho-spiritual therapists play a crucial role in the treatment and healing of spirit possessed students. It is hoped that these findings will greatly inform all stakeholders including parents, students, teachers and the principals to greater understanding of the existence of spirit possession and the possibility of engaging the services of psycho-spiritual counsellors when need be. Therefore, the study recommends that the services of psycho-spiritual counsellors be consistently engaged in school, particularly in providing seminars, workshops and counselling itself in an attempt to assist students and school administrators manage the experiences of spirit possession whenever such emerges.


Spirit Possession among students - Kenya