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PSYCHOHAIRAPY— A HOLISTIC APPROACH TO MENTAL HEALTH INSPIRED BY NATURAL HAIR CARE PRACTICES

Solange Knowles/ Captured by Roger Kisby

Solange Knowles/ Captured by Roger Kisby

Health and wellness are not trending topics. We live in a time wherein which people are becoming more aware of their environment and their relationship to it—from eco-friendly designs and sustainable furniture, down to the foods they consume and chemicals their bodies are ingesting.

The fact is: Old habits are hard to break. As we move away from harmful habits that affect our health and the planet, we find ourselves discovering our authentic selves. The natural hair movement is testimony. Black women and men, whose textures and styles are diverse and vary, are experiencing a shift in mental and physical health. Embracing a more authentic look promotes self-care as well as health care according to an ongoing study.

Utilizing 10 years of quantittative and qualitive data, Dr. Afiya Mbilishaka, along with her research team, has been able to develop her theory of PsychoHairapy. Analyzing the effects of long-standing standards of beauty via popular African-American magazine covers and exploring practical counseling techniques for beauticians and barbers, Dr. Mbilishaka is not only asking deep-rooted questions but seeking viable solutions. PsychoHairapy aims to explain the role of hair in identity development, describes the role of hair from the spectrum of psychological injuries to wholistic health practices, and predicts positive relationships between an emotionally supportive hair environment and optimal mental health outcomes for clients.

Dr. Mbilishaka’s findings have been presented at various conferences, workshops and beauty shops across the country. She continues to address the role of hair as an entry point into wholistic health practices within a cultural-historical context.

For more information about PsychoHairapy or how to participate, click here.

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