Many Nigerians Suffering “undiagnosed, untreated psycho-trauma”: Catholic Priest

Fr. George Ehusani, delivering his presentation during the 2022 National Scientific Conference of the Nigerian Association of Industrial and Organizational Psychologists. Credit: Nigeria Catholic Network

Many Nigerians are suffering psycho-trauma that remains “undiagnosed and untreated”, a Catholic Priest in the West African nation has said. 

In his presentation during the 2022 National Scientific Conference of the Nigerian Association of Industrial and Organizational Psychologists that was published Wednesday, November 30, Fr. George Ehusani said that the “many maladaptive behaviors and psychopathologies” witnessed in Nigeria are a result of “heavy burdens of widespread undiagnosed and untreated intergenerational and personal psycho-trauma.”

A major part of the 62 years of Nigeria’s independence, has been characterised by suffering, pain, distress, and outrightly traumatising experiences for individuals, families, and communities,” Fr. Ehusani said in his presentation that the Nigeria Catholic Network (NCN) published.

The Nigerian Catholic Priest who founded the Psycho-Spiritual Institute (PSI), a Catholic entity that specializes in psycho-trauma healing, added that a series of “negative or adverse experiences unleashed upon successive generations of Nigerians which often overwhelm our capacity to cope (that is technically referred to as psycho-trauma), have left their toll on the individual and corporate psyche of multiple generations of Nigerians.”

It is estimated that over 80 percent of Nigerians have been exposed to one form of traumatic stress or the other in the cause of their lives,” Fr. Ehusani disclosed during his presentation on November 28. 


He added, “No wonder we hear the expression these days, that ‘Nigeria has happened to him!’ or ‘Nigeria has happened to her!’” 

He said that he found it regrettable that those who are victims of the disorder are unaware and have lived with it “undiagnosed”.

“Executive lawlessness and widespread impunity came to characterize governance at all levels in Nigeria, leaving numerous individuals, families, and communities traumatized, and their trauma experiences have hardly been acknowledged, let alone treated,” Fr. Ehusani said.

The member of the Clergy of Nigeria’s Lokoja Diocese further said, “What is more instructive is that perhaps some of the more traumatized persons among us are the very ones who catapulted themselves into positions of political power and economic influence.”

These influential persons, he went on to say, “have consistently unleashed their trauma on the helpless population, and seem determined to sink the ship of the state entirely.”

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He continued, “We are all bearing and having to struggle with one or more forms of traumatic stress that the Nigerian state is constantly unleashing on its citizens.”

In the efforts to address the issue of trauma among leaders in the country, the Nigerian Priest underlined the need for mandatory psychiatric evaluation for presidential and gubernatorial candidates ahead of the 2023 elections.

He also advocated for “a national campaign that is aimed at making our public and private institutions more trauma-informed.”

The founder of PSI said that for the political campaign to hold, it “must start from sensitizing professionals in the psychological sciences themselves since they are the ones that can more easily sell the idea to the rest of society.”

In reaching out to the entire Nigerian society, Fr. Ehusani said, “Organizational and Industrial Psychologists must begin to approach their work with a keen awareness of and sensitivity to the trauma that practically everyone in the public and private workplace may be silently and often unknowingly struggling with.”


Through PSI, which was established in 2012 by the Lux Terra Leadership Foundation in collaboration with Mission Aachen, the Nigerian Priest said that experts in Psycho-Spiritual Therapy and Christian Counseling are being trained.

“My organization, the PSI of Lux Terra Leadership Foundation, has over the last six years been actively engaged in this critical area,” he said.

Fr. Ehusani added, “In collaboration with the Department of Psychology, Nasarawa State University, Keffi, we regularly run short but intensive training courses in psycho-trauma awareness and basic skills, tools, and resources for psycho-trauma healing.”

PSI is a response to “an urgent need” to offer professional psychological and spiritual care to the increasing number of Clergy, women, and men Religious, and lay pastoral agents who now and again find themselves in difficult life situations of an emotional and psychological nature, “but who often do not find adequate support”, according to information provided on the institute’s website.

While PSI is a short course, Lux Terra Leadership Foundation, on the other hand, offers a two-year Master’s program for experts who graduate and psychotherapists. 

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Since its inception in 2012, seven cohorts have already graduated from the Master’s Program, which is now offered at the Nairobi-based Marist International University College, a Catholic institution of higher learning affiliated with the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA). 

Apart from Nairobi, Lux Terra Leadership Foundation also has offices in the Archdiocese of Abuja, Nigeria.

Silas Mwale Isenjia is a Kenyan journalist with a great zeal and interest for Catholic Church related communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Linguistics, Media and Communication from Moi University in Kenya. Silas has vast experience in the Media production industry. He currently works as a Journalist for ACI Africa.