Research by psychologists and other mental health professionals tries to identify effective ways to manage and prevent emotional turbulence, including depression.  Travel has become more widely accepted as contributory towards psychological transformation. Tourism can be argued as a modulated form of pilgrimage, with traditional journeys of faith overlapping with instances of entirely secular tourism. Pilgrimage can be looked at as a therapeutic practice for those suffering from depressive disorders and related conditions. Because interventions may blend multiple techniques, aspects of traditional Western pilgrimages now encompass more than religious activities and traditional beliefs. New definitions acknowledge that individuals can craft their own versions of the pilgrimage out of personal belief systems. Embarking on journeys long and short can provide temporary relief from stress and upsets brought about by internal and external conflicts.  This study offers an in-depth explanation of how new forms and interpretations of travel can be deployed as self-monitored therapy for anxiety or depressive episodes. Even so, pilgrimage, whether secular or religious, is not the first line of defense for mental health issues. Pilgrimage is not a
panacea but only part of a complementary approach.

Western notions of pilgrimage produce images of religious adherence to known beliefs and their ritual expressions. Definitions of pilgrimage have expanded in recent decades to embrace treks to sites unattached to the sacred landscapes of traditional faith groups. Pilgrimage can be a therapeutic practice for those suffering from depressive disorders and related conditions. Its efficacy as therapy, along with its limits, are discussed in clinical and personal contexts with a view to including religious as well as secular perspectives. In this study, the pragmatics of such therapy are mapped against current trends in treatment.

Read the full article: