When a person encounters misfortune in Africa, the initial response is most often pragmatic. Before visiting a diviner, both traditional African and Western medicines are tried. A diviner will be consulted in order to identify the cause of the problem only if the patient is not healed. Divination continues to thrive despite the influences of Western medicine in contemporary African society. Unlike Western biomedical notions that reduce human health to pathological matters, many Africans define their entire identity in relation to external elements. As a result, Western-based evaluations that ignore the relationship between the patient and the rest of society are often perceived as being insufficient. The holistic approach of many African religious and healing systems searches for both social and physical causes of illness. Resulting treatments often prescribe communal healing ceremonies that place the afflicted individual at the center of communal support and provide herbal and chemical treatments.