Chapter 9 nonwestern idigenous methods of healing implications for counseling and therapy
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CHAPTER 9 NONWESTERN IDIGENOUS METHODS OF HEALING: IMPLICATIONS FOR COUNSELING AND THERAPY - PowerPoint PPT Presentation


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CHAPTER 9 NONWESTERN IDIGENOUS METHODS OF HEALING: IMPLICATIONS FOR COUNSELING AND THERAPY. INDIGENOUS HEALING GUIDELINES. 1. DO NOT INVALIDATE THE INDIGENOUS CULTURAL BELIEF SYSTEMS OF YOUR CULTURALLY DIVERSE CLIENTS.

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CHAPTER 9NONWESTERN IDIGENOUS METHODS OF HEALING: IMPLICATIONS FOR COUNSELING AND THERAPY


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INDIGENOUS HEALING GUIDELINES

  • 1. DO NOT INVALIDATE THE INDIGENOUS CULTURAL BELIEF SYSTEMS OF YOUR CULTURALLY DIVERSE CLIENTS.

  • On the surface, the assumptions of indigenous healing methods might appear radically different from our own. When we encounter them, we are often “shocked”, find such beliefs to be “unscientific” and are likely to negate, invalidate or dismiss them.

  • Such an attitude will have the effect of invalidating our clients as well, since these beliefs are central to their world view and reflect their cultural identity.


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INDIGENOUS HEALING GUIDELINES

  • 2. BECOME KNOWLEDGEABLE ABOUT INDIGENOUS BELIEFS AND HEALING PRACTICES.

    Counselors/therapists have a professional responsibility to become knowledgeable and conversant with the assumptions and practices of indigenous healing so that a “desensitization and normalization process” can occur.

    By becoming knowledgeable and understanding of indigenous helping approaches, the therapist will avoid equating differences with deviance!


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INDIGENOUS HEALING GUIDELINES

  • 3. LEARNING ABOUT INDIGENOUS HEALING AND BELIEFS ENTAIL EXPERIENTIAL OR LIVED REALITIES.

    While reading books about nonwestern forms of healing and attending seminars and lectures on the topic is valuable and helpful, understanding culturally different perspectives must be supplemented by lived experience.

    Even when we travel abroad, few of us actively place ourselves in situations which are unfamiliar because it evokes discomfort, anxiety and a feeling of differentness.


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INDIGENOUS HEALING GUIDELINES

  • 4. AVOID OVERPATHOLOGIZING AND UNDERPATHOLOGIZING A CULTURALLY DIFFERENT CLIENT’S PROBLEMS.

  • A therapist or counselor who is culturally unaware and who believes primarily in a universal psychology may oftentimes be culturally insensitive and inclined to see differences as deviance. They may be guilty of overpathologizing a culturally different client’s problems by seeing it as more severe and pathological than it truly may be.

  • There is a danger, however, of also underpathologizing a culturally different client’s symptoms as well. While being understanding of a client’s cultural context, having knowledge of culture-bound syndromes and being aware of cultural relativism are desirable, being oversensitive to these factors may predispose the therapist to minimize problems, thereby underpathologizing disorders.


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INDIGENOUS HEALING GUIDELINES

  • 5. BE WILLING TO SEEK THE CONSULTATION OF TRADITIONAL HEALERS AND/OR UTILIZE THEIR SERVICES.

  • Mental health professionals must be willing and able to form partnerships with indigenous healers or develop community liaisons.

  • Such an outreach has several advantages: (a) traditional healers may provide knowledge and insights into clients populations which would prove of value to the delivery of mental health services, (b) such an alliance will ultimately enhance the cultural credibility of therapists, and (c) it allows for referral to traditional healers (shamans, religious leaders, etc.) in which treatment is rooted in cultural traditions.


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INDIGENOUS HEALING GUIDELINES

  • 6. SPIRITUALITY MUST BE SEEN AS AN INTIMATE ASPECT OF THE HUMAN CONDITION AND A LEGITIMATE ASPECT OF MENTAL HEALTH WORK.

    Spirituality is a belief in a higher power which allows us to make meaning of life and the universe. It may or may not be linked to a formal religion, but there is little doubt that it is a powerful force in the human condition.

    Many groups accept the prevalence of spirituality in nearly all aspects of life; thus separating it from one’s existence is not possible.


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INDIGENOUS HEALING GUIDELINES

  • 7. HAVING THE ABILITY TO EXPAND OUR DEFINITION OF THE HELPING ROLE TO COMMUNITY WORK AND INVOLVEMENT.

  • More than anything else, indigenous healing is community oriented and focused. Culturally competent mental health professionals must begin to expand their definition of the helping role to encompass a greater community involvement.

  • The in-the-office setting is, oftentimes, nonfunctional in minority communities. Culturally sensitive helping requires making home visits, going to community centers, visiting places of worship and areas within the community. The types of help most likely to prevent mental health problems are building and maintaining healthy connections, with one’s family, one’s god(s), and one’s universe.


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INDIGENOUS HEALING IMPLICATIONS

  • It is clear that we live in a monocultural society; a society that invalidates and separates us from one another, from our spirituality and from the cosmos.

  • There is much wisdom in ancient forms of healing which stress that the road to mental health is through becoming united and in harmony with the universe.

  • Activities that promote these attributes involve community work. They include client advocacy and consultation, preventive education, developing outreach programs, becoming involved in systemic change and aiding in the formation of public policy that allows for equal access and opportunities for all.


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