Similarities Between Traditional Indigenous Healing Methods and Western Healing Methods

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Walker, Shannon
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Western counselling methods derive from the European medical model which was constructed to serve Western individuals. People from non-Western cultures may require culturally-adapted counselling/psychotherapy for effective treatment. This paper suggests that other methods such as Traditional Indigenous Healing (TIH) have allowed for culturally sensitive ways of healing that have been passed down for thousands of years. Healing from a Western perspective focuses on the problem at hand (diagnostic-disease model of mental health), whereas TIH considers multimodal aspects during treatment. Western methods have funded empirical evidence supporting that cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and dialectic behaviour therapy (DBT) are effective for the treatment of various types of mental illness and states of mental duress. Alternatively, TIH is knowledge that is passed down orally through generations by knowledge keepers. The learning is done in the wilderness where the healer in training can align their spirit with the Creator and Mother Nature, while they have the privilege of earning the powers of healing. Due to the lack of written documentation and lack of research within academia, TIH is not viewed as a credible treatment for mental illness or mental duress in Western society. This paper will explore TIH, CBT and DBT while analysing similarities between TIH and Western methods. The goal of this paper is to highlight overlaps between Western and TIH methods and allow for more informed cultural awareness for Indigenous cultures, making counsellors more prepared to support Indigenous clients without the client having to obtain mental health treatment through culturally incongruent interventions.
western , indigenous , healing , methodology , common factors
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