Indigenous mental health: Canadian Native counsellors' narratives.




Stewart, Suzanne L.

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A small yet growing body of literature recognizes the importance of a cultural perspective to mental health services for Canadian Indigenous clients. Although the role of culture has not been studied extensively in counselling psychology, a few investigators have attempted a systemic examination of the area. Using a narrative methodology, five Indigenous counsellors described their perceptions, beliefs and experiences regarding mental health and healing from an Indigenous perspective. A narrative analysis of the data employed story maps to yield within and across participant themes. Overall results included the metathemes of community, cultural identity, holistic approach, and interdependence as integral to mental health and healing for Native clients, with an illustration for counselling that contains specific elements for incorporating this conception into practice. The results are used to inform literature on an Indigenous paradigm of mental health, counsellor training programmes aimed at meeting Indigenous health needs, government policy, and to generate further direction for health research into the Indigenous paradigm in Canada and beyond.



mental health services, counselling, Songhees First Nation, training programmes