ERIC Number: ED438114
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1998-Apr-20
Native American Indians and the Counseling Process: Culture, Adaptation, and Style.
Skouras, Thomas J.
Native Americans constitute a significant population that is growing and has great need for mental health and counseling services. Social problems in Native communities include high rates of alcoholism, alcohol-related deaths, drug use, youth suicide, and sexually transmitted diseases. Despite their mental health needs, Native Americans are seriously underserved by the mental health professions, particularly psychology. Given the shortage of Native psychologists and counselors, non-Native counselors will be serving Native Americans and should have a basic understanding of their history, present status, and general ideas about traditional healing. However, the Native American population is extremely varied. A major variable is an individual's level of traditionalism versus acculturation to mainstream American society. Some Native ideas about traditional healing include the importance of a harmonious relationship with all of creation, emphasis on spirituality, and a holistic approach that mobilizes family and community to support the individual. Suggested approaches and strategies include providing a counseling orientation at the first session that explains the mutual responsibilities of counselor and client, maintaining trustworthiness, learning about tribal background, avoiding insight-oriented therapies, focusing on behaviors rather than emotional states, being aware of subtle verbal and nonverbal components of communication, visiting the client's home, collaborating with traditional healers, and using self-help and mutual support groups. (Contains 35 references.) (SV)
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A