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ERIC Number: ED521149
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 301
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1242-9354-7
Walking the Worlds: The Experience of Native Psychologists in Their Doctoral Training and Practice
Elliott, S. Auguste
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, Fielding Graduate University
American Indian and Alaska Native psychologists are in demand. They hold promise to meet the mental health needs of tribal and urban Indian communities by bridging Native worldview and the Euro-American stance of psychology in assessing, designing, and delivering mental health services to Native peoples. Individual stories of Native psychologists have not been a primary source in designing education and training in professional psychology. This study examined the interview narratives of 10 American Indian and Native identified psychologists in order to discover guidance for educators and inspiration for a new generation. The analysis sought to parallel the presumed experience of participants in managing multiple worldviews. Findings were produced first using the descriptive phenomenological method (Giorgi, 2009) and secondly using the listening guide methodology (Gilligan, Spencer, Weinberg, & Bertsch, 2003), as guided by decolonization theory. Similarities and contrasts in the two sets of results are discussed in dialogue with the multidisciplinary literature of American Indian and other Native scholars. Common to both sets of findings was an altruistic motive to graduate school; the impact of mentors, though type of mentor varied; and learning challenges ranging from neurobiological to paradigmatic. The listening guide and decolonization frame found a contextual factor for the doctoral experience in the participants' anticipation of returning home to Indian Country. Traditional spiritual practice was also voiced as a critical resource. Contrasting, but not necessarily conflicting, descriptive phenomenological findings focused on the experience of "getting through" doctoral education. The cultural interface, the place between Indian Country and Western or Euro-American psychology, was a source of conflict and complement in both sets of findings. Historical trauma was an everyday experience in this place between. The Native doctoral student's identity could be strengthened or threatened by the dissonance between Indigenous and Western worldview they experienced in studying psychology. The possibility of true cultural exchange, however, in which Indigenous psychology would be considered, was also present. In the interviews, participants were asked to give a message to the next generation of Native psychologists. Those responses are presented as oral history, a third set of findings. Some possible implications for educators in doctoral psychology are discussed. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A