Indigenous Healing Psychology
Honoring the Wisdom of the First Peoples
Connecting modern psychology to its Indigenous roots to enhance the healing process and psychology itself
• Shares the healing wisdom of Indigenous people the author has worked with, including the Ju/’hoansi of the Kalahari Desert, the Fijians of the South Pacific, Sicangu Lakota people, and Cree and Anishnabe First Nations people
• Explains how Indigenous perspectives can help create a more effective model of best practices in psychology
• Explores the vital role of spirituality in the practice of psychology and the shift of emphasis that occurs when one understands that all beings are interconnected
Wherever the first inhabitants of the world gathered together, they engaged in the human concerns of community building, interpersonal relations, and spiritual understanding. As such these earliest people became our “first psychologists.” Their wisdom lives on through the teachings of contemporary Indigenous elders and healers, offering unique insights and practices to help us revision the self-limiting approaches of modern psychology and enhance the processes of healing and social justice.
Reconnecting psychology to its ancient roots, Richard Katz, Ph.D., sensitively shares the healing wisdom of Indigenous peoples he has worked with, including the Ju/’hoansi of the Kalahari Desert, Fijians native to the Fiji Islands, Lakota people of the Rosebud Reservation, and Cree and Anishnabe First Nations people from Saskatchewan. Through stories about the profoundly spiritual ceremonies and everyday practices he engaged in, he seeks to fulfill the responsibility he was given: build a foundation of reciprocity so Indigenous teachings can create a path toward healing psychology. Also drawing on his experience as a Harvard-trained psychologist, the author reveals how modern psychological approaches focus too heavily on labels and categories and fail to recognize the benefits of enhanced states of consciousness.
Exploring the vital role of spirituality in the practice of psychology, Katz explains how the Indigenous approach offers a way to understand challenges and opportunities, from inside lived truths, and treat mental illness at its source. Acknowledging the diversity of Indigenous approaches, he shows how Indigenous perspectives can help create a more effective model of best practices in psychology as well as guide us to a more holistic existence where we can once again assume full responsibility in the creation of our lives.