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A self‐heuristic inquiry: Unpacking the use of “Decolonization” in therapy and mental health care with and for racialized communities

A self‐heuristic inquiry: Unpacking the use of “Decolonization” in therapy and mental health care... As a registered psychotherapist and art therapist, my clinical training was primarily based on North American clinical approaches influenced by traditional Euro and western‐centric clinical theories of human behavior. I completed my training feeling certain that traditional clinical mental health practices were not an appropriate fit for racialized communities and could have negative implications for their healing and well‐being. As clinicians, it is our moral obligation to support and enhance the quality of life for marginalized groups. We can do this by challenging our values and knowledge that have been defined and influenced by structures (i.e., education, training, etc.) embedded in these colonial teachings. For this paper, I used a heuristic self‐inquiry research method to investigate these concerns. I interviewed other racialized psychotherapists practicing in Turtle Island (currently mostly occupied by the political entities of Canada and the United States) with the aim to learn how and if decolonization can be used in therapy practice. With this research, I (1) identified a gap in care for racialized communities, (2) questioned if or how a decolonizing approach to care should be considered, (3) explored my discomfort with practitioners in the field that claim their position on decolonizing therapy, practice, and approaches, and lastly (4) propose other ways of knowing that can inform new ways of practicing therapy. The results of this research helped to problematize the language and use of decolonizing therapeutic practices while learning about other concepts that may be relevant yet distinct, such as principles of coloniality/decoloniality. Those of us, therapists or researchers, wanting to disrupt the current practice of therapy need to work together, share knowledge, and challenge each other, so that we can transform the way we practice as psychotherapists. This paper is my contribution to this conversation. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png American Journal of Community Psychology Wiley

A self‐heuristic inquiry: Unpacking the use of “Decolonization” in therapy and mental health care with and for racialized communities

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Publisher
Wiley
Copyright
© 2023 Society for Community Research and Action.
ISSN
0091-0562
eISSN
1573-2770
DOI
10.1002/ajcp.12657
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

As a registered psychotherapist and art therapist, my clinical training was primarily based on North American clinical approaches influenced by traditional Euro and western‐centric clinical theories of human behavior. I completed my training feeling certain that traditional clinical mental health practices were not an appropriate fit for racialized communities and could have negative implications for their healing and well‐being. As clinicians, it is our moral obligation to support and enhance the quality of life for marginalized groups. We can do this by challenging our values and knowledge that have been defined and influenced by structures (i.e., education, training, etc.) embedded in these colonial teachings. For this paper, I used a heuristic self‐inquiry research method to investigate these concerns. I interviewed other racialized psychotherapists practicing in Turtle Island (currently mostly occupied by the political entities of Canada and the United States) with the aim to learn how and if decolonization can be used in therapy practice. With this research, I (1) identified a gap in care for racialized communities, (2) questioned if or how a decolonizing approach to care should be considered, (3) explored my discomfort with practitioners in the field that claim their position on decolonizing therapy, practice, and approaches, and lastly (4) propose other ways of knowing that can inform new ways of practicing therapy. The results of this research helped to problematize the language and use of decolonizing therapeutic practices while learning about other concepts that may be relevant yet distinct, such as principles of coloniality/decoloniality. Those of us, therapists or researchers, wanting to disrupt the current practice of therapy need to work together, share knowledge, and challenge each other, so that we can transform the way we practice as psychotherapists. This paper is my contribution to this conversation.

Journal

American Journal of Community PsychologyWiley

Published: Mar 28, 2023

Keywords: clinical training; community‐based learning; decolonization versus decoloniality; mental health; racialized communities; therapy practices

References