Finding the healing path : the therapeutic conditions of Aboriginal traditional healing

Thumbnail Image
McCabe, Glen Harvey
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Aboriginal people are engaged in a process of cultural reclamation that has become more focused, more widespread and more documented than ever before. With this has come controversy and discussion both inside and outside the Aboriginal community regarding the role, meaning and effectiveness of traditional healing. It was anticipated that Aboriginal traditional healing practices would incorporate many of the elements and traits normally associated with the major psychological intervention approaches being used currently by psychologists. This would include such elements as a theoretical foundation for intervention and assessment, intervention techniques, assessment techniques, a theory of human development, a definition of wellness and guidelines for ethical practice. The data included in the study was collected from personal experience of the researcher, literary works on the subject of traditional healing and Aboriginal experience and interviews conducted with healers and people who have been engaged in traditional healing as clients. Data was recorded and gathered in a style and method in keeping with the ethics of behaviour and the oral traditions in the Aboriginal community. Data was reviewed, analyzed and evaluated in the context of it being a reflection of the knowledge and experience of the people in the Aboriginal community and in the context that its ownership resides with the Aboriginal community. It was expected that the study would support the hypothesis that Aboriginal traditional healing has the necessary elements for therapeutic change to occur, and that it compared favourably to the major schools of psychotherapy in psychology including behaviourism, cognitive theory, humanism, and psychoanalysis. Sixty-nine different points that supported this assumption were gathered from the data and placed under twelve major clinical headings. The headings are spirituality, ceremonies and rituals, the Sacred Teachings, genuineness, role modeling, lessons of daily living, safety, acceptance and respect, empathic understanding, questions and answers, the inner and unknown self and readiness to change. These are presented and discussed in the report.