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Atkinson J, Kennedy D, Bowers R. Aboriginal and First Nations approaches to counselling. 2006.
Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://e-publications.une.edu.au/1959.11/8983
Aboriginal and First Nations approaches to counselling
Chapter 11, 'Aboriginal and First Nations approaches to counselling' by Judy Atkinson, Dwayne Kennedy, and Randolph Bowers, presents narratives of reflection that highlight three different and unique views of working in counselling in Indigenous contexts. Following the literature review by Nadine Pelting in the previous chapter, the current work takes a more personal voice and sits within a practice-based and culture-based awareness of what it means to each author to work, and to live, in the context of Indigenous issues and culture. The views presented are a welcome contribution to the counselling literature for a number of reasons. There is much rhetoric about inclusion, justice, and multicultural issues in the field. However, there could be more examples of creating space for, and valuing in real terms, the contributions of Indigenous people. Likewise, there is a very large body of literature on Indigenous issues across the fields of anthropology, sociology, medicine, health, psychology, and more recently in counselling, where many writers make comments about Indigenous people and Indigenous issues, and yet there is a sort of authored silence when it comes to hearing the perspectives of Indigenous social actors where their views are most needed. It is likely that the politics and political dynamics of professional systems encourage this lack of equity, and to take steps towards changing these circumstances requires concerted mutual efforts. Furthermore, the voices of the authors taken together suggest a great collective sharing of their experience in grappling with some of the cultural issues involved in applying Western European and colonial counselling theories and practices; in this case, in Aboriginal Australian and First Nations Canadian contexts. These 'voices from the field' are meant to encourage and challenge practitioners and students of counselling to look outside the rhetoric that often dominates professional discourse. In so doing, when we reach the threshold of truly appreciating cultural issues we will also begin to realise that some of our most prized theories or concepts of counselling need to change, and we need to change, in order to engage authentically in intercultural dialogue.