Integrating mainstream counselling approaches with First Nations healing practices for First Nations clients healing from sexual abuse
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This article is based on a research practicum that integrated traditional First Nations healing practices and western-style therapies to provide a guide to healing from sexual abuse for First Nations clients. Residential schools and the sixties scoop eras have subjected generations of indigenous children to physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual abuse. First Nations people tend not to use the mental health services provided by the mainstream culture, and out of those who do, approximately 50% stop going after the first session (Twigg & Hengen, 2009). McCabe (2008) stated that indigenous clients leave counselling disappointed, because they feel that the western therapist did not understand them. The clients were seeking healing which interconnects all the aspects of the individual. The research informing this article was also completed in part to recognize the Calls to Action by the Truth and Reconciliation report (2015) which includes the recognition of the value of aboriginal healing practices and using them in the treatment of aboriginal patients. Having a knowledgeable Elder available to fulfill the requests of indigenous clients is also included in the calls to action. Hartman and Gone (2012) stated that relearning and participating in traditional and cultural First Nations ways was an essential part of healing. With the integration of healing approaches, it is possible to work towards healing from sexual abuse and interrupt the cycles of abuse.