Indigenous Healing Psychology: Honoring the Wisdom of the First Peoples (Paperback)
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.
About the Author
Dedicated to the respectful exchange between Indigenous teachings about health and healing and mainstream Western psychology, Richard Katz received his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Harvard, where he taught for nearly 20 years. Over the past 50 years, Dr. Katz has spent time working with Indigenous elders and healers in various parts of the world, including the primarily hunting-gathering Ju/'hoansi of the Kalahari Desert, the Indigenous Fijians of the South Pacific, the Sicangu Lakota of Rosebud Reservation, and the Cree and Saulteaux First Nations people of Saskatchewan. At the request of the Indigenous elders he has worked with, he seeks to bring their teachings into contact with mainstream psychology. The aim is to encourage the mainstream to be more respectful of diversity, more committed to social action, and more appreciative of the spiritual dimension in health and healing. Dr. Katz has written 7 books on culture and healing. He is currently Professor Emeritus at First Nations University of Canada and Adjunct Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Saskatchewan. He lives in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada.
“A remarkable culmination of Katz’s invaluable life-long work with Indigenous healers, Indigenous Healing Psychology is a brilliant, groundbreaking work connecting psychology to its roots so it can more truly become a force for healing and social change. A genuine invitation to a breathtaking journey that is a rare treasure. Just what psychology so desperately needs.”
— Joan Borysenko, Ph.D., New York Times bestselling author
“A deeply honest book showing the greatest respect for Indigenous knowledge. You can see how our traditional Anishnabe teachings can offer a path to healing psychology. Indigenous Healing Psychology shows how psychology can finally begin to heal our people.”
— Danny Musqua, Anishnabe Elder, Keeseekoose First Nation
“Katz shares his extraordinary journey through world cultures and methods for inner and community work. Psychology will only be the better for encompassing such powerful Indigenous wisdom. This book is a mind-expanding gift to the reader, a well-researched offering to psychology, and a force for good.”
— Daniel Goleman, Ph.D., author of Emotional Intelligence
“Katz convincingly argues that the inclusion of Indigenous spiritual worldviews in mental health intervention and treatment will produce better client outcomes and better relationships among people no matter where they live. He offers the reader a profound challenge that is supported with Indigenous ways of knowing and living. His long-awaited book is beautifully crafted, clearly written, convincing, and logically organized--complete with a wealth of thought-provoking material written in a confident, authoritative voice. Anyone who carefully and thoughtfully studies these pages will come out a richer, well-informed person who will view spirit, the sacred, place, and connectedness through a discerning lens.”
— Joseph E. Trimble, Ph.D., distinguished professor of psychology at Western Washington University
Indigenous Healing Psychology presents a powerful and inspirational pedagogy into Western and Indigenous healing traditions; it offers valuable guideposts to ways we can all transform ourselves to meet the challenges of our fast-changing world.”
— Harvey Knight, Indigenous cultural advisor to the Regional Psychiatric Centre, Saskatoon
“Katz journeys into the heart of what psychology is and what it can be. He exposes the Western myopia that limits the espoused goal of psychology, i.e. understanding the human experience of mind, body, and our relationship to the world. His personal experiences of navigating formal psychology and his subsequent lessons learned from traditional healers point to the ignored facets of spirituality, humanism, culture, and community that cannot be separated from a truly holistic human psychology and healing.”
— Dennis Norman, Ed.D., ABPP, faculty chair of the Harvard University Native American Program
“This book is a must-read for all students of indigenous psychology. It teaches all the essentials. Consistent with the experiential focus of the wisdom tradition, Katz does not preach; he tells what he knows experientially. The reader is invited to join him on a personal journey that took him from the lecture halls of Harvard to paths in search of the healing wisdom of the Indigenous peoples. This account of Katz is testimonial to the possibility that doing research in Indigenous psychology is a spiritual journey that can be profoundly fulfilling and transformative for the reader as well.”
— Louise Sundararajan, Ph.D., Ed.D., fellow of the American Psychological Association
“In this engaging and excellent book, Katz gives the reader a foundation for understanding the quality and depth of Indigenous healing. He has learned from the elders to do it in the best possible way: by telling stories that illuminate complex concepts and make them relatable and usable.”
— Melinda A. García, Ph.D., author
“Indigenous Healing Psychology is a powerful, provocative, and enlivening book that, through Katz’s expansive and inspiring voice, offers psychology just what it needs to hear in order to fulfill its promise to be truly healing and equitable. I know from my own work as a psychologist and counselor that people are searching for precisely what Indigenous Healing Psychology offers. Celebrating diversity in all its myriad manifestations, this is a bold and exhilarating book.”
— Niti Seth, Ed.D., academic counselor at the Harvard University Bureau of Study Counsel
“Indigenous Healing Psychology is a fascinating look at the world of psychology as a discipline in need of healing. Katz traces the evolution of his encounters with some of the giants of psychology at Harvard as well as honored Indigenous healers in other cultures. This book is a major contribution to revisioning mainstream psychology by returning it to its fundamental commitments to diversity, cultural meanings, human potential, and social justice.”
— Stephen Murphy-Shigematsu, LifeWorks program of integrative learning at Stanford University