20 Ways To Facilitate Indigenous Healing, Part 1

2007_0118walpole01151-220x164Some of you will know I also run the Sharing Culture website, which focuses on Indigenous healing. Today, I thought I would upload the same blog onto both websites. My action reflects the importance I attach to this area.

Society has the knowledge to facilitate Indigenous healing. This knowledge comes from individuals who have overcome great adversity and undergone a healing process (the lived solution); successful Indigenous healing initiatives, and scientific research demonstrating key principles underlying healing.

Sadly, however, this knowledge is neither disseminated well, nor implemented enough by government and health care, social welfare and criminal justice systems. As a result, society is not helping Indigenous people improve their health and wellbeing to the level it should.

In this and forthcoming blogs, I shall briefly describe 20 ways to facilitate Indigenous healing. Here are the first five.

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Recovery and recovery-based care

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”
Margaret Mead, US cultural anthropologist

2007_0118walpole0118Here’s a little section I wrote for a book I am working on.

1. The Problems
Substance use problems represent a major concern in society today. These problems do not just arise from use of illegal drugs, but also from alcohol, solvents and addictive prescription drugs. They are intimately tied up with, and can be caused by, social, emotional and/or mental health problems. A person’s substance use problems impacts negatively on the wellbeing of family members and other loved ones.

Far too few people are recovering from the problems caused by drugs and alcohol, in large part because of shortcomings in the systems of care that society has developed. Many people circulate in and out of treatment, and much of the treatment system has become disempowering and lacking in hope.

The prejudice and stigma that exists in society towards individuals and families affected by substance use problems is also a strong barrier to recovery.

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‘Hope and Recovery: Part 1’ by Pat Deegan

lighthouse_01‘Hope is important to recovery because hopelessness and biological life are incompatible (Seligman). When faced with adversity, human beings need hope in order to overcome. Mental health professionals can contribute to hopefulness for recovery or they can convey hopeless messages which are toxic and soul killing.

When I was diagnosed with schizophrenia at the age of 17, my psychiatrist told me that I had a disease called schizophrenia and that I would be sick for the rest of my life. He told me that I would have to take high dose haloperidol for the rest of my life. He said, I should retire from life and avoid stress.

I have come to call my psychiatrist’s pronouncement a “prognosis of doom”. He was condemning me to a life of handicaptivity wherein I was expected to take high dose neuroleptics, avoid stress, retire from life and I was not even 18 years old!

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Strategies to Face Adversity: Role Models

Role models were important to many participants and played a major role in many individuals being able to face and overcome the many adversities they had to face during their lives.

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Recovery as an organising construct – Bill White interviews Larry Davidson

UnknownI have just been reading a Bill White interview of Larry Davidson – the two people who have most impacted on my work – and I was very interested by Larry’s response to these two questions about the mental health field. What is said is of course highly relevant to the addiction field.

Bill White: How is the emergence of recovery as a new organizing paradigm changing the design and delivery of mental health services in the United States?

Larry Davidson: I think the biggest change that the recovery paradigm has introduced, and the change that poses the most difficulty for traditional clinicians to understand and accept, is that recovery is primarily the responsibility of the person rather than the practitioner.

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‘Sober is Sexy’ by Beth Burgess

Ah yes, all the cool kids are sober these days. Don’t worry that being sober is boring – it isn’t. It’s a blast! “I’ll tell you what’s really cool. Not caring what other people think. Doing the right thing. Doing something that’s a little different to everyone else. That’s what cool. That’s what’s sexy.” Check out many more videos on Beth’s YouTube page.

Stopping heroin use without treatment

Research by Patrick Biernacki reveals important insights into how people recover from heroin addiction. It also illustrates the major challenges that people with a heroin addiction face on their journey to recovery (2,200 words). 

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The challenges of recovering from heroin addiction

DSCF2083When you ask people what difficulties a person faces when trying to overcome heroin addiction, most will focus on the early withdrawal symptoms, which comprise both physical and psychological elements.

There are far greater challenges that lie ahead in a journey to recovery from heroin addiction. It is important that people know this (users, family members, family members, etc), although it is also important that people with a heroin problem are not put off by these challenges. Many people have overcome heroin addiction.

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