The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA

The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA

3066.0: Monday, November 17, 2003 - 9:18 AM

Abstract #65829

Use of Native American ritual and traditions in a culturally-competent mental health service delivery model in San Francisco

Nelson Jim, MA and Ethan Nebelkopf, PhD. Native Circle, Native American Health Center, 160 Capp Street, San Francisco, CA 94110, 415-621-4371,

The goal of the Native Circle is to provide culturally-competent mental health services to Native Americans with HIV/AIDS at the Native American Health Center. Native Circle recognizes the importance of rituals to Native people and the psychotherapy model adopted has components of healing and ceremony integrated into a traditional psychotherapy model. Symbols used in Native ceremonies such as the eagle fan or other bird feathers are available in the Talking Circle for use if needed to facilitate the process. Traditional sweats are used to teach relaxation techniques, stress reduction. Story telling is used as a healing tool.The proposed presentation will provide an overview of the methods Native Circle uses to provide: (1) holistic and integrated psychological treatment using the cultural components of psychological assessment, neurological testing, individual and group therapy (Talking Circles), (2)the treatment model used at Native Circle focusing on the beliefs gathered from various tribal groups into a psychotherapy model, (3) the premise that disease is the need for re-balancing, which is different than pathology and that re-balancing can be corrected with ritual, (4) the use of the “Talking Circle” as a form of group therapy, (5)and the incorporation of traditional Native American religious rituals such as “Healing Sweats” or the burning of cedar (protection), sage (purification), tobacco(prayer) or sweet grass (invitation) as a way to handle shame based components presented by clients in a traditional Native American way.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Mental Health Services, Cultural Competency

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

Culture-Specific Mental Health Intervention

The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA