5 February 2013
11am - 12.30pm
Venue: Room N356, N block, Faculty of Education, Gate 4, 60 Epsom Ave, Epsom (View map)
Contact info: Please RSVP to Marina James
Unpacking indigenous therapeutic movement: Developing an intervention for a contemporary Pacific mental health context
‘What is healing’ in a Pacific mental health context? Face‐to-‐face interviews were conducted with a diverse range of knowledge holders: Pacific people with lived experiences of mental health recovery, Tongan and Samoan traditional knowledge holders, and respected Pacific clinicians and practitioners. Simultaneously, a quest was launched into Pacific mythology, proverbs, and accounts of traditional healing, in order to piece together the puzzles of psyche, underpinning philosophies of health and wellbeing, stories of distress and recovery. The aim of this textual exploration was to try and better understand how we have traditionally narrated and framed these experiences and think about how these ideas and logic have continuing energy today.
This has led to an intervention tool that draws explicitly on Pacific languages, but is pitched at the non‐fluent speaker. Following a model by Friere, more than sixty “generative” words relevant to health and wellbeing have been identified. For each illustrated generative concept, a range of ethnic-specific proverbs (over 200 proverbs) have been collected which reference this word specifically and provide further insight into the ways these are culturally contextualized. Accompanying the proverbs and words are shared mythological narratives, motifs and parables featuring archetypal characters and stories.
At the very least it is expected that this will create a robust and well-‐ researched compendium of relevant concepts, translations, proverbs and narratives relevant to health and wellbeing, that will be a rich resource for improving culturally responsive practice. However, there is a bolder aim which is to create a culturally derived intervention which articulates and illuminates principles and practice that could be considered consistent with traditional therapeutic movement indigenous to the region of Moana-Nui-A-Kiwa.
Dr Karlo Mila (Mila-Schaaf) is an award winning poet and emerging academic of Tongan and Pakeha descent. She was the Manager, Pacific Health Research at the HRC from 2001‐2004. Karlo has a Masters in Social Work (Applied). Her PhD was mixed-methods and focused on the identities and cultural orientation of the New Zealand-born Pacific population. She has written two books of poetry and was formerly an Op-Ed Columnist for the Dominion Post. A Mother of two boys, Karlo is married to David Schaaf and currently lives in Wellington. Karlo’s Postdoctoral Fellowship is funded by the HRC.