Native American: Counseling Interventions

To make the work of psychologists with Native Americans culturally appropriate and effective, it is tremendously important to incorporate spirituality into counseling and reduce administrative obstacles to receiving care. In fact, this population group does not visit counselors frequently, which can be explained by stigma, mistrust, or fear of being judged. Furthermore, many Native Americans highlight that the main barriers to accessing high-quality psychological help are the lack of financial resources, a shortage of providers, long waitlists, and dysfunctional systems of care.

In order to address these problems, various interventions have been implemented in the area of psychological help. For instance, based on national guidelines, psychologists are required to build relationships with the local Native communities by getting involved in their local tribal communities. At present time, it is recommended to maintain communication with the tribal elders, participate in tribal social and cultural events, as well as attend training workshops.

Considering the history of oppression experienced by representatives of Native Americans for several centuries, these individuals still tend to express distrust towards other individuals. Therefore, person-centered and interpersonal approaches should be unitized to improve the emotional well-being of this population group.

In turn, founded in the 1940s, a person-centered approach is based on the idea to determine ways in which individuals perceive themselves consciously. Simultaneously, an interpersonal approach is used on the basis of an individual’s relational experiences, personal thoughts, and family history. Each of these interventions can be successfully used in counseling Native Americans, although each person should be served individually. In this way, both psychologist and the client will be satisfied with the therapy results.

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