Psychology And Indigenous Australians Education Essay

Published: Last Edited:

This essay has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by our professional essay writers.

Throughout this course I hope to gain a broad knowledge of Indigenous Australia as well as the people. I believe that an understanding, in relation to Indigenous Australian, is a core piece of knowledge everyone in Australia should be familiar with. At this current stage I am unfamiliar with a thorough understanding regarding traditional Australian Indigenous cultures, the psychological impact of colonization and attitudes between Indigenous and Western cultures, all of this which this course supplies. As I inspire to be a qualified psychologist, I believe this knowledge will be a positive attribute to my profession when having a helping relationship with a client of Indigenous culture in the future.

Positive links were always made between myself and Indigenous Australians, such as Indigenous AFL football players and beautiful Indigenous art. However in contrast, I remember Indigenous people living throughout the city's parks which used to concern me and Indigenous people being shamed throughout the media and stereotyped as "drunks". I now comprehend all these memories are very negative and actually depressing, something I was unaware at a young age.

I remember a school excursion to 'Tandanya National Aboriginal Culture Institution' where we had several Indigenous group leaders. The whole experience was not only positive but also interesting. Looking back on it, the effort of familiarizing us (young students) with the Indigenous cultures was a great initiative by the teacher.

It was very evident that Indigenous Australians are very cultural enriched, influenced by the school excursion I attended. I also used to enjoy the dreamtime stories shared at school, all with very wise hidden messages. I found Indigenous Australian people to be the same as any other Australian.

What do you think/perceive and feel about Indigenous Australians now? (approx 25 words)

I feel that every person should be treated equally, whether Indigenous Australian or of a different culture, considering that Australia today is very diverse. I believe it's very important now-days to acknowledge the land we meet on before a formal meeting as it's very respectful.

Comprehension of Reading

Start this section by analyzing:

Reading 1.1 -Clay, R.A. (2002) "Helping a Stolen Generation" in Monitor on Psychology

Respond to the following questions:


According to Clay's article, what contributed to psychologists' growing interest in Indigenous issues?

One of the main issues that caught the attention of many psychologists, triggering interest, was the disturbing statistics on Indigenous mental health throughout Australia.

Secondly Indigenous Australians felt they wanted to be in control of the mental health system, leading a movement. To do so, many Indigenous Australians themselves took on psychological training.

Lastly psychologists (not of Indigenous culture) started to recognize how racist their own profession's attitude actually was when relating to Indigenous Australians. This then encouraged many psychologists to take an interest in working with Indigenous Australian clients successfully.

(approx 75 words)

Why did psychologists seemingly "get absolutely nowhere" when attempting to treat an Indigenous person in practice?

Experience was lacking in psychologists, therefore when trying to treat an indigenous client many would treat in either a psychiatric ward or integrated into the northern Indigenous culture.

Psychologists have also been trained/ taught in the Western model of intervention hence when applied to an Indigenous Australian client, they're completely adequate to meet the needs of the client.

(approx 50 words)

What does psychologist, Patricia Dudgeon say non-Indigenous psychologists should do in order to work effectively with Indigenous Australians?

Psychologist Patricia Dudgeon believes that when you're working with a person with a diverse culture, you as the psychologist must look into their cultural beliefs. However at the same time you have to be aware of your own personal values, thoughts and attitudes. Dudgeon also feels training Indigenous Australians as a psychologist is important. I believe it's a valuable attribute to the psychology profession having Indigenous Australians professionally trained as it not only shows the profession has changed their racist views but also Indigenous Australian clients may feel more comfortable seeking professional help.

(approx 50 words)

Week 2 - Cultural Competence

You as a Psychologist - Comprehending Concepts

Start this section by analyzing:

Reading 2.1 - Weaver, H. (1999)

"Indigenous People and the Social Work Profession: Defining Culturally Competent Services"

This reading is in relation to a study conducted in the US to define culturally competent services in order for the social work profession to respond more effectively when working with Native Americans.

Consider this article in the context of Australia and the psychology profession and respond to the following questions:


What 3 areas of competence were identified for a practitioner to develop, in order to become 'culturally competent' working with Indigenous people?

Also, further discuss each of these 3 areas as outlined in the reading.

Three areas mentioned are...


Knowledge can be segmented into 3 aspects:

Diversity Knowledge of the practitioner is needed as they must be aware Indigenous Australian beliefs, values, traditions and spirituality is diverse throughout all indigenous cultural groups in Australia. It must be recognized however that a client is an individual and may feel more or less about their own culture.

History Knowledge is about familiarize oneself with Indigenous history such as laws, the result of oppressed issues and racial discrimination,

Cultural Knowledge encourages practitioners to treat individuals by their own identity rather that identified by a cultural group. Although diversity spreads throughout each Australian Indigenous cultural group, each predominantly has a mutual base of importance for family, the elders in the group, tradition and spirituality. The practitioner must understand the culture 100%.

Contemporary Knowledge is being knowledgeable of the present circumstances including individual, family and group positions and responsibility of Indigenous Australians. Taken in account must be the stress, loss and trauma from their lives yet must also highlight the optimistic circumstances.

SKILLS: The Practitioner themselves must develop and put into practice certain skills enabling to be culturally competent when working with an Indigenous Australian client. Skills included are being an effective problem solver, communicator and a reliable listener. Being engaged in the client, with patience, will prevent interrupting the session.

VALUES: It's an obligation for the practitioner to stand ground and be familiar with their own views, attitudes and values while keeping them out of the professional/client relationship. Being open minded, respectful and restraining from judgment are all needed to be exercised as they must appreciate other values that might however contradict the practitioner's own. A readiness and enthusiastic want to learn must be indicated.

(This section approx 150 words)

Summarise in your own words, the concept of 'cultural competence' as it relates to the profession of psychology: (approx 50 words)

Cultural competence depends on an extensive knowledge of cultural groups (in this case Indigenous Australians) and amalgamating then with psychology skills. The professional(s) however must be conscious of their own morals, beliefs and prejudice. The results of this will be having a more ethnically, comfortable and successful psychologist (or helping professional) /client affiliation.

In the Australian context, what do you think psychology graduates should know in order to develop effective therapeutic relationships with Indigenous Australians? (approx 50 words)

Effective therapeutic relationships with Indigenous Australians and psychology graduates all starts with the graduate's own knowledge and understanding of the client's cultural history, values, beliefs and morals. They also must keep their own values, beliefs, stereotypes, biases and overall views from the helping situation, enabling the graduates to have an open view and mind.

Can you identify what your areas of development may be in order to become a culturally competent practitioner? (approx 50 words)

Areas of development in order for myself to become a culturally competent practitioner consists of gaining an understanding of Indigenous Australian culture and as well as a genuine appreciation for it. This includes the cultural beliefs, values, indigenous history and the present circumstances. Being open minded, respectful, knowledgeable, non-judgmental and with a general want to learn will make the experience for myself effective.