Exploring Culturally Acceptable Responses to Australian Aboriginal Women

The 4th Australian and New Zealand Addiction Conference is on next month at the Mantra on View Hotel, Gold Coast over the 15th – 17th May.

Topics include:

  • Navigating the service system
  • Training and Support of AOD workers
  • Issues within rural and remote communities
  • Cultural safety and sensitivity when working with specific population groups
  • Emerging trends
  • Trauma informed services
  • The lived experience and their supporters

Ms Anni Hine Moana, PhD Candidate/Senior Clinical Practitioner Educator at LaTrobe University joins us to discuss ‘Our  own history book: Exploring Culturally Acceptable Responses to Australian Aboriginal Women Who Have Experience of Feelings of Shame and are Seeking Counselling for Problems with Alcohol’.

Ms Anni Hine Moana

In this paper, I will be drawing on doctoral research from my thesis: Healing in the Yarn: Exploring Culturally Acceptable Responses to Australian Aboriginal Women Who Have Experience of Feelings of Shame and are Seeking Counselling for Problems with Alcohol.

It has been established that the high prevalence of alcohol (and other drug) problems among Aboriginal Australians bears a direct relationship to the devastating effects of settler-colonisation.

Although social science is often based on what is seen as ‘objective research’, much of the discourse within the field serves to uphold a widespread view of Aboriginal Australians as being somehow in deficit. This paper will explore not only how modernist therapeutic discourse, in representing AOD issues in a manner that locates the problem within the individual can create situations which are counter- productive but how the construction of deficit narratives based on notions of race can affect social identity and lead to individuals experiencing high levels of the self conscious emotion shame. Research has shown that experiences of high levels of shame are linked to an increase in vulnerability to harmful alcohol use. Narrative methodologies rest on the critique of established therapeutic discourse as to how a “problem” is constituted, and proposes to address problem in a manner that pays attention to historical and political contexts.

In describing a problem as having been constituted through specific events, narrative methodological approaches contextualise alcohol problems in a manner that challenges dominant social narratives. Such methodologies have implications for how counselling may be performed. In presenting a case for culturally safe ways of counselling Aboriginal Australian women who are experiencing problems with alcohol, the benefits of including approaches that recognise the power of language, the relativity of truth and the relational nature of objectivity would appear to be self – evident.

For more information on the upcoming 2017 Australian and New Zealand Addiction Conference and to secure your spot, please visit addictionaustralia.org.au.

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