Dr. Alanaise Ferguson

Assistant Professor, Faculty of Education
SFU Distinguished Professor

I am an Indigenous scientist-practitioner and educator in Counselling Psychology. My work aims to decolonize mental health practices by addressing serious manifestations of colonial violence such as gangs and gender based violence. As one of very few Indigenous Registered Psychologists in British Columbia, I maintain active service within several Indigenous communities.

My early accomplishments in creating educational opportunities in Indigenous psychology emerged in part from my work redeveloping the First Nations and Aboriginal Counselling Program at Brandon University, and writing curriculum for the Justice Institute of BC and the University of British Columbia. Bridging psychology and Indigenous studies while prioritizing the mental health needs identified by Indigenous communities requires the scholarship of an experienced practitioner with vision in the academy. As a serious scholar-practitioner, I produce work considered meaningful to psychological practice in the areas of identity reclamation, collective healing and restitution from damaging colonial processes including Indian Residential schools. My work attracted the attention of the Mental Health Commission of Canada, where I served as advisory for child and youth mental health, 2009-2012.

At present, my work engages Indigenous language in the practice of family and group counselling. This research contributes changes to counselling practices and with Indigenous language revitalization, creating intersectional knowledge not currently produced in either field. This work is the basis of my current research program and shapes my approach to using Indigenous research methods.