News, Faculty and Research, Indigenous

Counselling with care to heal Indigenous trauma

November 16, 2021

Full article via SFU Research

Dr. Alanaise Ferguson is Anishinaabe of the Sandy Bay Ojibway First Nation in Manitoba and now resides in Sto:lo territory where she practices counselling psychology within several Indigenous communities.

She is one of very few Indigenous registered psychologists in British Columbia and one of only 11 with an academic appointment at a Canadian university. A prolific scholar, Goodwill is helping decolonize mental health practices by integrating Indigenous approaches to well-being into counsellor training, trauma intervention, and research.

For example, she has worked with residential school survivors, and developed culturally appropriate counselling techniques. She has written curriculum and programming for Brandon University, the Justice Institute of B.C. and the University of British Columbia, and was recruited by the College of Psychologists of B.C. to provide cultural competency training to its members relating to psychotherapy practices with Indigenous people.

She recently collaborated on a paper with UBC colleague Marla J. Buchanan, doctoral student Roger John and graduate student Sarah Panofsky. Indigenous Trauma Intervention Research in Canada: A Narrative Literature Review, identifies 11 Canadian studies that employed culturally appropriate trauma interventions within Indigenous communities. Their review highlights the need to develop healing practices that address Indigenous historical trauma while contributing to the growing scholarship validating Indigenous healing initiatives.

“This research provides a good snapshot of the evidence that’s available,” says Goodwill. “We hope this information can be used to generate more research studies to address the gaps in the literature, develop trauma-informed therapy, and engage Indigenous ways of healing.”