This paper considers the usefulness of theory and practice in mainstream psychology in relation to the experiences of Indigenous people directly affected by the practice of child removal. It consists of an interview in which one of the authors, Joyleen Koolmatrie, an Indigenous psychologist, reflects on her work with Indigenous people affected by the removal, including a description of her workshops, which have been conducted throughout Australia, and a reflection by the authors on the approaches to the management of unresolved grief contained in the clinical literature. Key points arising in the paper concern the necessity for psychological theories of grief and grieving to open out to include consideration of sociopolitical and intergroup aspects of loss, and the significance of the identity of the mental health professional who seeks to work with Indigenous people affected by the removal. It is considered preferable that such professionals should themselves be Indigenous since this minimises the risk of re-enactment of the initial trauma and structured oppression within the therapeutic setting.
The information contained on this website has been sourced by the Australian Indigenous Psychology Education Project (AIPEP) and AIPEP 2. The first AIPEP was funded by the Australian Government Office of Teaching and Learning. AIPEP 2 is part of the Transforming Indigenous Mental Health and Wellbeing Project, funded by the Million Minds Mission Grant. The views expressed in this website do not necessarily reflect the views of the Australian Government Office of Teaching and Learning or the Million Minds Mission Grant.
Several of the images used throughout this website are credited to Chris Lewis