O’Shea, M., Klas, A., Hardy, T., Stone, J., Frangos, T., Jacobs, T., Mitchell, F., James, C., Jones, S., Thomas, J., & Ryan, K. (2024). Weaving Wayapa and cognitive behaviour therapy: applying research topic yarning to explore a cultural interface between Western and Indigenous psychology practice in Australia. Australian Psychologist, 1-17. https://doi.org/10.1080/00050067.2024.2322710


Indigenous Psychology within Australia reflects the traditional knowledges of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and their understanding of the cultivation of relational social and emotional wellbeing (SEWB). However, these perspectives are poorly incorporated into dominant “Western” psychological theories and practice, such as Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT). This represents a barrier to the cultural safety of current mental health practice and its decolonisation within Australia.


This study brought together CBT Practitioners and Practitioners of an Aboriginal Wellbeing practice (“Wayapa”) to engage in a series of yarns (guided focus groups) to share perspectives, insights, and stories on their own and each other’s practices.


Indigenous qualitative research approaches including Research Topic Yarning were engaged to decolonise the research environment and support dialogue at the cultural interface of the two practices.


Through experiencing Wayapa, CBT practitioners reflected on gaps in their own practice, with an enthusiasm for the opportunities that Wayapa provided to decolonise their practice. Wayapa practitioners were able to celebrate the holistic nature of their practice and the possibility for it to inform dominant “Western” psychological theories and practice, such as CBT, and encourage a more connected and culturally safe way of working with First Nations peoples.


Creating safe cultural interfaces between “Western” and Indigenous Psychologies, and building awareness of the value of Aboriginal grounded wellbeing models, can help to promote and expand culturally safe practices within Australian psychological practice.