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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The facilitation of healing for the First Nations people of British Columbia McCormick, Roderick Michael


This study explores the facilitation of healing for First Nations people living in the province of British Columbia. The purpose of the study is to develop a reasonably comprehensive scheme of categories that will describe, from the perspective of First Nations people, what facilitates healing. The research method involved interviews with 50 adult First Nations volunteers who were long-term residents of British Columbia and also in a position to observe what facilitated their own healing for them . The Critical Incident Technique (Flanagan, 1954) was utilized to elicit 437 incidents from 50 participants. Fourteen categories emerged from an analysis of the incidents reported. Several procedures were used to examine the soundness and trustworthiness of the categories. The results indicate that healing can be facilitated in the following ways: participation in ceremony, expression of emotion, learning from a role model, establishing a connection with nature, exercise, involvement in challenging activities, establishing a social connection, gaining an understanding of the problem, establishing spiritual connection, obtaining help/support from others, self care, setting goals, anchoring self in tradition, and in helping others. A preliminary examination of the healing outcomes of these facilitating events suggests that an effective healing program for First Nations people would invoke empowerment, cleansing, balance, discipline, and belonging. Narrative accounts were analyzed for the purpose of revealing an organization for the categories. Four divisions of categories emerged as a result of this analysis: separating from an unhealthy life, obtaining social support and resources, experiencing a healthy life and living a healthy life. Further analysis of the narratives revealed five overall themes which serve to enhance the categories and outcomes presented in this research. Those themes entail: A broad spectrum of healing resources are available to First Nations people, First Nations people have a different way of seeing the world which has to be understood before effective counselling services can be provided, First Nations people expect that whatever is healing should help them to attain and/or maintain balance, self transcendence followed by connectedness is a common route to healing for First Nations people, and First Nations people are seen to act as agents of their own healing. The findings of this study contribute to the field of counselling psychology by providing a reasonably comprehensive scheme of categories and themes that describe, from the perspective of First Nations people, what facilitates healing. This study suggests promising developments in First Nations healing that have implications for both research and practice.

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