Healing the Soul Wound: Liberation Psychology

Liberation Psychology as the Path Toward Healing Cultural Soul Wounds
by Eduardo Duran, Judith Firehammer, and John Gonzalez

Oppression resulting in soul wounding has afflicted indigenous communities and the counseling profession. Internalized oppression has become part of oppressive practices inflicted on communities served. The authors delineate a liberation psychology that leads toward the psychological and spiritual emancipation of individual clients, communities, and the counseling profession.

The most potent weapon in the hands of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed. -Stephen Biko

Culture is part of the soul. As human beings, we are all part of a culture and not separate from it. When the soul or culture of some persons are oppressed, we are all oppressed and wounded in ways that require healing if we are to become liberated from such oppression. When discussing these issues, it is important to realize that we have all been on both sides of the oppression/oppressor coin at different points in our lives. It is also important to become aware that a clear path toward healing must be undertaken by individual counselors as well as by the mental health professions as a whole if we are to realize new and untapped dimensions of our individual and collective health and psychological liberation. In taking the healing path, counselors will be able to provide individual clients and the world community with much-needed understanding of the way toward liberation and the fullness of life in a manner that promotes harmonious interactions within the overall web of the life–world. …

… The various forms of psychological oppression that continue to be perpetuated by many well-meaning and good-hearted counselors, psychologists, and social workers are by-products of broader economic, political, religious, and social mechanisms that have historically been used to colonize persons from diverse groups and backgrounds in the United States. Operating from culturally biased views of mental health and what are considered to be appropriate intervention strategies, these professionals perpetuate various forms of injustice and institutional racism by imposing helping paradigms that are often incongruent with the worldviews, values, beliefs, and traditional practices that have been used to promote the psychological well-being of persons in diverse groups. …

… Soul wounding has been offered as a pivotal issue that is asserted to be at the root of many of the psychological problems facing society and the counseling profession. In order to heal the soul wound, it is suggested that the notion of soul healing needs to become a central metaphor that guides the daily activities of counselors and therapists. If counselors remain courageous in striving to change the way mental health professionals have been traditionally taught, by operating in the counseling life–world and by including the notion of soul healing, they will be able to create a liberating psychology that will slowly begin to transform the clinical and research areas of the counseling profession as well as positively affect society at large. … (Read the full article)

Source: Duran, E., Firehammer, J., & Gonzalez, J. (2008). Liberation psychology as the path toward healing cultural soul wounds.Journal Of Counseling & Development86(3), 288-295.



~ by Brendan Kober on December 9, 2011.

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