Entering the Void: Exploring the Relationship Between the Experience of Colonisation and the Experience of Self for Indigenous Peoples of Aotearoa, and the Implications for Psychotherapeutic Clinical P

  • Wiremu Woodard
  • John O'Connor
Keywords: Indigenous, Māori, self, psychotherapy, colonisation, void

Abstract

This paper explores the relationship between the experience of colonisation and the experience of self for Indigenous peoples of Aotearoa. As we celebrate the formation of Waka Oranga in 2007, and its work in the years since, the publication of this paper is particularly fitting, drawing as it does on research originally undertaken at the time of the roopu’s formation. It is based on the lead author’s 2008 Master of Psychotherapy dissertation research in which he undertook a modified systematic literature review located within a kaupapa Māori research framework, in order to explore the experience of self for Indigenous peoples of Aotearoa and its relationship to colonisation. The paper examines the process of racialisation: The construction and resulting interiorisation of Indigenous peoples as Other’. The paper contends that this process has the effect of disrupting indigenous ontologies creating a divided and alienated experience of self for Indigenous peoples. Within Aotearoa, the phenomenon of whakamā and mate Māori are hypothesised as the indigenous experience of this alienated and divided self. The paper suggests that arguably all psychological distress for Indigenous peoples of Aotearoa arise to some degree from
these experiences. Implications for psychotherapy are considered. Psychotherapy and psychotherapists are challenged to re-evaluate both the underlying positivist conceptualisations of self, and ongoing processes of colonisation, in order that they may be more fully equipped to effectively work alongside indigenous communities in Aotearoa.

Published
2020-02-27
How to Cite
Woodard, W., & O’Connor, J. (2020). Entering the Void: Exploring the Relationship Between the Experience of Colonisation and the Experience of Self for Indigenous Peoples of Aotearoa, and the Implications for Psychotherapeutic Clinical P. Ata: Journal of Psychotherapy Aotearoa New Zealand, 23(2), 89-112. https://doi.org/10.9791/10.9791/ajpanz.2019.09