BY: Anna Keyter
Assessment / Counselling / Ethics / Treaty of Waitangi
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Te Tiriti o Waitangi and the importance in counselling
It is essential to understand Māori health and wellbeing and Te Tiriti o Waitangi as it relates to mental health in order to address cultural issues in practice. The treaty was a negotiation between Māori and the Crown to establish New Zealand as a British colony. In modern society, this partnership extends to developing health strategies for Māori to obtain proper health services. This also extends to the protection of Māori cultural concepts and values. Māori communities are encouraged to engage in the planning and development of health strategies that would have an impact on them.
Counselling | Treaty of Waitangi
A counsellor in New Zealand should take into account cultural aspects such as physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual. Furthermore, therapists need to acknowledge cultural identity when working with Māori communities. Supporting Māori on an emotional level includes a commitment to their identity and counsellors should use approaches that would assist Māori to re-connect with their communities after interventions due to the importance they place on whanau (related and extended families).
Treaty of Waitangi Framework includes but is not limited to:
- Te Reo Māori: Using Te Reo Māori to show respect, holding onto identity and being guardians of Māori Culture.
- Tuakiri Tangata: Acknowledges Māori persona, personality and identity. Here we consider principles such as cultural aspects but also physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual.
- Tikanga Māori: Involves previous generations and how to live by Māori values. Tikanga comprises values from previous generations but also taking generational advancement into account. Māori expresses underlying principles differently even though the roots remain the same.
- Whakawhanaunga: There are different interpretations of whānau, that being said, a general meaning assigned to it is family members who share common descent. As a counsellor, it is important to understand the different roles whānau occupy and the responsibilities assigned to each role.
- Hauora Māori: Perspectives on health and wellbeing. The models and frameworks that underpin Maori health and wellbeing is an inclusive and holistic worldview. What makes these models unique is the relationship Māori have to the land and the link to whakapapa/genealogy.
- Manaaki: It is required that Māori behave in ways that enhance the mana of others, i.e. be honouring people, providing service, respect and generosity. This highlights the importance of positive service and is specifically relevant to the mental health and addictions contexts.
Counsellors should pay particular attention to multiculturalism and the effect it has on relationships. Culture is more than race and ethnicity, it also includes gender, age ideology, socioeconomic status, religion, sexual orientation, occupation and lifestyle issues. Members of cultural groups may also differ from their group’s description. When working from a cultural framework, it is important to consider enculturation (retaining indigenous culture) and acculturation (adapting to dominant culture). The counsellor should recognise which helping skill is more effective for clients within their cultural framework (Hill, 2014).
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