Date of Paper


Type of Paper

Clinical research paper

Degree Name

Master of Social Work (M.S.W.)


Social Work

First Advisor

Catherine L. Marrs Fuchsel


Social Work


American Indian populations are known to be affected by high rates of trauma, including the impact and perpetuating effects of historical trauma. In an effort to better understand effective ways of healing from trauma, this study explores the methods utilized by American Indian people to facilitate healing, specifically from symptoms of post-traumatic stress. Qualitative interviews were used to collect the stories and experiences of eight practitioners working with American Indian clients as they relate to the use of traditional healing practices and use of Western mental health services. Findings revealed four themes that are consistent with prior research, and yet build understanding of healing practices among American Indian people. These themes are the widespread rates of trauma, the importance of community, the spiritual realm as the context for healing, and a lack of appropriate mental health services in the American Indian community. These themes also point to the unique position of American Indian people as bridging two worlds and two routes to healing: traditional tribal beliefs and mainstream health services. Implications from this study for social work practice, policy, and research are also discussed.

Included in

Social Work Commons