A Review of Michael Hart's 'Seeking Mino-Pimatisiwin: An Aboriginal Approach to Healing'
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Review: Seeking Mino Pimatisiwin by Michael Hart
In Seeking Mino-Pimatisiwin: An Aboriginal Approach to Healing, Michael Hart discusses the interaction between social work and Aboriginal people. He notes that, traditionally, social work and psychology have taken a very Euro-centric approach, which has disenfranchised Aboriginal people. He discusses how Aboriginal concepts can be incorporated into social work techniques in order to be inclusive, rather than exclusive, of Aboriginal people. He focuses specifically on the sharing circle as a way of using Aboriginal techniques in the counseling context. Michael Hart begins his book by juxtaposing his position as an Aboriginal person with his experience as a social worker. Traditional social work focuses on Euro-centric ideals, not only in determining which behaviors are adaptive and maladaptive, but also in what approach therapists should take to encourage behavior change in people. Unfortunately, this approach can be, not only isolating for many Aboriginal people, but actually harmful for them. By labeling adaptive behaviors as somehow wrong or maladaptive, traditional social work approaches stigmatize Aboriginal people. This runs counter to the core value in social work, which is service, to the individual and the community.
Moreover, by then using culturally unfamiliar methods to try to bring healing to those same people, the therapeutic process serves to further alienate them. This runs counter to the