Authors: Lonnie A. Nelson et al.
Publication Year: 2022
Journal: International Journal of Indigenous Health
Keywords: Cultural Sensitivity and Appropriateness; Harm Reduction; Talking Circles; Alcohol Use; Qualitative Analysis
Short Abstract: Prior studies with Native populations have highlighted concerns about the cultural acceptability of highly directive, Eurocentric approaches, such as cognitive behavioral therapy and 12-step programs in treating alcohol use disorder (AUD).
Abstract: Prior studies with Native populations have highlighted concerns about the cultural acceptability of highly directive, Eurocentric approaches, such as cognitive behavioral therapy and 12-step programs in treating alcohol use disorder (AUD). When asked in a prior qualitative study how they would redesign AUD treatment, urban American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) participants reported wanting more low-barrier, harm-reduction treatment options, Native treatment providers, and culturally relevant practices. Talking Circles, which are gatherings where people share what is on their hearts, were the most requested Native cultural practice. After developing and piloting its initial iteration, researchers, community members, and traditional health professionals collaborated on the present qualitative research study to further refine an adapted Harm Reduction Talking Circle (HaRTC) protocol to address AUD with urban AI/ANs. This study features a conventional content analysis of 31 patient interviews, 6 key informant interviews with management and traditional health professionals, and 5 staff and provider focus groups to inform the development of the HaRTC. Specifically, this study describes staff, management, traditional health professionals, provider, and patient participants’ a) perspectives on HaRTC, including potential benefits, risks and mitigating factors, b) preferred traditional medicines and practices, c) preferred approaches/Circle Facilitator stance for engagement and facilitation, and d) HaRTC logistics (e.g., timing, frequency). Analyses indicated a central tendency preference for 8, weekly HaRTC sessions. Although participants expressed concerns about the potential inclusion of intoxicated people in HaRTC sessions, a large majority of staff, management and patient participants felt it was important to have HaRTC be as inclusive and accepting of community members as possible. Participants provided suggestions for how to structure facilitation of the HaRTC and mitigate risks of intoxication and patient escalation. Participants preferred an approach that is acceptance-based, respects individuals’ autonomy and culture, and creates a safe space for recovery. Most participants felt the specific traditions and medicines applied in the HaRTC should be maximally inclusive to honor the diversity of tribal affiliations and backgrounds represented among urban AI/ANs. In conclusion, participants largely supported an integration of harm-reduction principles and the North American Indigenous tradition of the Talking Circle to provide a compassionate, culturally appropriate healing practice to a larger spectrum of AI/ANs with AUD. Future research is planned to test the efficacy of this community-informed approach.
Source: Link to Original Article.
Type of Resource: Peer-reviewed scientific article