Thoughts on Indigenous Psychology

Indigenous psychology is an emerging field of psychology that relies on a local understanding of human behavior to develop theories, conduct research, and address challenges. Loosely translated, indigenous means coming from or native to a particular country or culture. The main purpose of indigenous psychology is to practice psychology in a way that is appropriate for the social, political, historical, and cultural contexts in the area it serves. Indigenous psychology evolved in response to the use of Western psychology in countries where it did not seem to fit.

In the article “Origins and Development of Indigenous Psychologies: An International Analysis,” 15 contributing authors describe the characteristics of indigenous psychology in different regions. They also detail the limitations of Western psychology when applied to non-Western countries.

To prepare for this Discussion:

Review Chapter 5 , Toward a Global Psychology: Theory, Research, Intervention, and Pedagogy. Pay particular attention to the sections on “Limitations of General Psychology” and “Indigenous Psychologies.”

Review the article “Origins and Development of Indigenous Psychologies: An International Analysis.” Consider the similarities and differences in what authors from different parts of the world have to say.

Think about the limitations of Western psychology in non-Western countries.

Reflect on the characteristics of indigenous psychology.

Think about how indigenous psychology responds to the limitations of Western psychology.

Select one limitation of Western psychology in non-Western cultures and one characteristic of indigenous psychology that responds to the limitation you selected.

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