Helping Inuit clients: cultural relevance and effective counselling
International Journal of Circumpolar Health
Objectives: The objective of this study was to investigate the fit between Inuit conceptions of effective helping and Western counselling. Study Design/Methods: The essential components and value foundations of effective Western counselling, including multicultural counselling, were identified from primary and secondary counselling texts. Inuit traditional values and helping practices were identified from the transcripts of interviews with Inuit elders. Interviews with 5 younger Inuit provided
... ger Inuit provided information about the counselling needs of contemporary Inuit. Grounded theory analysis of all texts and interview transcripts was used to determine each informant group's conceptions of the elements of effective counselling. A comparative chart was then constructed of the important relationship factors, strategies and process, and effective interventions identified by each informant group. Results: The values and relationship factors of effective counselling are similar in traditional and Western helping, and these same factors are important to the contemporary Inuit interviewed. Affective, behavioural and cognitive interventions were used traditionally; modern generic counselling also uses a variety of strategies from these three primary categories. Cognitive and cognitive-behavioural approaches to problemsolving were traditionally of primary importance, with expression of feelings also seen as essential. Conclusion: Western and traditional Inuit helping correspond, and cognitive/cognitivebehavioural approaches especially complement Inuit cultural practice.