Decolonizing Mental Health

Overview

Subject area

PSY

Catalog Number

31191

Course Title

Decolonizing Mental Health

Department(s)

Description

Decolonization is the process of deconstructing colonial ideologies of the superiority and privilege of Western (White Patriarchal) thought and approaches. While decolonization is generally considered in reference to geo-political systemic structures, its applicability to mental health service delivery is of critical import to psychology. Colonization perpetuates the status quo, maintaining power dominance of a White, Patriarchal, Racist, Homophobic hierarchy. Western mental health and social service methodologies serve to perpetuate colonization, justifying the dominance of a White, Patriarchal systemic structure. This course will serve to examine the systemic implication of a mental health service delivery that ‘blames the victim’, and perpetuates an oppressive systemic culture that deleteriously impacts the lives of women, immigrants, folk of color, LGBTQ folk, etc. Western mental health focuses on pathology, branding traumatized and oppressed folk as ‘ill’, mentally unbalanced, paranoid, ‘out of control’, etc. Decolonizing mental health service delivery enables the psychology student to focus on a Strength Based approach, that emphasizes ‘positives’, and, employs a non-directive, empowering therapeutic stance. The psychologist/therapist is neither god, nor more powerful all-knowing. Rather, a decolonizing mental health approach emphasizes the partnership of therapist and patient. The therapist listens, shares, participates in full partnership with his/her patient. Illuminating this course will be the writings and clinical practice of Frantz Fanon, an Afro-French psychiatrist and 1960’s spokesperson of the successful Algerian Revolution against French colonial oppression. Finally, the empowerment process inherent in therapeutic healing, is embedded within an understanding of context and trauma. Oppressed folk reflect rage, resistance, as well as internalization of said oppression, resulting in self-destructive behavior. Enabling such folk to see, feel, and comprehend their oppression is a critical first step in healing.

Typically Offered

Offer as needed

Academic Career

Undergraduate

Liberal Arts

Yes

Credits

Minimum Units

3

Maximum Units

3

Academic Progress Units

3

Repeat For Credit

No

Components

Name

Lecture

Hours

3

Course Schedule