Earth-Based Practices and the Problem with Evidence-Based Practice
“Epistemology” is the study of “Knowledge,” and how we know what we know, or what makes us think we “know” the things we think we know. Some people need “data”, some rely more on intuition; some need experientials, some deep reflection; some do lit reviews, some do ceremony; some do talk therapy, some do art therapy.
There are many “ways of knowing.” Western Social Science and the insurance companies that pay for mental and behavioral health treatment typically only accept a very narrow band of the many ways of knowing that are available to us. They will pay for Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, but not for a Vision Quest.
Earth-Based practices and healing have been practiced all over this planet for thousands of years, by all cultures, in one form or another.
It’s funny, but when some of the mainstream leaders in the counseling or psychology fields tell us we must cultivate multicultural competencies, but out of the other side of their mouths tell us to use only “evidence-based practices”, they are effectively (unconsciously, we hope), negating and denying the healing practices of many, many cultures, the world over. There are exceptions in the field, of course, but this is still a problem, in my mind…
Something to think about.
At Southwestern College, the Ecotherapy certificate program, directed by Dr. Ann Filemyr, honors the Earth-Based traditions, and recognizes that indigenous cultures knew a thing or two about healing during those couple of thousand years before double blind studies and refereed journals tried to corner the market on “knowing.”
To be truly attuned to multicultural ways of knowing, you might want to take a look at this certificate program and track its future developments.