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Indo-Pacific Journal of Phenomenology

On-line version ISSN 1445-7377
Print version ISSN 2079-7222

Indo-Pac. j. phenomenol. (Online) vol.8 n.2 Grahamstown Sep. 2008


Maori wellbeing and being-in-the-world: Challenging notions for psychological research and practice in New Zealand



Gabriel Rossouw




Psychological research and practice in New Zealand has a long history of a positivist inspired epistemology and a pragmatic evidence-based approach to therapeutic treatment. There is a growing realization that a more meaningful interface between research and practice is required to accommodate indigenous Maori knowledge of wellbeing and living. The dominant Western psychological view in New Zealand of world, time, illness and wellbeing results in practices that do not make sense in cultural terms. The medicalisation and classification of psychological disorders cannot account for the degree to which cultural and spiritual factors are associated with problems of living. Heidegger's analysis of Being and his phenomenological method of understanding these matters ontologically reflect a persuasion not dissimilar to the worldview of the Maori and their notion of wellbeing. It offers some direction to the question of how to better integrate psychological research and practice in New Zealand.



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