Indigenous psychologist’s book takes unique approach

Media release

C161/08
One of Australia’s first Indigenous male psychologist’s, Darren Garvey, launched his book focusing on the relationship between Indigenous Australian people and psychology at Curtin University of Technology’s Centre for Aboriginal Studies (CAS) recently.
The book, Indigenous Identity in Contemporary Psychology – Dilemmas, Developments, Directions, discusses the development of Indigenous psychology in Australia and describes what contemporary psychology and psychologists might do to improve service delivery.
Mr Garvey believes that psychologists need to continue to work on their relationship with Indigenous Australians as does the profession more generally. He hopes that his book can assist in this process.
“The word ‘identity’ in the title describes Indigenous identity as it has been described through research as well as raising questions about how Indigenous people might have a place or an identity within the profession of psychology as clients and as professionals,” said Mr Garvey.
“The title is also a reference to my identity within the profession, so the book includes lessons learned through my journey.
“I wanted to demonstrate that to remain engaged with Indigenous issues means learning from mistakes as well as celebrating successes.”
The book also contains activities that readers are encouraged to participate in and that help to promote critical reflection. The book does not just focus on learning ‘about’ Indigenous people, it encourages readers to reflect on what the material means in relation to themselves.
Darren secured insights from over a dozen contributors who candidly described aspects of their professional practice with Indigenous people and what it meant to them as professionals and as individuals.
“Their experiences are a real feature of the book and add to its practical value,” Darren said.
Former Head of the Centre for Aboriginal Studies, Associate Professor Pat Dudgeon, launched the book at an event at the Centre.
“Darren’s book represents a crucial and timely addition to the scarce resources addressing issues about Indigenous people and Australian psychology,” Associate Professor Dudgeon said.
“I believe that this book is part of the process of developing cultural awareness about Indigenous Australians and will prove to be an important text for psychology students and indeed, students of other mental health training areas.”
Mr Garvey hopes to use the royalties from sales of the book to establish two awards for Indigenous students. The first he hopes to award through the Centre for Aboriginal Studies and the second through the Australian Psychological Society, both for exceptional academic talent.
Darren Garvey is one of the first male Indigenous psychologists in Australia. Since completing his Bachelor Degree in Psychology at James Cook University and Master in Health Promotion at Curtin University of Technology he has gone on to lecture in the Indigenous Australian Cultural Studies Program at CAS.
Darren has been instrumental in helping to raise awareness of Indigenous psychology in Australia. He was part of the first mini conference held with heads of psychology schools around Australia to include Indigenous studies in psychology courses. He was a key writer in the development of guidelines for the provision of psychological services for and the conduct of research with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people of Australia and continues to write and work in the area of developing cultural competence.
Note to COS/Editor: A photo of Darren is available on request.