Native American healing and counseling: Cantadora

Date of Completion

January 2003


Anthropology, Cultural|Education, Guidance and Counseling




Counselors work with people who are experiencing disharmony in some area of their lives. An understanding of Native American beliefs regarding the healing process was found to be helpful to assist counselors in teaching clients how to maintain and/or restore harmony and balance in their lives. ^ The purpose of the study was to understand the beliefs of three Native American elders concerning how people heal. The two areas of focus were how people may heal and how counselors may assist their clients through the healing process. ^ The study was qualitative in nature as it sought to understand the healing process from the perspective of three Native American elders. A second reason for choosing a qualitative approach is that the Native American culture imparts wisdom through the use of stories and metaphors, which align with a qualitative research approach. ^ The researcher conducted three elite interviews and utilized open-ended, broad-based questions, in order to allow the participants to decide what information they believed was essential to understanding the healing process. ^ The results suggest four major themes (awareness, actions, attitudes, and attitudes lived in action), and specific worldviews in each theme, which may promote healing. In the study, twelve qualities of effective counselors were also found, which may help counselors assist their clients through the healing process. ^