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Nga Kuaha: Voices and Visions in Maori Healing and Psychiatry

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Wiremu NiaNia, Allister Bush, David Epston
August 2024

Expected release date is 23rd Aug 2024

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Nga Kuaha: Voices and Visions in Maori Healing and Psychiatry explores what it means to hear voices and see visions from the perspectives of Maori healer Wiremu NiaNia and psychiatrist Allister Bush. Wiremu explains Nga Kuaha as referring to doorways and offers entranceways into Maori knowledge about wairua (spirituality) handed down by his forebears and other Maori sources.

The authors provide historical examples of Western mystical experiences and contrasting Western psychiatric and psychological explanations of voices and visions as hallucinations. Further chapters focus on narratives and perspectives from people who have experienced voices and visions, and have had interactions with mental health services, told from multiple viewpoints; individual, whanau (family), Maori healing and psychiatry. The benefits of joint Maori healing and psychiatry approaches on wellbeing are examined. Drawing on their 18-year partnership Wiremu and Allister highlight the harmful colonial impact of psychiatry in suppressing Maori views of voices and visions. They describe ways of working together in clinical practice to address this history of injustice and how to identify whether distressing perceptual experiences may represent Maori cultural experiences, psychiatric or psychological symptoms or all of these.

This book advocates for practices that enable genuine partnerships between Maori healers, other wairua practitioners, and mental health clinicians in order to improve the mental health and spiritual care of Maori and perhaps other peoples.