Positive Effects of Cultural Practice

Contribution by Denise Middlebrook, PhD, with introduction by Maria Griffin

During an evaluation coaching call with South Dakota Indian Urban Health, Dr. Brenda Freeman recommended an article that discussed the use of culture to meet the needs of those utilizing behavioral health. Denise graciously reviewed the article and has provided a summary below.

Many of you know Dr. Brenda Freeman as one of our BH2I evaluation team members. She provides evaluation TTA for several BH2I grantees and is working with them to gather cross-site evaluation data for the national cross-site evaluation of the BH2I project for IHS. She recently shared a study with the BH2I TTA team on the positive effects of traditional healing, cultural practices, and promotion of cultural identity. Because one of the key elements of the BH2I project is to include cultural programming into your integration approaches, we wanted to share this study with all of our BH2I grantees. We know that many of you have woven strong cultural components into your clinical programming and others of you are working on this or still trying to figure it out.

The study is entitled “The Value of Lakota Traditional Health for Youth Resiliency and Family Functioning” (Freeman, 2016). The results of the study show perceived positive changes for youth who had serious emotional and behavioral problems when they participate in traditional healing and cultural practices and that traditional healing and cultural practices can contribute significantly to psychosocial strength building and family functioning.

While the study did not examine traditions and culture in patient’s compliance and satisfaction in a medical and behavioral health clinic setting, it suggests the potentially powerful influence that integrating these elements into the work you do in your clinics can have on the outcomes you would like to see for your patients.

The article will be available on the digital tool kit and can be accessed through this link: The Value of Lakota Traditional Healing for Youth Resiliency and Family Functioning.pdf

Freeman, B.J., Coll, K.M., Two Dogs, R., Two Dogs Iron Cloud, E., Iron Cloud, E., & Robertson, P. (2016) The Value of Lakota Traditional Healing for Youth Resiliency and Family Functioning. Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment & Trauma, 25(5), 455-469. https://doi.org/10.1080/10926771.2015.1079282