“Two-eyed seeing” is a concept that was originated by Elder Albert Marshall of Sydney, Nova Scotia, and Cape Breton University to give indigenous epistemology and knowledge equal status with mainstream scientific perspectives and knowledge. In M’iqmaq, the word is Etuaptmunk. In English, it means the idea of explanatory pluralism. Within most indigenous cultures, the mind is not considered separately from body, community, and spirituality, unlike the silos created in the dominant culture.
Healing must involve the body, the community, and the spirits. In this lecture, we are going to introduce the two-eyed seeing concept to explore how to work with trauma from both an indigenous perspective and contemporary neuroscience and psychological research. We are especially interested in the role that trauma plays in addictions and in the so-called “severe mental illnesses,” and how our approach to people in distress must also be trauma-informed.
This introductory lecture is designed for practitioners who provide counselling in indigenous communities. It is also open to those providing counselling in other communities who want to see how indigenous practices could enrich their work, as well as to others who are just curious about Indigenous cultures and mental health.