Counseling Interventions for Native American Adolescents

Date of Award


Document Type



Counselor Education

First Advisor

Robin Alcala Saner


Native Americans in the United States have faced discriminatory practices in multiple institutions since the rapid colonization of the continent by White Europeans. These discriminatory practices include unfair treaties, forced movement onto reservations and other practices. Even in education, Native American youth faced discrimination including assimilation schools. Traditional counseling practices were designed with white clients and students in mind, thus they are not best practice for all clients. The American School Counselor Association (ASCA) Professional Standards and Competencies expect school counselors to work in the best interest of all students, including Native American students. School counselors are further expected to understand and respect the different cultural backgrounds of their students (ASCA). To work in the best interest of all students’ school counselors must become multiculturally competent and utilize counseling interventions suited for students of all cultures. The best practices when working with Native American youth include trauma-informed schools, strengthbased and resiliency practices, Indigenous ways of knowing, mindfulness-based interventions, medicine wheels, and motivational interviewing. These practices have been proven to be effective when working with this unique population because the practices are more aligned with traditional Native American values.

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