Community Healing: A Transcultural Model
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By: Geneva Ensign
Binding: Trade Paper
Size: 8.5" X 5.5"
Publication Date: August 2018
Through simple words and illustrations, this book presents a powerful, practical and visionary model for community healing. It outlines a healing process for individuals and communities that is universal and goes to the core of what it means to be a member of the human family.
The Transcultural Model emerged from a forty-year career of individual and group psychotherapy at the grassroots level in Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities. It is a synthesis of healing principles found in community development and in the wisdom of transpersonal psychologists and Indigenous Knowledge. Elders and transpersonal psychologists are quoted, reminding us all that the rediscovery of the Inner Self/Spirit provides the motivation and the direction for a healing journey.
The interactive and dynamic relationship between the individual and community is explored. In Chapter 7, Louise Gordon, Spokesperson for the Taku River Tlingit First Nation, reviews the community development process, providing guidelines for integrating the spiritual dimension to a holistic approach to community healing. When a community member opts to begin healing, everyone connected to them is affected in some way. Therefore when a part of the whole (an individual) changes, the whole (the community) changes as well. This is inevitable. The deeper and more profound the changes in the individual, the more profound are the changes in the community. This is a powerful dynamic.
Healing Circles are carefully designed to promote the healing process in a safe environment and for the creation of support groups for on-going community healing. Detailed formats for five Circles are provided, ready to be led by Indigenous or non-Indigenous persons who have experience in leading groups and who are dedicated to their own healing.
Geneva Ensign is now retired from a 45-year career in the helping profession. Formerly self-employed, her company, Explorations Counselling & Training Services, provided one-to-one counseling and group psychotherapy, teaching and training in a variety of human relations workshops, community development and social program planning. Her work with Indigenous people began in the early 1970s when she signed a contract to design and deliver experiential learning modules to Indigenous communities whose leaders were enrolled in an innovative (for that time) outreach social work program.
She says, “That experience was the beginning of my “real” education.” She continued to work by contract, learning through each new challenge. Her clients included Indigenous and non-Indigenous individuals, communities and organizations in northwestern Canada: British Columbia, The Yukon, Alberta, Northwest Territories as well as Manitoba and Ottawa. The last ten years of her career involved weeklong residential Healing Circles with the women of the Samson Cree Nation.
Her book, Community Healing: A Transcultural Model, presents the “essence” of what she has learned about healing over the years—that personal healing leads to community healing. Dr. Duane Massing, professor emeritus of social work, Grant MacEwan University, says that Geneva “… distills her decades of experience and wisdom into a powerful, practical and visionary model. It is, through and through, a strength-based book about healing the wounds that beset individuals, families, and communities."
-- Robert Louie, Former Chief of Westbank First Nations, LL.B, OC, H. on. Dr. LL.B
"I fully endorse The Community Healing: A Transcultural Model as a significant framework that will enhance our Maskwacis community towards healing. The journey as an individual alone is much harder than the community as a whole. This holistic model provides us with the aspiration to heal generations to come."
-- Jerry Saddleback, MCC Elder, Maskwacis Cultural College
"It is my pleasure to personally endorse the Community Healing: A Transcultural Model. Our community has been greatly impacted by the effects of the Residential School and have been taking the initiative to support the Truth and Reconciliation recommendations.
We are excited to host the program at Maskwacis Cultural College as it will greatly impact our healing journey as Nehiyewak (Plains Cree People).
Thank you for the opportunity to host and offer our support."
-- Chief Vern Saddleback, Samson Cree Nation
"Community Healing: A Transcultural Model outlines a pathway to healing for individuals and communities, reminding us all that the rediscovery of Spirit provides the motivation and direction for our healing journeys. The Model is based on the belief that as individuals within a community heal, so does the community.
I wholeheartedly endorse this book as a valuable resource in implementing our vision for healing and reconciliation."
-- Dr. Wilton Littlechild, IPC, Grand Chief, Treaty Six Confederacy
“This is the book we have been waiting for. Geneva has succinctly and thoroughly outlined the best sequence of steps for healing individuals and groups. She has both the mind of a scientist and the heart of a saint. How I wish that I had a book like this to guide me when I worked in Indigenous communities.”
-- Mary Lou Johnson, Founder and Past President, Canadian Holistic Nurses Association
“This book has the potential to change social work practice in Indigenous communities.”
-- Dr. Claudine Louis, President Maskwacis Cultural College
“This book is so awesome! Geneva’s writing—and her understanding behind it—is so sensitive and reaches out clearly and hopefully to the reader This is what every First Nations community needs--and every church—and every group that is supposed to be a community!”
-- Norma Hill, editor.
“You do have a model that transcends culture. No matter what lens people will filter it through, it works.”
-- Glenn Olien, author
“Thank you for the lives that you were able to help in our community and may the Creator provide many Blessings to you.”
--Terry Buffalo, former chief, Samson Cree Nation
“Geneva is an accomplished writer, a deep thinker, researcher, organizer and very compassionate. I highly recommend Geneva’s book to all those working for Truth and Reconciliation.”
-- Blair Jean, author
“You were instrumental in my life. Forever grateful.”
-- Corinne Potts, Samson Cree Nation
“I had a visit with a treasure, Geneva Ensign.”
-- Sara Potts, Samson Cree Nation
"I have been working in Rwanda for the past five years, conducting Healing Retreats for women and youth who have been traumatized. With a history of colonization and genocide I see many similarities between the people of Rwanda and the Aboriginal peoples in Canada. For these peoples traditional culture has been disrupted in violent ways and they need to again value who they are in order to heal. I found this book, Community Healing: A Transcultural Model, helpful in outlining ways to move from individual healing to community healing. The exercises are respectful of the cultural as they guide individuals to value who they are and how they can impact the community to bring about wholesome changes. Thank you for your words of wisdom. ”
-- Dr. Kea Neufeld, Principal & Dean, St. Stephen's College, University of Alberta
"Geneva Ensign’s transcultural training model has deep roots. It was inspired and informed, defined and refined, by her direct engagement with Indigenous communities for more than four decades. I first met Geneva as a classmate in the University of Alberta’s Master’s Program in Community Development in 1970-72. We then worked as colleagues with several others conducting social impact studies where major industries were moving into an area. While small group workshops became an important tool for gathering local Indigenous perspectives, the seeds for this training model were beginning to take root as well.
It wasn’t long until the historical issue, deeper than the then ‘current’ social impact of industry, began to be addressed! The trauma of this deeper issue, of which Residential Schools were but a symptom, would chart the course for Geneva’s future that has resulted in her assembling this training model for personal and community healing.
It has proven transcultural application, which is why Dr. Kae Neufeld, former Dean of St. Stephen’s College in Alberta, is finding it useful for the trauma victims of the Rwandan genocide.”
-- Dr. Ike Glick, Ph.D, Edmonton, Alberta