Counseling Native American Indians

Insights from Conversations with Beaver (First Edition)
"Gene" Hightower and "Beaver" Berry
©2018, 152 pages

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Counseling Native American Indians

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    Counseling Native American Indians: Insights from Conversations with Beaver expertly weaves the story of Beaver, a member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma who embraced Native American Indian spiritual practices to overcome substance abuse, together with insights on how to incorporate the cultural beliefs underlying these practices into daily living. The book also offers guidance to non-indigenous counselors and others who wish to work effectively within the Native American Community in reservation or urban settings.

    In opening chapters readers learn from Beaver’s detailed account practical insights on Indian cultural values from growing up in a communal Choctaw community in Oklahoma. Subsequent chapters feature interviews with Beaver, which recount his experiences growing up in a loving Choctaw family that was led by a medicine man uncle, surviving abuse in an Indian boarding school, surviving combat in the Pacific during World War ll, and relocating into an urban Indian community where he started a substance abuse treatment program for Native American Indians. He recounts his evolution from substance abuser to a leader of traditional ceremonies such as the sweat lodge and vision quest. He became a highly respected healer who helped many find relief from physical and emotional problems, as recounted by other individuals in this book. The book also offers information on the structure of the modern day Native American Indian community and stresses the importance of modern day Indians adhering to traditional values.

    Counseling Native American Indians simultaneously shares the inspiring story of Beaver’s life while providing valuable advice for counseling Native American populations. The text is well suited for courses in Native American Studies and psychology and counseling, especially those that focus on multicultural approaches.

    This textbook is part of the Cognella Series on Advances in Culture, Race, and Ethnicity. The series, co-sponsored by Division 45 of the American Psychological Association, addresses critical and emerging issues within culture, race, and ethnic studies, as well as specific topics among key ethnocultural groups.

    “Gene” Hightower is a licensed psychologist and a past director of mental health services at the Native American Health Center in Oakland, California. He has also taught Native American Psychology courses at the University of California Berkeley and Stanford University. He has extensive training in academic psychology from prestigious universities, including Harvard, the University of California Berkeley, and the University of California San Francisco. Dr. Hightower earned his Ph.D. in social clinical psychology from the Wright Institute. He is of Choctaw, Cherokee, and Creek ancestry.
    “Beaver” Berry was an enrolled member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma. After overcoming his addiction to drugs and alcohol, Beaver attended the University of the Pacific and became a certified substance abuse counselor. He also became a recognized ceremonial leader. He dedicated his life to helping others find sobriety, form a better relationship between themselves and the Creator, and in that process find joy.
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    “Counseling Native American Indians: Insights from Conversations with Beaver is a powerful book. I am thankful Gene Hightower dedicated himself to beautifully sharing Beaver’s life story and his important insights on life and spirituality. I will highly recommend this text to my students and colleagues.
    Teresa D. LaFromboise, Ph.D., M.Ed.
    Chair of Native American Studies, Center for the Comparative Study of Race and Ethnicity
    Professor of Developmental and Psychological Sciences, Graduate School of Education, Stanford University

    “Counseling Native Americans is a remarkable book. It informs, amuses, and delights. Dr. Gene Hightower's conversations with "Beaver," his Native American friend and medicine man, contain wisdom, advice, and humor that enable readers to counsel, relate, and engage with people from other ethnic groups. Although suited for classroom settings, the book can be read for its own merits, since it is to the point, engaging, and thought provoking. The questions in the Appendix are well suited for counseling and psychology students, but are appropriate for general readers who will be stimulated and inspired by them. It is a splendid contribution to the literature on American Indian healing practices, as well as cross-cultural studies.”
    Stanley Krippner, Ph.D.
    Co-author, The Voice of Rolling Thunder

    "In Counseling Native American Indians, psychologist Gene Hightower (Choctaw/Cherokee/Creek) offers a powerful contribution to the contemporary portrayal of indigenous healing traditions. Drawing on his interviews with Choctaw ceremonial leader Turner Arthur 'Beaver' Berry, Jr., Hightower recounts the captivating life story of this compelling individual—told mostly in Beaver’s own words—and sets forth his remarkable spiritual teachings. Eminently teachable, this book should be required reading for clinicians and students across the helping professions. Beyond this, anyone with interests in anthropology, Native American Studies, or indigenous lifeways will find strength and resilience in these pages."
    Professor Joseph P. Gone (Gros Ventre), Harvard University