Caring Connections

Giving Psychology Away

The American Indian and Alaska Native

Society of Indian Psychologists


Among our communities, there is a practice of providing for others who are in need, have suffered a loss, are facing life changing events or are about to embark on a new path. A giveaway at a gathering is marked by honoring major events in a persons life, usually related to being part of the community, like dancing for the first time or for those coming out of mourning.  This honoring is done with respect and dignity.  With this spirit, we are offering some of what we have learned, to help our communities in this time of COVID-19.

The underlying principles of psychology for well being is not new to Native communities. Many of our communities currently do not have access to mental health services, or there is a greater need than what is available. Sometimes, what is available may not be what is best for the community, and reflect ways of understanding or healing that do not resonate or connect with Indigenous people. SIP members can offer information with humility and understanding that some of these efforts will fall short. We hope that you will continue with us as we connect with others, in and outside of the Society of Indian Psychologists, to provide information, tools and connections to promote healing in our communities.


We offer opportunities to connect and learn, providing resources and creating a virtual community. Most recently, one of our SIP members, Dr. Royleen Ross, coordinated a virtual event to honor Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.  Those who signed up were encouraged to walk in solidarity to bring awareness to this epidemic and also provide support to those who are grieving and traumatized.  Dr. Tina Lincourt, worked to connect with a tribal community, and hosted an opportunity to do bead work, as a practice of healing through art. Efforts are underway to also provide Indigenous communities with accessible information on grief and loss, as COVID-19 continues to impact the lives of so many.  We see all of these efforts as a reflection of emotional medicine, giving psychology away as an effort to contribute to the healing of hearts and minds. We see this as spirit medicine.