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Psychology in Fiji: complexity and new horizons for the Isles of Smiles

Ramkumar, Neeta A. and Swann, Ofa and Tuvuki, Tima (2022) Psychology in Fiji: complexity and new horizons for the Isles of Smiles. In: Psychology in Oceania and the Caribbean. International and Cultural Psychology . Springer Nature, Cham, Switzerland, pp. 19-32. ISBN 978-3-030-87762-0

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Paradisiacal images of Fiji mask the complex realities, threats, and vulnerabilities of the population that require local psychology expertise. As the most diverse and urbanized island country in the South Pacific, Fiji also serves as an educational, commercial, and cultural hub for the region. Fiji faces political instability, ethnic tension, neocolonial pressure, climate disasters, and many social challenges. There is an estimated 90% treatment gap across all mental disorders and one of the highest rates of suicide—for youth in particular—in the world. With the profession of psychology in its infancy, mental health capacity building in Fiji is bottlenecked by the shortfall of adequate supervision infrastructure despite counseling, social work, and psychiatry programs already in place. Practicing psychologists must distinguish themselves from a colonial legacy in mental health while complementing dominant understandings and traditional practices. This chapter reviews cultural meanings of mental illness in Fiji, as well as the past, present, and future context for mental health services and psychology education. The authors envision a sustainable future for psychology which adopts a telepsychology training clinic model and leverages international partnerships to provide a pathway for independent practice for professional psychologists at the regional level. Fijian psychologists will be tasked with identifying cultural norms, adapting prevailing models, and defining ethical practice for their people. These creative decolonization and indigenization processes have transformative potential in which the representation of Fijian psychologies and peoples will shape the future of the region, and the field of psychology itself.

Item Type: Book Chapter
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Divisions: School of Law and Social Sciences (SoLaSS)
Depositing User: Fulori Nainoca - Waqairagata
Date Deposited: 10 Apr 2022 22:01
Last Modified: 10 Apr 2022 22:01

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