Document Type



Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence



Publication Details

Legitimate Ireland Conference, Queens University Belfast, 2012.


Indigenous psychologies can be defined as the scientific study of human behaviour (or the mind) that is native, that is not transported from other regions, and that is designed for its people. However within contemporary Irish mental health settings the language, concepts and methods of psychological investigation originate from Anglo-Saxon and Protestant culture which were first transported to Ireland during colonial times. Furthermore many authors have described a link between the ‘scientific’ furnishing of deviant behaviour categories and the non-scientific but wealth generating business of conquest. As a perceived negative trajectory in the ‘mental health’ of Irish men juxtaposes with increasing concerns regarding the scientific validity and imperialistic nature of current mental health categories and solutions the current research illuminates an indigenous research project which may contribute to more culturally valid, empowering and ultimately more successful outcomes. Irish men who sought to understand and address their psychological distress through participation in a men’s group used a Grounded Theory philosophy and methodology to conduct Inclusive Research. Members interviewed each other, conducted the analysis and presented the findings. In contrast to hegemonic reductionist practices psychological distress was understood as originating from diverse temporally advantageous pain relieving but ultimately dysfunctional coping mechanisms arising from problematic relationships and circumstances. Resolving psychological distress involved exploring these coping mechanisms and engaging in a range of psycho-therapeutic and psycho-educational endeavours. An exclusively male setting, among like minded individuals was both necessary and sufficient for these men to disclose, understand and address their psychological distress.