Willow Psychology is located in amiskwaciwâskahikan, the Nēhiyawēwin (Plains Cree) name for Edmonton, where many Indigenous People have gathered for thousands of years. We recognize those who traditionally cared for this land – the Nêhiyaw-Askiy (Plains Cree) Ĩyãħé Nakón makóce (Stoney), Tsuu T’ina, and Michif Piyii (Métis) and those who travelled to and through this place, including the Saulteaux, Nakota Sioux and Blackfoot People.
The members of our practice are settlers on this land where Treaty 6 was signed, arriving from other Indigenous territories in North America and Europe. We are grateful for the beauty and sustenance of the diverse ecosystems on this land, and for the values and wisdom that First Nations and Métis People continue to bring to all who share this land.
Our practice is privileged to work in an office building close to the river valley, and we are aware of how the trees, grass and view of the river can help to create a healing space for our clients. We also recognize the history of displacement built alongside Le Marchand Mansion and it’s neighbourhood, and the lack of equitable access to these healing spaces.
We recognize the harmful past and present impacts of colonization on Indigenous Peoples, including the loss of traditional knowledge, language, culture and the physical, psychological and inter-generational harm that continues through systemic injustices. As settlers, we have been separated from the experiences of Indigenous Peoples currently and historically by the systematic exclusion of Indigenous voices and knowledge in our family histories, environments, education and preparation for our careers in psychology.
As individuals, as psychologists, and as a collective practice, we have a responsibility to use the privileges we have been afforded to contribute to this land in a way that honours Indigenous people and the interconnectedness of all who share this land. We commit to upholding the College of Alberta’s Practice Guideline: Working with Indigenous Populations and Communities and to be guided by the Canadian Psychological Association’s report Psychology’s Response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Report. We also commit to annual professional development and learning about the history of colonial harm, as well as Indigenous wisdom, ways of knowing, and values. We make these commitments with a spirit of humility and we recognize that we will never be done with this learning.
The nîpisîy mistik or willow tree has offered many Indigenous and settler cultures medicinal healing and a connection to the earth. The flexible and strong willow branches have gifted many with the opportunity to engage in ceremony and in prayer, gratitude, and honour for those who have walked this earth before us. As a psychology practice, we too are gifted the responsibility of creating a space to receive and hold the stories of our clients.