Wednesday, March 2, 2022, 8:15 - 9:15 PM Eastern

Iwankapiya (Healing) - Historical Trauma and Unresolved Grief Intervention and Group Interpersonal Psychotherapy for American Indians

Supported by the Group Foundation’s Mitchell Hochberg Memorial Public Education Fund

Featured Speakers: 

Maria Yellow Horse Brave Heart, PhD, Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, University of New Mexico

Josephine Chase, PhD, MSW, Psychotherapy, Consultant, Horse Nation Healing, Inc. Rapid City, SD

Braveheart and Chase

American Indians face pervasive trauma exposure, collective histories of communal suffering, and elevated risk for depression and posttraumatic stress disorder. In addition to socioeconomic barriers, access to culturally responsive treatment is limited, which may compromise treatment engagement. The Iwankapiya study piloted the Historical Trauma and Unresolved Grief Intervention (HTUG), combined with Group Interpersonal Psychotherapy (IPT), to reduce symptoms of depression and related trauma and grief.  HTUG + IPT or IPT Only groups were conducted at two tribal sites: one Northern Plains reservation (n-26) and one Southwest urban clinic (n-26).  Depression scores significantly decreased for both treatments, but there were no significant differences in depression between the two groups.  However, HTUG + IPT participants demonstrated significantly greater group engagement. Postintervention, clinicians expressed preference for HTUG+IPT based upon qualitative observations of greater perceived gains among participants. Given the degree of trauma exposure in tribal communities, these findings in a relatively small sample suggest HTUG should be further examined in context of treatment engagement. In addition to describing the study, Drs. Braveheart and Chase will discuss the importance of cultural context and describe how they came to recognize the need for the study.  They will also share specific elements of the HTUG.

Maria Yellow Horse Brave Heart, PhD, (Hunkpapa and Oglala Lakota) is Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and Clinician Educator. Dr. Brave Heart joined the faculty of the University of New Mexico (UNM) Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences in October 2010. Dr. Brave Heart graduated in 1974 from Tufts University with her Bachelor of Science in Psychology, magna cum laude. Dr. Brave Heart received her Master of Science in Social Work (MSSW) then graduated in 1976 from Columbia University School of Social Work (CUSSW), an Ivy League institution, in the clinical tract. Dr. Brave Heart worked as a therapist and clinical supervisor in both reservation and urban clinics, and studied part-time in psychoanalytic institutes - Center for Modern Psychoanalytic Studies in New York and Colorado. Dr. Brave Heart completed her doctoral education at Smith College School for Social Work (SSW), part of the Ivy League as well, in 1995. SSW’s origins were steeped in trauma treatment, especially focusing on “war neurosis” in World War I, the precursor to PTSD. Given the high rates of enlistment in the military among American Indians, Dr. Brave Heart’s education and her doctoral dissertation focused on trauma healing for tribal communities, particularly historical trauma and unresolved grief. Dr. Brave Heart was appointed Assistant Professor in 1992 and in 1995 after completing her dissertation The Return to the Sacred Path: Healing Historical Trauma and Unresolved Grief Among the Lakota, Dr. Brave Heart was promoted to tenured Associate Professor at the University of Denver Graduate School of Social Work (DU-GSSW) and advanced to tenured Associate Professor. Columbia University then recruited Dr. Brave Heart as Associate Professor. Dr. Brave Heart was also a recipient of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Minority Doctoral Fellowship for leadership in mental health. She is a member of the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies (ISTSS) and has been Chair and Co-Chair of the ISTSS Special Interest Group on Intergenerational Trauma and Resilience for several years. 

More recently, Dr. Brave Heart was awarded a National Institute of Mental Health R34 pilot clinical randomized trial comparing the Historical Trauma and Unresolved Grief Intervention that she developed combined with Group Interpersonal Therapy (IPT) vs IPT alone. Participants and providers reported preference for the HTUG+IPT vs IPT Only. There was greater group engagement and providers expressed preference for the HTUG component. The results of the study are published in a recent paper which we will forward separately. 

Josephine Chase, PhD, MSW (Mandan/Hidatsa – Yanktonai/Hunkpapa) is Consultant /Director Horse Nation Healing, Inc., former Acting Director Oyate Health Center, former Deputy Behavioral Health Director Sioux San Indian Health Service, Rapid South Dakota. Dr. Chase is former Social Work Faculty with Oglala Lakota College, she previously was the Associate Director of the Takini Network/Institute, based in Rapid City, South Dakota, a Native collective devoted to community healing from intergenerational massive group trauma. Since 1992, she has collaborated in the development of the Historical Trauma and Unresolved Grief Intervention (HTUG), recognized as an exemplary model, in a special minority initiative, by the Center for Mental Health Services in 2001. In 2009 HTUG was selected as a ‘Tribal Best Practice’ by the First Nations Behavioral Health Association, the Pacific Substance Abuse and Mental Health Collaborating Council, and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). 

Dr. Chase was Principal Investigator at the Tribal site in South Dakota for a NIMH-funded R34 pilot study Iwankapiya-Healing: Historical Trauma Practice and Group IPT for American Indians. The goal of Iwankapiya is to examine the effectiveness of the HTUG intervention combined with group Interpersonal Psychotherapy (IPT) for American Indian adults with depression and related disorders. Dr. Chase is also Co-Principal Investigator of the OLC American Indian Higher Education Consortium Behavioral Health Research Project funded by the Native American Research Centers for Health, under an initiative to create Behavioral Health research and curricula at Tribal Colleges and Universities. Dr. Chase has extensive history providing direct practice and supervision in Child Welfare, and Mental Health therapy with individuals, families, and groups She is trained and certified in providing Equine Assisted Psychotherapy.

Currently Dr. Chase provides Equine Assisted Psychotherapy to patients healing from PTSD, Depression, Anxiety and other disorders, as well as provides Teletherapy for Behavioral Health through private practice. She also offers consulting and training regarding Historical Trauma and other Behavioral Health related topics.

Learning Objectives:
The attendee will be able to:
1. Review assessment and treatment innovations that integrate the 4 components of the 
Historical Trauma and Unresolved Grief intervention with Interpersonal Psychotherapy.
2. Explain and discuss the relationship of past and recent traumatic events and the effect on current life experiences of American Indian individuals, families and communities.
3. Synthesize research findings of a NIMH funded clinical research intervention to treat depression and trauma related symptoms in American Indian populations in a culturally effective manner.