Journal of Youth and Adolescence

, Volume 43, Issue 3, pp 470–490 | Cite as

Invited Commentary: Fostering Resilience Among Native American Youth Through Therapeutic Intervention

  • Michael Tlanusta Garrett
  • Mark Parrish
  • Cyrus Williams
  • Lisa Grayshield
  • Tarrell Awe Agahe Portman
  • Edil Torres Rivera
  • Elizabeth Maynard
Empirical Research


This article offers a comprehensive overview and understanding of the needs of Native American Youth for researchers, educators, and practitioners based on current research and practice. Strengths and protective factors are discussed in terms of Native strengths in context, the strengths and resilience of Native ways, Indigenous ways of knowing, the relationship between cultural identity and the tribal nation, the importance of family, the roles of the wisdom keepers, spiritual ways, and communication styles. Contextual influences are explored in terms of the relationship between history and healing from intergenerational grief and trauma, the influence of acculturation, as well as current social, economic, and political issues that affect Native youth. Implications for research and therapeutic intervention are explored in terms of healing from historical trauma and oppression. The authors offer an overview of common presenting issues and recommendations, practical tribally-specific interventions, and reflections on what it means to work from a social justice and client/community advocacy perspective with a focus on providing effective therapeutic, culturally-based interventions with Native children and adolescents that promote resilience and foster positive development with this population.


Native American youth Resilience Culture Mental health issues Counseling Therapeutic intervention 


Author contributions

MG and MP conceived of the article, drafted the manuscript; and coordinated contributions by coauthors. CW drafted and revised content in the Strengths and Protective Factors section as well as the overall manuscript. LG drafted and revised content for the Indigenous Ways of Knowing section as well as the section on Spirituality. TP assisted with drafting and revision of content in the section on Strengths and Protective Factors, Native Challenges in Context, Current Conditions, and Efforts, Practical, Tribally-Specific Interventions. ET assisted with revision of the overall manuscript as well as content for the Implications section. EM conducted final formatting and reference checking as well as final revisions. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael Tlanusta Garrett
    • 1
  • Mark Parrish
    • 1
  • Cyrus Williams
    • 2
  • Lisa Grayshield
    • 3
  • Tarrell Awe Agahe Portman
    • 4
  • Edil Torres Rivera
    • 5
  • Elizabeth Maynard
    • 6
  1. 1.Department of Clinical and Professional StudiesUniversity of West GeorgiaCarrolltonUSA
  2. 2.Regent UniversityVirginia BeachUSA
  3. 3.New Mexico State UniversityLas CrucesUSA
  4. 4.University of IowaIowa CityUSA
  5. 5.The Chicago School of Professional Psychology Chicago CampusChicagoUSA
  6. 6.University of St. ThomasHoustonUSA

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