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Toward a Decolonial Approach to Psychosocial Accompaniment from the “Outside”

Part of the Community Psychology book series (COMPSY)

Abstract

Ecopsychosocial accompaniment can occur between members of a shared community or between member(s) of two or more different communities. When accompanists come from “outside,” there is danger of acting out colonial patterns of “helping” that culturally invade, depower, and disrespect those “inside.” A decolonial approach to accompaniment from the “outside” requires a fundamental re-orientation for those who have been born into and/or educated into white, economic, and/or social privilege. An ethical approach to mutual accompaniment requires critical reflection on one’s own positionality and its effects. It may require depowering and deprivileging oneself as much as possible in order to support the leadership and voices of those from within a community. This reorientation enables accompaniment to potentially become a mutual process of co-liberation that can over time transform into committed solidarity for more just relations.

Keywords

If you come here to help me, you are wasting your time.

If you come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.

—Aboriginal Activist Group, Queensland, Australia, 1970’s

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Watkins, M. (2021). Toward a Decolonial Approach to Psychosocial Accompaniment from the “Outside”. In: Stevens, G., Sonn, C.C. (eds) Decoloniality and Epistemic Justice in Contemporary Community Psychology. Community Psychology. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-72220-3_6

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