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An Indigenous Approach to Emotional Competency

New West Campus
November 21, 2017 9:00am - 4:00pm


In this workshop, Dr. Lee Brown will share a theory of holistic emotional education that he has developed over decades of work in more than five hundred Indigenous communities.  Dr. Brown’s approach is oriented to the regaining of emotional competencies and skills necessary to become competent people in mature and peaceful relationships. The importance of emotional competency in relation to personal, family and community health is discussed with an emphasis on recent scientific exploration of emotion, feeling and health. In addition, the workshop reviews traditional Elder’s teachings of heart knowledge as essential to a holistic orientation to emotional competency.

Emotional Intelligence is explored in relation to the creation of emotional competency and emotional skill: which is the ability to choose the emotional states that provide optimum support to achieve success and health in life. The workshop explores six principles of emotional competency that can develop emotional maturity in relation to parenting and relationship skills.  The six principles discussed are:

  1. Awareness and identification of emotions.
  2. Emotional communication and the development of an emotional vocabulary.
  3. Emotions and their relation to healthy identity and value integrity,
  4. Emotional feedback and the importance of reflection, interpretation and appraisal skills.
  5. The development of emotional skills.
  6. The importance of emotional health. 

The workshop focuses on the elements of a healthy emotional identity including:

  1.  A healthy body awareness: feeling good about our physical presence
  2. Self-concept: feeling good about being intelligent
  3. Self-Image: feeling good about our mirror image
  4. Self-esteem; feeling good about how we feel
  5. Self-determination: feeling good about what we can become in life in relation to our unique gift and identity.

The workshop includes a discussion of the principles of healthy emotional communication and being responsible for one’s own emotional choices. A number of emotional skills are discussed with pointers on how to integrate and develop emotional skill into everyday life.

In addition, emotional competency is explored in relation to Aboriginal traditions and ceremony. The smudge ceremony and talking circles are discussed as methods of creating and maintaining emotional health and well-being. This workshop provides participants with the possibility of exploring their emotional reality and establishing the foundation for ongoing emotional growth and maturation.

About the Presenter:

Dr. Lee Brown is the former Director of the Institute of Aboriginal Health in the College of Health Disciplines, and the Indigenous Doctoral Program in the Department of Educational Studies, at The University of British Columbia.  He wrote his Doctoral Thesis, entitled: Making the Classroom a Healthy Place: The Development of Affective Competency in Aboriginal Pedagogy, at UBC.  Lee is the Co-author of The Sacred Tree, an educational curriculum based in Aboriginal values and epistemology.  He has also contributed to the Round Lake Native Healing Centre in Vernon, BC during the last Thirty years in a number of capacities including clinical supervisor and currently as a cultural resource to the centre.  Lee has been the keynote speaker at over one hundred Aboriginal conferences. He has been invited to share his knowledge of culture and healing in over five hundred Indigenous communities in North America.

Dr. Brown has developed a theory of holistic emotional education that is predicated upon six principles of emotional competency that arise out of his research in the area of affective education and learning. Lee also facilitates the annual Emotional Education Conference and is a co-founder of the Global Emotional Education Association. Lee is published in Academic Journals on the subject of Emotional Education including the Canadian Journal of Native Education and AlterNative: A New Zealand International Journal of Indigenous Scholarship. Lee has also served as the guest editor of the UBC Educational Leadership Journal. 

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Last updated September 18, 2017