Pasifika practitioners' experiences : working with people engaged in harmful sexual behaviour : a thesis submitted to Massey University in partial fulfilment of the requirement for the degree of Master of Science in Psychology at Massey University, Albany, New Zealand
Pacific peoples in Aotearoa continue to be over-represented amongst those who demonstrate harmful sexual behaviour (HSB). Given the stigma that often coincides with this behaviour, there is a paucity in existing literature that considers the experiences of those providing treatment for HSB, particularly among Pasifika communities. This becomes even more of a concern for Pasifika people providing treatment to Pasifika with HSB, given the hierarchies, protocols and boundaries that exist within Pasifika communities. This study posed the question; what is the experience of Pasifika practitioners’ working with Pasifika who have demonstrated HSB? The aim of this research was to provide insight into the experience of Pasifika practitioners in this space in the endeavour to provide an exploratory. The objective was threefold; (i) Establish a basis of knowledge that can be built on through future study to support the professional development of Pasifika and non-Pasifika practitioners working with HSB, (ii) Create greater awareness and support within the community for Pasifika practitioners working within the space of HSB, (iii) Determine recommendations for developing culturally appropriate treatment for working with HSB so practitioners can engage in evidence-based practice that is culturally safe. A Pasifika-appropriate Talanoa methodology was employed to navigate data collection with the participation from five Pasifika practitioners who include social workers and psychologists. Data was analysed using thematic analysis. In response to the research question, four overarching themes were identified to depict the experience of Pasifika practitioners; the centrality of the Vā, integrating culture into practice, service to the community and navigating heterogeneity. This study identified the need for future research to focus on a professional development framework for Pasifika practitioners working with HSB. It also highlights that efforts should be made to improve guidelines and supports for Pasifika practitioners working with HSB. Moreover, in the endeavour to create infrastructure and policy that further perpetuates appropriate methodologies, these goals should sought to be achieved in a way that is Pacific by Pacific for Pacific.