Exploring the perceptions of Māori psychologists of providing psychological assistance to Māori via VC technologies : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science in Psychology at Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand

Thumbnail Image
Open Access Location
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Massey University
The Author
Accessibility issues, stigma and lack of culturally appropriate interventions are among barriers that have limited access to help for Māori who have mental health concerns. Videoconference therapy (VC) is well supported in research however its use has not been explored with Māori. Technology is ubiquitous and VC therapy has the potential to mitigate some of the barriers that limit access to effective evidenced-based therapy for those experiencing mental health difficulties. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 8 Māori clinical psychologists in various professional roles, to explore perceptions towards VC technology as a medium for conducting therapy with Māori clients. Data analysis involved reflexive thematic analysis with an inductive approach to coding. The following five themes emerged out of data analysis: (1) Accessibility; (2) Safety; (3) Therapy Space; (4) Diverse Realities, and; (5) Culturally Competent VC therapy with Māori. The perceived benefits of VC included: visual access, the potential to ameliorate accessibility barriers and client comfort/ engagement. There were concerns about conducting therapy from a distance which included: technology limitations, loss of assessment information, and safety concerns and crisis management. Māori culture places importance on physical presence, however, participants felt it was feasible to conduct some cultural processes via VC. Questions were raised about the suitability of VC therapy for different individuals, therapists, areas and severity of distress and therapy type. All participants felt a meaningful therapeutic relationship could be established online although, preferences were for in-person therapy over VC therapy.