Date of Graduation

Spring 5-19-2023

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


School of Education


International and Multicultural Education


International & Multicultural Education EdD

First Advisor

David Donahue

Second Advisor

Monisha Bajaj

Third Advisor

Daniela Dominguez


Decolonizing mental health at large entails transformations in research, curriculum, and praxis. Activist scholars and mental health practitioners at the frontlines of social justice struggles must take part in collaborative inquiry that re-centers decolonial knowledge and praxis.

Taking a decolonizing approach to research requires more than selecting a specific technique or method. We must also consider the context in which the research is being designed as well as the implications of the research, its values, its claims, and its relation to power. This means creating avenues beyond those privileged by cartesian dichotomies to access embodied knowledge, not only disembodied intellectual knowledge. This qualitative study uses He/a/r/tography, a research methodology created by the author drawing on a/r/tography a form of arts based educational research. He/a/r/tography is a unique philosophical orientation to research that offers epistemological, ontological, axiological, and methodological foundations towards decolonizing knowledge and mental health research and praxis. This study was conducted with a group of mental health practitioners who come together as a community of practice to learn from each other and re-imagine their clinical practice. Findings have implications for continuing education and training beyond the mental health profession and argue for the beneficial interconnectedness of heart centered pedagogies, art-based teaching, and learning, and decolonial frameworks. The weaving of these approaches generates a model towards a decolonial future in mental health.