Banging the same old colonial drum? Moving from individualising practices and cultural appropriation to the ethical application of alternative practices in social work

Canice Curtis, Christine Morley


INTRODUCTION: Western conceptualisations of social work are increasingly interested
in practices considered to be alternative or non-traditional to respond to oppression. While incorporating alternative methods into social work is frequently viewed as unproblematic, we suggest critical reflection is necessary to safeguard against inadvertent, culturally unsafe practice and the uncritical re-inscription of individualised solutions.

APPROACH: In this article, we explore the application of group drumming practices within social work through examination of a critical incident. While the benefits of group drumming are well documented, we use critical reflection to explore ethical challenges of incorporating group drumming practices into social work.

CONCLUSIONS: We highlight strategies for social workers using alternative or non- traditional practices that support cultural humility and critical practice goals. This research holds implications for social workers interested in the potential of alternative practices while remaining committed to critical practice and cultural safety.


Critical social work; critical reflection; group drumming; cultural safety

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