In this paper I explore the complexity of psychological cross-cultural research, particularly noting the ways in which cross-cultural mental health research and the global mental health movement are still driven by Western conceptualizations of mental health. By taking up decolonial theory through autoethnographic methods, I consider the responsibility, ethics, and tensions in conducting cross-cultural mental health research, particularly as a White researcher with non-White, non-Western participants. Ongoing reflexivity as a researcher and practitioner offers the opportunity to engage in culturally responsive practices that continue challenging the coloniality of Western psychology which can pervade global mental health studies when unchecked. I put forth liberatory practices such as attending to insider voices and engaging in relational practices between researcher and participants as opportunities for cross-cultural researchers to engage in rigorous research that is responsive to the local culture and active in decolonizing the field of psychological and mental health research.


autoethnography, cross cultural research, decolonization

Author Bio(s)

Amber Kelley is a trauma-informed marriage and family therapist, doctoral candidate, and budding cross-cultural researcher. Her work considers the impact of trauma, including the trauma of discrimination, marginalization, and oppression on minoritized communities, with a particular emphasis on the mental health effects of trauma on Southeast Asian nationals and refugees. Her work further critically examines her own positionality as a white researcher, troubling the white, Western gaze and seeking decolonizing scholarship and practices within the field of psychology, mental health, and family science. Please direct correspondence to amber.kelley@uga.edu.

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