The Aboriginal concept of time and its mental health implications

Aleksandar Janca, C. Bullen

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    45 Citations (Scopus)


    Objective: To explore the Aboriginal concept of time and discuss its impact on the assessment and management of Indigenous mental health problems in Australia.Conclusions: The Aboriginal concept of time differs from the Judeo-¬Christian perception of time in that Aboriginal people do not perceive time as an exclusively ‘linear’ category (i.e. past−present−future) and often place events in a ‘circular’ pattern of time according to which an individual is in the centre of ‘time-circles’ and events are placed in time according to their relative importance for the individual and his or her respective community (i.e. the more important events are perceived as being ‘closer in time’). Such an important difference in perception of time contributes to the limited applicability of standard assessment procedures in psychiatry and creates numerous difficulties in providing culturally appropriate mental health services to -Aboriginal people in Australia.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)S40-S44
    JournalAustralasian Psychiatry
    Issue numbersupplement
    Publication statusPublished - 2003

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