Alan Butler, Psy.D., is a 2020 graduate of the Ph.D. Program in Counselor Education and Supervision at Antioch University, Seattle.

Dissertation Committee

Philip Cushman, PhD, Committee Chair

Anne Perez Hattori, PhD, Committee Member

Patricia Russell, PsyD, Committee Member


Guam, colonialism, psychology, hermeneutic research, political resistance, Chamoru rights, activism

Document Type


Publication Date



The psychological literature conducted in Guam on indigenous practices of resistance to colonialism is nonexistent. This dissertation responds to this absence in the literature by conducting an exploratory hermeneutic study on the lived experience of members of Chamoru rights groups in Guam. Data for this study were collected through semi-structured interviews with eight members of Chamoru rights groups. Results indicated that engagement in a Chamoru rights group can be a deeply meaningful experience that involves education, activism, and being part of a supportive community. This community was felt to be healing, allowing for active engagement with community issues and against harms perpetuated by colonialism. Further, culture was found to play an important part in the expression of social practices in Chamoru rights groups. Discussion centered on psychological clinical applications of findings such as the importance of history and community in the Chamoru contextual-interpersonal self described by participants. This configuration of the self suggests that psychological treatment should respect the historical experiences of the people of Guam as well as the importance of community. It also suggests that clinicians should be wary of a token approach to the application of culturally sensitive psychological treatment in Guam. Limitations for this study included the low number of participants, majority of participants identifying as male, and majority of participants having obtained a graduate degree. It is likely that individuals from different contexts would have alternative perspectives about their involvement in Chamoru rights groups. These limitations suggest that future research could be conducted in this topic with a more diverse population to allow for a broader range of perspectives.


Alan Butler, Psy.D., 2020

ORCID Scholar ID #0000-0003-3623-8806