Born in the community of Wendake in May 1964, Pierre Picard has devoted his career to bridging the gap between the indigenous and non-indigenous worlds in order to teach and apply tools and approaches that promote mental and spiritual well-being. A proud, enthusiastic and determined man, Pierre is an exceptional communicator and teacher.
After one semester at the University of Ottawa Law School, the young man studied journalism and political science at Université Laval. Passionate about public policy issues, he became a researcher at the National Assembly of Québec. Then in January 1986, he served as a political advisor to Minister Lise Bacon. In January 1987, he was appointed as a political attaché to the Québec Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries. “The work environment was exhilarating and sometimes stressful, but above all fast-paced,” he says.
In July 1990, he left politics and took on the role of president of the Association Québécoise de l’Industrie de la Pêche (Québec Fishing Industry Association). He was in charge of negotiations with the government and other parties regarding commercial fishing agreements and quotas. Despite the benefits of such a high profile job, he decided to return to university to study psychology and clinical sexology. He obtained a master’s degree in 1996.
His research and then his work helped him to provide answers to complex questions posed by indigenous men, women and children who were victims of sexual assault. The techniques he developed, which incorporate the promotion of indigenous identity into his therapeutic approach, have aided people who were victims of abuse, physical assault and violence during childhood. His clinical intervention programs for people in difficulty have helped many communities support individuals in distress. It’s a heavy burden, but through his actions, Pierre has given a voice to men, women and children suffering from psychological trauma who are sometimes ignored by the authorities.
He has the following advice for youth: “Seek out experiences that excite you—some will be positive, others less so, but all will help you establish your priorities. Respect your life choices and values.” In closing, he says, “Become agents of change by taking inspiration from the indigenous values upheld by our ancestors: love, appreciation, gratitude, humility and respect for yourself and others.”