Indigenous families and family counselling

Sort by:
Tailoring a family-based alcohol intervention for Aboriginal Australians, and the experiences and perceptions of health care providers trained in its delivery.
Calabria B, Clifford A, Rose M and Shakeshaft A
BMC Public Health v. 14 7 Apr 2014: Article 322

The Community Reinforcement Approach (CRA) and its related Community Reinforcement and Family Training (CRAFT) model are two cognitive-behavioural interventions that aim to help problem drinkers. This article describes how these two systems were tailored for use with Aboriginal Australians, including the community and health provider consultations, certification, and practitioner feedback.

A systematic review of family-based interventions targeting alcohol misuse and their potential to reduce alcohol-related harm in Indigenous communities.
Calabria B, Clifford A, Shakeshaft A and Doran C
Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs v. 73 no. 3 May 2012: 477-488

This article reviews the international evidence on the effectiveness of family-based interventions for alcohol misuse in indigenous communities.

Can family-focussed interventions improve problematic substance use in Aboriginal communities? A role for social work.
Munro A and Allan J
Australian Social Work v. 64 no. 2 Jun 2011: 169-182

Problematic substance use is a significant concern for Aboriginal communities across Australia. Most approaches to intervention are individualised, locating the problem and the solution in the substance user. When problematic use is common within a family and community, individual treatment is likely to be ineffective. A literature review of family-focussed and culturally specific drug and alcohol interventions was conducted to inform the development of family-focussed interventions in the community setting. The review supports the development of family-focussed interventions, suggesting this approach will be culturally appropriate and effective for Aboriginal communities. The potential role of social work in working with Aboriginal communities on problematic substance use, and likely barriers for the profession, are discussed.

Program spotlight : Yorgum Aboriginal Family Counselling Service.
Lawrence M
Family Relationships Quarterly no. 17 2010: 19-21

Services provided by organisations managed and staffed by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with strong ties to the local community offer their clients an alternative to non-Indigenous services. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff are able to empathise with the experiences of their clients, who feel safe and accepted, and understand the complex connections between families and communities. In this article, the author describes an Aboriginal service that draws on a range of therapeutic approaches grounded in Aboriginal philosophies and the practice and personal wisdom of its staff to assist families and communities.

Solid work you mob are doing: case studies in Indigenous dispute resolution and conflict management in Australia. (PDF)
Indigenous Dispute Resolution & Conflict Management Case Study Project, National Alternative Dispute Resolution Advisory Council (Australia), Australia. Federal Court, Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies
Canberra, A.C.T. : National Alternative Dispute Resolution Advisory Council, 2009.

This report presents findings from an investigation into effective practices for managing conflict involving Indigenous people. Drawing upon three main case studies and several shorter snapshot studies, the report provides a comparative analysis of practice issues, and identifies critical factors for effective practice and strategies for their successful implementation. The case studies incorporate several different conflict types and community settings, and include: a mediation conducted by Indigenous practitioners at Halls Creek, Western Australia, involving a long-running feud over three generations of women; a mediation carried out by a Community Justice Centre in a NSW south coast town, involving a dispute between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal neighbours; the work of the Tiwi Youth Diversion and Development Unit in managing family and community conflicts on Bathurst Island, Northern Territory. The smaller case studies include: the Ali-Curung Law and Justice Committee; an entrenched feud in a remote community of 'Thetown'; Indigenous experience within a Family Relationships Centre; Community Justice Group mediations; and a Jealousy Program in the Tiwi Islands. This investigation was conducted as part of the Indigenous Dispute Resolution and Conflict Management Case Study Project.

Culturally responsive family dispute resolution in family relationship centres.
Armstrong S
Family Relationships Quarterly no. 13 2009: 3-7

Family relationship centres (FRCs) are required to liaise and work with local communities to provide services relevant to those communities. Among other things, FRC staff and processes must take account of and be sensitive to the cultural backgrounds of clients. This has led many FRCs to begin to develop innovative approaches to assist and provide family dispute resolution to Indigenous and culturally and linguistically diverse communities. Two FRCs with which the author is associated have initiated research, still in progress, to develop culturally responsive family dispute resolution (FDR). This paper will synthesise some of the issues identified in the literature to provide a framework for thinking about how FRCs, and other service providers in this sector, might provide culturally responsive FDR.

The flipside of sixpence: Aboriginal stories of hope and reconciliation.
Larner G
Australian and New Zealand Journal of Family Therapy v. 25 no. 1 Mar 2004 37-44

This article reports on a 2002 interview with Colleen Brown which continues and extends her project to educate family therapists about Aboriginal experience and culture. Her interview presents the life narrative and painting of Cecily, an Aboriginal artist and writer asked by Colleen to portray her life experience of growing up in a white foster family. Colleen surprises us with a creative message of hope and reconciliation about the stolen generation, because Cecily expresses gratitude to the white family who brought her up. Colleen responds to questions about the significance of Cecily's story, her own words being that Cecily 'did that painting for me like the others so I could show family therapists what the other side of the coin is, the flipside'.

Just therapy - a journey: a collection of papers from the Just Therapy Team, New Zealand.
Waldegrave C, Tamasese K, Tuhaka F and Campbell W
Adelaide, SA : Dulwich Centre Publications, 2003

These writings offer an account of the work of The Just Therapy Team of Wellington, New Zealand. In the first section, there are chapters on therapy in general, and therapy with families and communities. A section on Partnerships across culture and gender has two chapters: Cultural and gender accountability in the 'just therapy' approach; and Furthering conversation about partnerships of accountability: talking about issues of leadership, ethics and care. Three chapters address the section topic of Culturally appropriate therapy: Therapy as metaphorical reflection; Family therapy and the question of power; and The challenges of culture to psychology and postmodern thinking. A section on Spirituality comprises: Grappling with a contemporary and inclusive spirituality; and A spiritual prison tale. Maori ways has two chapters: In the beginning; and Pura Pura Tuku Iho (The seed that has been passed down). Samoan ways are covered in Honouring Samoan ways and understanding; and, Multiple sites of healing. A section titled Matters of gender has the following chapters: Gender and culture - together; and Gender - the impact of western definitions of womanhood on other cultures. Finally, a section addressing Working on issues of violence and abuse comprises: Stop Abuse Project; and Challenges from within the culture.

The treatment of alcohol problems: a review of the evidence
Shand F, Gates J, Fawcett J and Mattick R
Canberra : Dept. of Health and Ageing, 2003.

This report presents a review of the literature on treatments for alcohol abuse. It updates an earlier review from 1993, entitled 'An Outline for the Management of Alcohol Problems: Quality Assurance Project', and forms the evidence base for the companion document, 'Guidelines for the Treatment of Alcohol Problems'. The report features two main sections. The first explains the prevalence and patterns of alcohol drinking in Australia, and its associated harms. The second section reviews the evidence for the effectiveness of the main treatments available for alcohol use disorders, including Patient-treatment matching; Alcohol withdrawal management; Post-withdrawal treatment, including residential treatment; Brief interventions; Psychosocial interventions, including family therapy; Relapse prevention; Extended care; and Treatment issues for specific groups, such as Indigenous people, adolescents, cognitively impaired clients, and people with a comorbid mental illness. Information is also provided on the assessment of alcohol use disorders and the economics of alcohol use.

Adoption and family therapy.
Goodwach R
Australian and New Zealand Journal of Family Therapy v. 24 no. 2 Jun 2003 61-70

The aim of this article is to sensitise family therapists to adoption. A major assertion of the paper is that adoptive families are different from biological families. The family therapy context is a natural framework for examining these issues, as adoption affects and alters both birth and adoptive families, and adoption-related problems occur within the context of the extended family system. The differences between intra-racial (socially-motivated) and inter-racial adoptions are discussed, as well as the differences between closed and open adoptions. The study of families affected by adoption provides a model for other family forms, such as stepfamilies, foster families and families who form through new birth technologies.

Forum papers
Australia. Dept. of Family and Community Services., Relationships Australia., Family Services Australia., Catholic Welfare Australia.
Aust. : Dept. of Family and Community Services, 2002

Abstracts, slides, and documents of presentations from the 'Good practice -- a collaborative quest' forum, held in Sydney, 15-16th May 2002, as part of the Family Relationship Services program Quality Management Strategy Project. A summary of the forum, by RPR Consulting, is also included.

Aboriginal family wellbeing facilitation service: an Indigenous parenting and family wellbeing initiative.
Kelly L
In: Good practice: a collaborative quest: Forum papers, National Forum for Family Relationship Services Program practitioners. Canberra, ACT: Department of Family and Community Services, 2002, 3p

The development and funding of the NSW Aboriginal Family Wellbeing Facilitation Service is discussed in this paper. The paper explains the partnership between the mainstream counselling and mediation service (Interrelate Mid North Coast) and the Aboriginal organisation (Yarrawarra Aboriginal Corporation). The emphasis on Aboriginal community control and ownership of the program are explored, as well as the barriers that were faced in putting the philosophy of community control into practice. The continuing challenges that the service faces in order to provide grass roots Aboriginal community control are also discussed.

What lessons for Australia? A critique of Swartz' view from South Africa.
Shochet I
Australian and New Zealand Journal of Family Therapy v. 22 no. 1 Mar 2001 8-9

The author provides a critique of the article by Leslie Swartz which appears in this issue of the journal (pp.1-7). Swartz describes the struggles of service providers in South Africa who are from a different culture to gain credibility, acceptability and trust when working in a cultural milieu marked by a history of racism, disenfranchisement and imbalance of power. The author draws parallels with Australia and issues that face non Indigenous service providers in Australia when working with Aboriginal communities.

Child sexual abuse.
Bessarab D
In: Dudgeon, P., Garvey, D. and Pickett, H. eds. Working with Indigenous Australians: a handbook for psychologists. Perth, WA: Gunada Press, Curtin Indigenous Research Centre, Curtin University of Technology, 2000, p447-450

Ways of working with an Aboriginal child or young people who has been sexually abuse, are identified in this paper which also discusses how practitioners can work with the families and outlines the rationale behind the problem solving Protective Behaviours program.

Working therapeutically with Aboriginal families.
Mckelvie G
In: Dudgeon, P., Garvey, D. and Pickett, H. eds. Working with Indigenous Australians: a handbook for psychologists. Perth, WA: Gunada Press, Curtin Indigenous Research Centre, Curtin University of Technology, 2000, p271-286

The purpose of this paper is to explore and describe ways in which practitioners can work therapeutically, either from an individual basis with Aboriginal families or in collaboration with other Aboriginal health practitioners. Issues discussed include: the Western concept of the family; the concept of the Aboriginal family and Aboriginal kinship systems; family functions from generic as well as Aboriginal perspectives; the role of the practitioner in utilising the Aboriginal family within the mental health context; Aboriginal approaches to working with Aboriginal families; culturally appropriate family counselling; and confidentiality issues. The Aboriginal Family Futures Program in WA is described.

SA review: is the juvenile justice system failing Aboriginal youth?
Booth B
Rights Now! (Newsletter of the National Children's and Youth Law Centre) Oct 1999 10-11

The second of a series of statistical reports from the Office of Crime Statistics, 'Comparison of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal contact with the South Australian Juvenile Justice System, 1997', was released in June 1999. This article discusses issues raised by the report in relation to new juvenile justice legislation and its impact on the over-representation of Aboriginal youths in court referrals.

Enhancing resilience in indigenous people: the integration of individual, family and community interventions.
Clarke C, Harnett P, Atkinson J and Shochet I
Aboriginal and Islander Health Worker Journal v. 23 no. 4 Jul - Aug 1999 6-10

This paper describes a number of interventions being developed to address the emotional, social and behavioural problems experienced by Aboriginal people in Australia. These are: the We-Al-Li program to help people deal with the impact of transgenerational trauma; and the RAP Indigenous Parenting Program. It is argued that the emotional well being of indigenous people will be enhanced through the integration of interventions targeting the individual, family and community.

What's FaCS up to? Update on the new Department of Family and Community Services.
Family Services Australia Newsletter no. 19 Mar 1999 14-17

One of the key strategic outcomes for the new Department of Family and Community Services is to strengthen family capabilities. Several branches will work together to achieve this outcome, including the Family Relationships Branch. This portfolio overview discusses this, as well as: the release of mediation related research reports; the FAMnet Roll-out; RELATE campaign; indigenous family relationships pilot projects; young women's relationships pilot projects; contact services; the contact orders pilot program, 'Parents Forever'; and Adolescent Mediation and Family Therapy Evaluation. Finally, successful projects to be funded under the Men and Family Relationships initiative are listed.

4th National Mediation Conference, Melbourne, April 1998: proceedings.
Fisher T
Bundoora, Vic : School of Law and Legal Studies, La Trobe University, 1998

This volume contains papers by most of the speakers at the Fourth National Mediation Conference, held in Melbourne in April 1998. These papers aim to hightlight the scope of mediaton, addressing issues on how mediation will shape the future, past legacies, future challenges for practitioners, effectiveness in reaching relevant members of the community and possible conflict with more traditional dispute resolution strategies such as litigation. Areas covered include: the community sector; family law; mediators working with youth as well as students learning mediation skills in schools; environmental disputes, workplace, industrial and workcover dispute resolution. Many papers have been individually indexed and can be retrieved by searching on the conference name.

Evaluation of the Alice Springs Counselling Service and of the engagement of Aboriginal family consultants in Alice Springs and Darwin.
Family Court of Australia
Canberra, ACT : Family Court of Australia, 1998

With funding from the Access to Justice program, the Family Court of Australia established a full-time counselling service in Alice Springs in January 1996 to provide a service to the people of Alice Springs and Central Australia. Two Aboriginal Family Consultants were appointed in Alice Springs and two in Darwin to work both with Court staff and the Aboriginal community. This evaluation was designed to assess whether the Counselling Service in Alice Springs and the engagement of the Consultants in both centres had been successful in meeting the aims and objectives of the Counselling Service, in a culturally sensitive and appropriate way. It also considered effectiveness, efficiency, possibilities for further improvement, and cost-effectiveness. Principle recommendations are included.

Working together: a model of conciliation counselling with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families in the Family Court.
Ralph S
In: Fisher, T. ed. 4th National Mediation Conference, Melbourne, April 1998: proceedings. Bundoora, Vic: School of Law and Legal Studies, La Trobe University, 1998, p401-407, figures

Since January 1996 the Family Court of Australia has employed Aboriginal Family Consultants in the Northern Territory to assist in the delivery of conciliation services to Aboriginal and Islander families. Family Consultants and Family Court Counsellors work together in assisting indigenous families to access and utilise the Family Court's conciliation counselling service. This paper describes the model upon which this practice is based and issues that have arisen in the undertaking of this work. A case study is used to highlight the methods by which counsellors and consultants work together and the issues that they confront.

25th annual report 1996-1997.
Relationships Australia (Northern Territory)
Darwin, NT : Relationships Australia Northern Territory, 1997

This 25th annual report 1996-1997 of Relationships Australia, Northern Territory describes their work in Alice Springs and Darwin in the following areas: Programs Assisting Companies and Employees (PACE); domestic violence; clinical training and supervision; community education; and service promotion and marketing. Information is provided on: statistics on counselling interviews; client service evaluation; client age groups; relationship status; income fees from counselling; the interagency group; gambling in the Northern Territory; administration and accounting.

The Children (Parental Responsibility) Act 1994: an update.
Swain M
Sydney, NSW : New South Wales Parliamentary Library, 1997

The Children (Parental Responsibility) ACT (CPR) 1994 commenced limited operation in March 1995 in the towns of Orange and Gosford in New South Wales. The CPR Act was introduced, in part, as a response to the increasing public concern about the perceived level of crime, particularly violent crime, occurring in the community. The first section of this paper sets out the general background to the CPR Act; the second section examines some of the issues and implications raised by it; the third section presents a number of reflections on the Act since the commencement of it's limited operation; and section four outlines similar legislative approaches in other jurisdiction. While there has been support for the Act from a number of quarters, the legislation has been criticised, raising some of the following issues: breach of general legal principles; breach of Australia's international obligations; it recriminalises what are essentially welfare issues; it allows police to harass young people; it disregards the positions of wards of the state; it impacts disparately on different sections of the community, particularly on those from a non-English speaking background and Aboriginal youth; the cost of its implementation is not justified; and it has attracted the dissatisfaction of many operational police.

Reading between the lines: therapy through art.
Ellis R
Aboriginal and Islander Health Worker Journal v. 20 no. 4 Jul - Aug 1996 9-10

This brief article takes the form of an interview in which Colleen Brown, an Aboriginal Health Education Officer from the South Coast of New South Wales, discusses her work with the Family Therapist Association, educating its members about the special needs of Aboriginal people, particularly those who were taken away from their families as babies or young children. She also talks about the development of using art as therapy with her clients.

Family Court initiatives with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
Nicholson A
Aboriginal Law Bulletin v. 3 no. 76 Oct 1995 15-17

This article details initiatives of the Family Court of Australia in facilitating access to the court and in planning and actually delivering culturally relevant and sensitive services to indigenous people. The work of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Awareness Committee in establishing consultative networks, cross cultural awareness training for the judiciary and staff, the preparation of appropriate information resources, difficulties of access for people in remote communities and the proposed employment of Aboriginal people as family consultants to assist Aboriginal people in accessing services of the Family Court are discussed.

Aboriginal Justice Advisory Committee (NSW).
Evans J
Aboriginal Law Bulletin v. 3 no. 71 Dec 1994 11-12

This article gives an overview of the major initiatives that the New South Wales Aboriginal Justice Advisory Committee (AJAC) has been involved in, in the last eighteen months. AJAC has been, and will continue to be, an effective mechanism for monitoring the implementation of the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody. AJAC recommendations include: the establishment of a National Aboriginal Justice Advisory Committee; the provision of counselling for the families of those who died in custody; and the recruitment, employment, training, education and career development of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people into NSW law and justice agencies. Also discussed is the Community Youth Conference (CYC) scheme which is essentially a pre-court diversionary scheme for young offenders.

Marriage and family counselling in rural and remote areas.
Sturmey R
Armidale, NSW : Rural Development Centre, University of New England, 1994

This report summarises the nature and distribution of marriage and family counselling services in the rural and remote areas of Australia. It uses the Department of Primary Industries and Energy's classification of the rural and remote zones and the 1986 census statistics of those aged between 25 and 54 years at the level of Statistical Local Areas in order to draw conclusions about the level of servicing of such populations. Chapters are: Definitions and background; The level and distribution of marriage and family counselling services; Marriage counselling services; Models of family counselling in rural and remote areas; Alternative sources of marriage and family counselling (this chapter includes two case studies of the situation when there are no services available locally); Counselling for special groups, dealing with emotional and relationship counselling for farm families, and for Aboriginal families; Summary of issues. Appendix 1 presents a copy of the survey form used for a survey of marriage counselling agencies, a list of agencies that replied, and a summary of the problems of providing services in rural and remote areas. Appendix 2 presents analysis of data received, and a copy of the survey form used for a survey of clients using rural / remote area marriage and family counselling services. Appendix 3 is the survey form used for community health and welfare centres. Appendix 4 presents analysis of data received, and copy of the survey form used in a survey of community members. Appendix 5 is the rural counsellors' survey form relating to the personal and family relationship aspects of rural crisis stress.

Other wisdoms other worlds: colonisation and family therapy.
Tapping C
Dulwich Centre Newsletter no. 1 1993 4-40

This issue of the Newsletter was written by Carmel Tapping, in association with workers from The Family Centre, New Zealand, and the Mid-Island Tribal Council, Canada, following Carmel's attendance at the 'Just Therapy' Conference, Canada, November 1991. It includes the following articles: Colonialism: then and now (p4-8), which traces the history of colonialism, and argues that colonialism has not ended in countries like Canada and Australia; Residential schools: the pain and the shame (p9-14), which outlines the Canadian native experience of residential schools, and the Australian Aboriginal experience of generations of children being removed from their families and brought up in institutions or with white foster families; In search of a 'just therapy' : the Mid-Island Tribal Council context (p15-19), which describes how the Council, representing four Vancouver Island tribes, summoned a group of people from the other side of the globe to offer their ideas for working with the problems of their people; Pura pura tuku iho (The seed that has been passed down) (p20-22), which reports on how Flora Tuhaka, of the Maori section of New Zealand's Family Centre, works with Maori families who seek her help; Gender: the impact of western definitions of womanhood on other cultures (p23-25), which focuses in particular on the impact western notions of feminism and womanhood have had on Pacific Island women.

Every dot has a meaning.
Brown C and Larner G
Australian and New Zealand Journal of Family Therapy v. 13 no. 4 Dec 1992 175-184

Family therapy in Australia has recently begun a conversation with Aboriginal people. Part of this dialogue has involved family therapists listening to the stories of violence and oppression perpetrated against the Aboriginal people under the name of protection. This article is part of the ongoing exchange between family therapists and Kooris documenting the suffering of the stolen generation. Here two young people removed from their families as young children and raised in the same Aboriginal children's home, speak personally through their art, of an agonising search for family and cultural identity.

Therapy and the whamere.
Medland J
Australian and New Zealand Journal of Family Therapy v. 9 Mar 1988 33-35

This paper describes the experiences of a pakeha (non-Maori) therapist with Maori whamere (family) groups in rural Northland, New Zealand. The discussion includes the author's methods of dealing with the mainly adolescent clientele and their families, illustrated by a brief case study. The author suggests that therapists need to be able to suspend judgement and relax in order to assist the client groups to take responsibility for the resolution of their problems.

See more resources on Indigenous families and family counselling in the AIFS library catalogue