A collection of resources useful for Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal counsellors, social workers, psychologists and health workers doing trauma and healing work with Aboriginal folk. Please acknowledge the original sources in your work where appropriate.
If you have a practice resource to share with others, please let us know about it.
Alcohol and Drugs
The Alcohol and Other Drugs Workers’ Portal at Australian Indigenous InfoNet has comprehensive tips for workers, practical tools for assessment and treatment, health promotion resources, publications and programs.
Indigenous Risk Impact Screen and Brief Intervention (IRIS) is is a 13-item screening instrument for alcohol and drug and mental health risk among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
Westerman Aboriginal Symptom Checklist – Youth (WASC-Y) and Westerman Aboriginal Symptom Checklist – Adults (WASC-A) are culturally validated, self-report paper-and-pencil symptom checklist measures to identify Aboriginal people who are at risk of anxiety, depression and suicidal behaviours.
Westerman has developed a number of Cultural Competency tools to assess cultural competence within organisations.
Strong Souls is used for assessment of social and emotional wellbeing in Indigenous youth.
In my work with Aboriginal children I developed this approach of combining narrative therapy techniques with mask making to help children externalise the problems in their lives – Using Masks to Incorporate Narrative and Art Therapy ideas by Lucy
I developed this Drawing Activity using metaphors to Build Relationships and Connection for Foster Carers and their children.
Rings of Growth is an activity with parents to help them reflect on the influence of their own childhood in the long term development of their children.
Children and Trauma
HeartFelt – by the ACF – a collection of children’s experiences and stories of abuse, recovery and hope developed by the Australian Childhood Foundation.
Choosing Positive Paths – I really like this series of 10 easy Tip Sheets for Parents who are concerned about their children who have experienced family or domestic violence. Simple digestable messages for all stages of child development. D0wnloadable from the Berry Street website.
Without the support of NAPCAN NT, we would never have been able to produce ‘It Takes a Forest…’. Their posters and books are beautiful culturally sensitive resources using story to promote safety with children and families.
Children and Healthy Relationships
The Line has produced wonderful cartoons to share with Aboriginal children and young people, addressing issues like bullying, texting, jealousy and fighting, and offering opportunities to discuss respect.
Domestic and Family Violence
These videos are part of the toolkit “It Takes A Forest to Raise a Tree: Healing Our Children from the Storms in their Lives” I co-developed with women in NE Arnhemland and Tiwi islands at Relationships Australia.
‘The Seed of Life’ tells the story of the impact of witnessing violence on children’s brain development. My hope is that this story is shared with women who have children at risk of exposure in order to prevent irreversible trauma. The story is available in Yolngu Matha and Tiwi with English subtitles.
‘One Family Tree’ is a fictional story showing the impact of witnessing violence on children of different ages from the unborn to teenagers. Written with Elders from Yirrkala and Wurrumiyanga, the whole family is involved in the healing process!
For other real stories, direct from Aboriginal people about their experiences of domestic and family violence, check out Our Family Business videos and interactive ebooks.
The Indigenous environmental health practitioners Portal at Australian Indigenous InfoNet provides quality information and resources about environmental health among Indigenous peoples.
Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder
The Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) portal at Australian Indigenous InfoNet – for people working, studying or interested in addressing the harms of alcohol use in pregnancy.
Grief and Loss
‘Coping with Sorrow, Loss and Grief’ – 4 page leaflet, developed by the Illawarra Aboriginal Medical Service in conjunction with the Lifeline Information Service.
The Healing portal at Australian Indigenous InfoNet brings together examples of best practice healing initiatives, the latest research from around Australia and tools people can use to develop healing opportunities in their communities.
Caring for Country, Caring for Each Other is one the best resources I’ve come across documenting in visual form an Aboriginal perspective of intergenerational trauma along with resources to support people who have been affected was produced by the Larrakia Healing Group.
A number of brief intervention and screening tools at the NT Department of Health are designed for yarning about alcohol, smoking and other health concerns.
Discover useful resources to use with clients on diabetes, smoking, heart health, domestic violence, FASD, ICE and more from the Apunipima Cape York Health Council.
In my work, I often use the knowledge of local women to develop language resources to help clients communicate their feelings. Here are a few lists we put together in Yolŋu Matha and Tiwi. ARDS have a different set of words for Gupapyngu-Djambarrpuyngu language groups.
‘Hope, when you’re feeling down’ – a handy 2 page leaflet, for those suffering from depression, produced by the Lifeline Information Service as a public service for the Shoalhaven and Illawarra Aboriginal communities.
‘Healing Our Way – Self Harm’ – leaflet featuring visual graphics of Risk Factors, Warning Signs and Protective Factors, produced by the Yarrabah community.
The Victorian Aboriginal Health Service with assistance of the Healing Foundation has created a suite of downloadable Koori parenting resources, called ‘Breaking the Cycle of Trauma, Koori Parenting, What Works for Us’.
Social and Emotional Wellbeing
Menzies School of Health Research have a huge range of resources. Some of the more relevant, downloadable ones are
- Making Change – No Worries;
- Mental Health Brain Story uses the metaphor of a river system to communicate concepts of healthy balance in the body;
- What Keeps Me Strong;
- Yarning About Mental Health and Yarning About Sadness use the metaphor of a tree to explore worries and strengths.
One of the most comprehensive collections of resources on all aspects of mental health is the Social and Emotional Wellbeing portal at Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet.
Strengths cards and Narrative tools
Talking Up Our Strengths – there are a thousand different ways you can use these cards featuring beautiful, strong Aboriginal images in groupwork or individual sessions.
I’ve had great success using the ‘Yarnabout’ conversation cards on Family Healing Bush Camps, inviting women to use a photo to identify a key strength, goal or hope they hold.
‘Recipe of Life’ is a culturally inclusive methodology developed by Natalie Rudland-Wood that focuses on the strengths, skills and knowledge of group participants. We trialed this methodology with a group of asylum seekers and refugees living in Darwin in 2014. You can download their collective narrative document here – Recipes Book.
This blog explores the power of narrative through one child’s experience of standing up to the effects of violence. There’s an opportunity for you and your clients to respond to his story.
“Mens Talk” is a collection of videos and web resources developed by and for Aboriginal men. In these videos, men from North Queensland talk about Aboriginal ways of being uncles, mentors, dads, grandfathers and friends. Topics include lessons learned from hard times, keeping links with children when you’re not living with them, being a mentor, working with young people, racism and carrying on our culture.
Suicide Prevention Toolkit – handy 4 page leaflet for families, produced by the Lifeline Information Service as a public service for the Shoalhaven and Illawarra Aboriginal communities.
Suicide Prevention Information – This tool kit was developed with content input and advice from the Aboriginal and Islander Mental Heath Initiative at Menzies School of Health Research for Lifeline Information Service.
In Nov 2013, using the methods of collage and storytelling, I co-facilitated a conversation about the role of traditional healing in recovery from trauma. The women of Bathurst island openly expressed what keeps them strong in the face of hard times, and hope it inspires other communities to reconnect with their healing cultural traditions. After watching Messages of Hope, be sure to keep the conversation going by making a comment on the YouTube site.
Larrakia Healing Group have developed a wonderful traditional and trauma informed healing resource titled Caring for Country, Caring for Each Other to support Aboriginal people affected by intergenerational trauma.