Family Relationships Quarterly No. 17

AFRC Newsletter No. 17 – September 2010

Service responses to Indigenous healing: Literature highlights

The following are a selection of resources from the Australian Institute of Family Studies library collection and other sources. Web addresses are included for electronic resources.

Compiled by Catherine Caruana and Carole Jean

Strong Souls: Development and validation of a culturally appropriate tool for assessment of social and emotional well-being in Indigenous youth. (2010). Thomas, A., Cairney, S., Gunthorpe, W., Paradies, Y. & Sayers, S. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 44(1), 40-48. <>

This article provides an overview of the development and trial of a culturally appropriate tool to assess the social and emotional wellbeing of Indigenous adolescents participating in the longitudinal Aboriginal Birth Cohort in the Northern Territory. The authors conclude that the Strong Souls screening tool demonstrated validity, reliability and cultural appropriateness.

An Aboriginal family and community healing program in metropolitan Adelaide: Description and evaluation. (2009). Kowanko, I., Stewart, T., Power, C., Fraser, R. Love, I. & Bromley, T. Australian Indigenous Health Bulletin, 9(4).

A report on the evaluation of the Aboriginal Family and Community Healing Program, developed as a response to family violence in South Australia. The program uses strategies aimed at strengthening Indigenous community capacity, fostering communication and conflict resolving skills, providing crisis support when needed and workforce development.

Reclaiming the spirit of wellbeing: Promising healing practices for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. (2009). Feeney, M. Canberra: Stolen Generations Alliance.

A summary of healing practices to address the legacy of forced child removal on the Stolen Generations, and of the impact of colonisation on Indigenous Australians more generally.

The role of spirituality in social and emotional wellbeing initiatives: The family wellbeing program at Yarrabah. (2009). McEwan, A. & Tsey, K. (Discussion Paper No. 7). Darwin: Cooperative Research Centre for Aboriginal Health.

The Family Wellbeing Program, an Indigenous initiative, is a health intervention program focusing on social and emotional wellbeing, spirituality and the development of life skills, including communication, conflict resolution and problem-solving. This report looks at the effectiveness of the program, developed as a response to a spate of suicides that occurred in the Far North Queensland community of Yarrabah.

Voices from the campfires: Establishing the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Healing Foundation. (2009). Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Healing Foundation Development Team. Canberra: Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs.. <>

Documenting the findings of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Healing Foundation Development Team from a national consultation process in 2009, this report contains a number of recommendations relating to the establishment of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Healing Foundation.

Aboriginal healing circle models addressing child sexual assault (PDF 803 KB). (2007). Young, M. Canberra: Winston Churchill Memorial Trust of Australia.

The author reports on insights gained from a study tour looking at the role of community-based healing circles in addressing child sexual assault within Canadian Aboriginal communities.

Evaluation of Bringing Them Home and Indigenous Mental Health Programs. (2007). Wilczynski, A., Reed-Gilbert, K., Millward, K., Fear, J., & Schwartzkoff, J. Canberra: Urbis Keys Young. <>

A report commissioned by the Office for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health within the Department of Health and Ageing that evaluates the Bringing Them Home and Indigenous Mental Health Programs.

Final report of the Aboriginal Healing Foundation: Volume 3. Promising healing practices in Aboriginal communities. (2006). Archibald, L. Ottawa, ON: Aboriginal Healing Foundation. <>

The third in a series of final reports published by the Aboriginal Healing Foundation in Canada, this volume presents information about healing programs, practices and interventions that are working well in Aboriginal communities.

Ngaripirliga'ajirri: Cross-cultural issues in evaluating an Indigenous early intervention program. (2005, December). Robinson, G., & Tyler, W. Paper presented at the Australian Sociological Association Conference, Tasmania.

This paper explores the adaptation of the Exploring Together program for primary school age children in three remote communities of Northern Australia, looking at the boundaries of mainstream programs and their cross-cultural realisations. The Exploring Together program seeks to identify and address conduct disorders of Indigenous children, using highly structured, multi-group interventions, which involve training in social and parenting skills and problem-solving for children.

Trauma trails recreating song lines: The transgenerational effects of trauma in Indigenous Australia. (2002). Atkinson, J. Melbourne: Spinifex Press.

This book provides ground-breaking answers to the questions of how to solve the problems of cross-generational trauma, Trauma Trails moves beyhond the rhetoric of victimhood, and provides inspiration for anyone concerned about Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities today.