ASeTTS, Perth, Australia
ASeTTS Family Relationships Counselling Program: Strengths-based practice with families to improve resettlement and mental health Strength to Strength (STS) is a strengths-based family and relationship counselling program run by ASeTTS, which aims to assist torture and trauma survivor families to negotite resettlement in Australia and to overcome mental health challenges. The program offers advocacy and counselling for families, couples and individuals, which is largely provided through home visits and other outreach work. Flexible service delivery is integral to the success of STS.
Strength to Strength clients are part of a survivor family narrative, and most come from collectivist cultures. These families have experienced or witnessed atrocious events and been impacted by systematic persecution, often over long periods of time. The STS program challenges the dominant discourse that such families are damaged and identifies families’ strengths. Families are provided an opportunity to reflect on their journey of survival prior to resettlement and to identify challenges and changes the family has experienced since resettlement. Family counselling, as opposed to individual counselling, facilitates open conversations between
family members about their worries of adjusting to resettlement, their shifting family roles and the behavioural concerns of other family members, in a familiar collective setting. The flexibility of the program allows the counsellor to provide referrals, ongoing mental health education and assessments through observations and interactions in different settings.
The Strength to Strength program requires organisational support in order to be successful, through developing outreach policy and procedures to manage potential risk for both counsellor’s and to support staff offsite administratively and clinically.
This presentation will briefly outline how ASeTTS provides a strength-based counselling service to engage and work with torture and trauma survivor families to improve resettlement and their mental health understanding.