Video: One Family Tree

“One Family Tree” is a fictional story filmed in a remote Aboriginal community in the Northern Territory.  The film shows how witnessing domestic violence can affect unborn babies and children of all ages, and the sorts of things families and communities do to help children heal.  It may be a useful tool to spark a discussion with Aboriginal families, groups and communities.

RANT’s Children’s Therapeutic Team worked alongside Aboriginal Child and Family Support Workers to find ways of inviting women into safe and non-blaming conversations which explore the effects of trauma on children, with a particular focus on harm to the growing brain. A talking tool was developed, which takes the metaphor of a tree (from narrative therapy) as a pathway to talk about what trees need to grow strong and healthy, the effects of storms on trees and ways they recover after storms have passed.

Facilitator’s manual and DVD

The “It Takes a Forest…” talking tool consists of a Circle of Life mat, various picture cards, a facilitator’s manual for Aboriginal workers and a DVD of video stories.  The tool is used in RANT’s ‘Healing Our Children’ project, an early intervention and prevention program in remote and urban Aboriginal communities.

While the complete kit is not available to the general public, RANT is happy to share the following video stories which could be used in group work or individual counselling to help women understand the effects of trauma on children’s development.

About the resource

This resource was developed through a process of consultation from 2010-2012 with Elders and women on the Tiwi Islands and NE Arnhemland in response to worries for their children and grandchildren.  Much of their concerns related to children’s responses to witnessing domestic and family violence, alcohol, and substance misuse in their families, intergenerational and personal grief and loss issues, child abuse or neglect and other traumatic events.  RANT’s Children’s Therapeutic Team worked alongside Aboriginal Child and Family Support Workers to find ways of inviting women into safe and non-blaming conversations which explore the effects of trauma on children, with a particular focus on harm to the growing brain.

This talking tool takes the metaphor of a tree (from narrative therapy) as a pathway to talk about what trees need to grow strong and healthy, the effects of storms on trees and ways they recover after storms have passed.  This opens the way for dialogue about what children need to grow strong and healthy, the effects of violent storms on children and what families and communities do to promote healing and recovery.  We have found that using tree stories to talk about our families is a safe way of engaging women in a conversation about difficult times in their lives.

Testimonials

“Sections of One Family tree are a good stimulus for discussion about what OK parenting is and also how children seek and obtain what we call positive and negative attention.  Also the material on brain development in The Seed of Life, we communicate in an interactive way but it is great to have locally produced resources including in language and to have a range of ways of introducing the information and ideas.” – Sarah Mares, former Consultant Child and Family Psychiatrist & Senior Research Fellow, Centre for Child Development and Education, Menzies School of Health Research, Darwin.

Contact

For more information about the It Takes A Forest talking tool or  Healing Our Children project please contact Relationships Australia NT on 08 8923 4999 or reception@ra-nt.org.au

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