Creative projects

Creative projects

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander narrative practitioners are involved in some fantastic projects! Here are just some examples.

Tree of Life in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities

with Che Stow

Examples of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Trees of Life

Using the Tree of Life to help young mums

Carolynanha Johnson

My meeting place

Vanessa Davis created this narrative methodology by integrating Aboriginal Art with Narrative Practices in order to create culturally appropriate counselling with Aboriginal children and young people.

Didgeri: Local Collective Response

by Anthony Newcastle


No More Silence

Aboriginal men supporting others who have experienced childhood sexual abuse

Men’s Talk

This project involves men from Mounts Isa, Cloncurry and Normanton sharing stories about Aboriginal ways of being uncles, mentors, dads, grandfathers and friends .

Click here to see the Men’s Talk Project

Thwarting Shame: Feminist engagement in narrative groupwork

 by Kylie Dowse

Yarning with a purpose

 by Carolynanha Johnson

Solid families: Strong in heart and spirit

This program, ‘Solid families: Strong in heart and spirit’, is to our knowledge the first parenting support program based on Aboriginal values. It was initiated by Aboriginal mothers in Roebourne, Western Australia, and developed through a cross-cultural partnership led by Anne Mead and Jasmine Mack.

Click here to view the Solid Families webpage

This Post Has 37 Comments

  1. Rita

    I hadn’t encountered the Tree of Life exercise before and am so inspired to practice using it in my work. I really appreciate the way that Che and Carolynanha reflect on it’s use in helping to uncover hidden stories and strengths.

  2. amy

    This module was rich in inspirational frameworks and tools. I especially enjoyed Vanessa’s my meeting place tool. I also admired the work done around men and sexual abuse and use of violence. The repositioning or removal of shame from their backs reminded me of the shame mat in previous videos. It is amazing how shame can prevent progress when it comes to behavioural change and self reflection, as well as recovery and resilience. I have taken alot away from this module. Thanks.

  3. Jessica Rodaughan

    I took a lot of value away from all of the presenters in this module. I particularly appreciated hearing how these practitioners had to monitor and adjust their approaches, to find ways of working that respected their clients needs and culture. It showed me that there are many creative ways to use narrative therapy in a variety of settings, across genders, ages and cultures. Thank you!

  4. Eugene Ford

    Wow, I particularly loved Kylie Dowse’s presentation, Thwarting Shame: Feminist engagement in narrative groupwork. I have clinical experience as a social worker and counsellor in the family violence sector, so I really resonated with her discussions about the importance of naming, recognizing and alleviating shame in group work, knowing that unaddressed shame can contribute to a defensiveness, which leads to further minimization and denial. On a practical level, I also loved that Kylie was so willing to discuss shame and family violence, when family violence remains such a hot button topic for so many people, and any discussion about the trauma and shame that offenders go through can be considered deeply controversial. Thank you Kylie for your willingness to be involved in the work, and the fantastic outcomes you achieve. You’re a star!

  5. Carlie Fairbairn

    Fantastic topic. I think using the tree of life activity with children and young people is such a creative and beautiful way to help process life stories as well as giving over ownership of the conversation.
    I also really appreciated the consolidation of the practice of seeing the ‘problem as the problem’ as discussed by Anthony; as well as his discussion around giving the problem a name so you can engage with the problem in a different way.
    So many useful tools to reflect on.

  6. Nileeka S

    The concept ‘Tree of Life” is one of the best concepts I have learned from this course. I felt that I have been using the concept without knowing about it, however, Tree of Life is a good concept to work with Aboriginal communities. This can be used to find out the unspoken stories of Aboriginal people’s childhood which is connected with loss, grief and trauma. Each branch of the tree is helpful to understand about the micro and macro system of a person and for children and young people it is fun and educational.

  7. Shayla Dube

    This was my best module and I am aware of my bias 🙂 because I fell in love with narrative therapy via Tree of life and I have been using it since then. I keep keeping positive feedback about how affirming and empowering it is. I really appreciated seeing in action the integration of Aboriginal Art with Narrative Practices in order to create culturally responsive counselling with Aboriginal peoples.

  8. Kate Coomber

    I connected with using the Tree of Life to help young mums. I liked hearing about the flexibility of the program and its’ grounded realistic approach. It was a good reminder that what happens out of the sessions is important as it puts the new more positive way of thinking into practice.


    I have used the Tree of Life in individual and group work. I really enjoyed hearing how others are using this tool.
    The “no more silence’ video was incredibly powerful – thank you to all involved for sharing you learning. It is a tricky thing to talk about Shame and loss, and many of the examples given in different video’s has sparked ideas for future conversations with my clients.

  10. deborah dowsett

    Loved this module, I have rewatched it again as the videos are so helpful. I am incorporating some of the activities into the program I run at present and find participants relate better than to some of the material I use in the program. The tree of life is one aspect I am now using in recovery for participants to tell their journey of where they have come to where they want to be and it was loved by the participants. We now display some of this work in the program, and when they complete the program they take it home with them as a reminder of how far they have come and where they want to be.

  11. Katelyn Norwood

    I really appreciated the concept of the “Tree of Life”. I have used similar approaches with my group in class but hearing this perspective was neat. The idea of using this with children I think would be a fun visual activity to try that they can cognitively understand and enjoy. The Tree of life activity can be used for hidden stories children have which I think is awesome for emotional expression. Using examples such as the roots, branches, and leaves is both educational and helpful. I enjoyed listening to the Tree of Life in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities with Che Stow. It was beautifully spoken and I would like to incorporate this into my future practice.

  12. shawn

    • “I have an interest in geneology and this tree resonates so well with me the strength it brings to those creating it”


    I think the tool of externalizing narrative really shows its worth when men can get to the core of their dysfunction through the barrier of of the shame in how they have acted, such as coming to grips with violent behavior towards their partner.


    I have done previous training on Tree of Life and always wanted to use it, but seeing these videos on it just makes so much sense to me and makes me even more keen to work in an organisation that supports these kind of practices. With a background in music and drama, I’m really keen to be able to use the arts in my work, and feel like narrative therapy is the way forward for me.

  15. marlene

    Once again, I am moved by the simplicity of this work, being accessible to ordinary people. It strikes me that Narrative Therapy is as much about self-honesty as it is about storytelling. Then again, stories are powerful because they speak the truth. I am also reminded that we are innate storytellers – it is something we can all do, yet, so often forget we can. Thank you to all the workers who contributed to this online course.

  16. petronela

    I use the Tree of Life. The views that we always get from the clients are always amazing. clients say the tree activity help them understand their identities better. they mention at the end of the activity that they are more aware of their support systems. And others have mentioned that the tree of life is refreshing because if has more of positive feelings and emotions, and moving from the known to the possible to know.


    I LOVED this topic – this is certainly csomething I can adopt in my work as an educator and parent.

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