Resources (published elsewhere)

It takes a forest to raise a tree: healing our children from the storms in their lives

Posted on: 10 March, 2014
Issue: Vol 14 No 1, January 2014 – March 2014
Related to Cultural ways Family violence Adolescents Infants and young children Remote Women Alcohol use Northern Territory

Relationships Australia (2014)
It takes a forest to raise a tree: healing our children from the storms in their lives
NT: Relationships Australia

This resource kit aims to provide a ‘talking tool’ for Indigenous women with children who experience violence or other trauma in their lives. 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. Using tree stories to talk about our families has been found to be a safe way of engaging women in a conversation about difficult times in their lives.

This resource kit includes:

  • ‘circle of life’ mat
  • picture cards
  • facilitator’s manual for Aboriginal workers
  • DVD of video stories (also available online).

The complete kit is not available to the general public due to lack of funding to produce copies.

This resource kit includes videos:

  • The seed of life (Yolngu and Tiwi versions): this video tells a story about the harmful effects of trauma on the developing brain and explains why it is so important to protect children from an early age. The Yolngu story is told in Djambarrpuyŋu language with English subtitles and the Tiwi version is told in Tiwi language with English subtitles.
  • One family tree: this video is a fictional story filmed in a remote Indigenous 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.

This resource was developed through a process of consultation with Elders and women on the Tiwi Islands and North Eastern 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.

Relationships Australia Northern Territory abstract

scroll to the top