FOR LEGAL PRACTITIONERS

Information about Counselling Referrals  

“For me, forgiveness and compassion are always linked: how do we hold people accountable for wrongdoing and yet at the same time remain in touch with their humanity enough to believe in their capacity to be transformed?”
― bell hooks

Please email us for referral or encourage clients to book in themselves.

 

Counselling for Safety and Accountability

The Family Law Court revision in 2021 established the Lighthouse Project and Evatt List to facilitate early screening of risk in parenting matters.

In response to safety and risk, the Family Law Court may direct clients to 'anger management counselling', 'behaviour change' or similar termed counselling in response to domestic and family violence allegations. (For a clarification on terminology see note below.)

Adelaide Narrative Therapy counsellors accept clients where violence has been alleged in family separation matters. Family Law Counselling focusses on invitations to the client to engage in responsibility and agency in their choices and actions in all relationships and parenting.

 

Conversations foreground the safety and wellbeing of the child/ren and all parties in the matter including ex-partners. They also support clients development of personal responsibility to others and accountability to themselves as a way of being ethical and responsible in their lives and families. The courts may consider accounts of these sessions (via court reports) when determining the parenting plan for the child/ren.

 

Adelaide Narrative counsellors anticipate that clients engage in counselling for their own ethical reflection and accountability, rather than as a 'tick and flick' exercise. The courts referral to our service is intentional and in turn the reports provide an account of client's accountability to the sessions. 

Narrative-Invitational Approach

We take a Narrative-Invitational approach to counselling that we believe allow clients to engage openly with actions of responsibility and accountability to children, other separated parents, and those hurt by family violence.

We respectfully ask questions that:

  • Determine a client’s readiness to engage in conversations that address both harm and responsibility;

  • Engage with the client about their lives and context of Family Separation;

  • Invite consideration toward respect and the type of parent they wish to become.

 

We are trauma-informed and recognise the focus of the Family Law Court is on matters pertaining to safety and wellbeing of children at the centre of separation disputes.

We recognise that relationships evolve in complex and gendered ways and are shaped by social and economic contexts. Therefore, while inquiry into a person’s complex lived experience in conversational and narrative form is included, we counsel toward the client developing personal agency and responsibility in their lives and relationships.

 

Reports delivered to the court will contain the substance of counselling conversations that indicate the clients understanding of their own actions, any concerns regarding harm raised by court documents, and considers ways the client approaches conversations about responsibility and accountability.

Counsellors Experience

 

Counsellors are experienced in specialised family violence counselling, sexual abuse counselling and family and relationship counselling. We meet with clients who have been affected by violence and abuse and those who are using violence and abuse.

 

Counsellors have formal qualifications in social work, counselling, narrative therapy and psychology. We consider our years of professional experience in working with clients individually and in groups, and being mentored (apprenticed) to teachers in the field, as best practice training for counselling in the field of violence accountability and ethics. 

 

Narrative-Invitational methodology has been researched by ANROWS (Australia's National Research Office for Women's Safety) and is available for downloading: Engaging men who use violence: Invitational Narrative Approaches. For further professional interest please refer to Alan Jenkins book ‘Becoming Ethical: A parallel, political journey with men who have abused.’ Adelaide Narrative Therapy counsellors continue the work in the spirit of the NADA practice and Alan Jenkins in accepting clients where domestic violence has been alleged in Family Court Separation matters.

We welcome all clients, not just court referrals, for relationship counselling and individual counselling for people who are wanting reflective conversations to review their lives, their relationships and to engage in a personal change project that helps develop integrity and personal responsibility. 

Please email us for referral or encourage clients to book in themselves.

 

A Note on Terminology

Adelaide Narrative Therapy counsellors apply a beyond individualist approach - in that we recognise that terminology commonly used of 'managing anger' or 'behaviour change' or 'emotional regulation' fails to account for the complex effects of different forms of gendered power and coercive control in relationships and on growing children. It also fails to account for the enormous economic, health and social costs of family violence on Australian society and that we are failing our children's futures if we do not recognise the need for services to work with the Justice system to create a "web of accountability". Toward this aim we to support clients to recognise patterns of violence, guide clients towards realisations about the effect of their actions on their family, and address their violence-supportive attitudes and use of coercive control. Accountability in our context means developing the personal agency toward addressing the impact of violence and coercion upon those hurt by violence and coercion and making personal reparation toward become an ethical person and making the lives of children that we have responsibility for safe and happy. This is beyond individual emotion or behaviour, it is contextual and addresses relationships, families, personal intention and self agency, values, language, ethics, beliefs, culture and identity. 

(For further policy reference see: Improving accountability: The role of perpetrator intervention systems)