Authors: John van der Giezen, Sylvia Ware, Kerry Hunt
Event: 2000 TheMHS Conference
Subject: book of proceedings, Indigenous Peoples' Issues, Indigenous Mental Health, Aboriginal Community Support Service, an agency of Derbarl Yerrigan Health Service in Perth, Western Australia.
Type of resource: Conference Presentations and Papers
Abstract: This paper will draw on the experience of clients and staff of the Aboriginal Community Support Service in identifying and together attempting to resolve difficulties in communicating effectively with the individuals and services they come into contact with.
Aboriginal people in Western Australia are often reluctant to access public psychiatric services and as a result contacts made are more likely to be of a crisis nature. Follow up in the community and outpatient contact is also less likely to be successful than in the wider population. The Aboriginal Community Support Service has developed cooperative work practices which allow clients to develop their knowledge of their disability and of the services available to them in order to make more positive contacts and develop better relationships.
This paper will, with the assistance of clients outlining their own experiences, examine some of the dynamics that lead to misunderstanding, or blocks in, communication and which can have a negative effect on the development of therapeutic relationships. Strategies developed by the workers of the Aboriginal Community Support Service which include relationship building, education of clients and other workers and community development initiatives, will be illustrated.
Over the past five years the work of A.C.S.S. has resulted in improved outcomes for clients and the agencies they connect with by working on the development of clear and effective communication between all the partners in the therapeutic relationship.