Authors: Paul Phillips, Frances Pidcock, Ken Zulumovski
Event: 2022 TheMHS Conference
Subject: indigenous, first nations, services, physical health
Type of resource: Conference Presentations and Papers
Abstract: LEAD PRESENTATION: So Bad I'm Good (So BIG)
Paul Phillips, Frances Pidcock
Engagement and development of a therapeutic rapport is essential for the prevention, early intervention and treatment of mental health and substance use disorder. Through its centrepiece intervention The Buttery will demonstrate how we strengthen the intersection between Mental Health, Addiction and Physical Health and successfully engage high needs, first nations young people, many of whom are in state care. Paul Phillips and Sam Nest have combined Mixed Martial Arts with evidence-based therapeutic approaches Rock and Water and Gestalt Therapy to create “So Bad I’m Good” (So BIG). This program synergises reconciliation, behavioural activation and therapeutic processes. Since 2012, the So BIG therapeutic program has engaged twenty young people weekly and provided over 1300 episodes of care annually to remote locations in the Northern Rivers. Positive outcomes include decreased substance misuse, improved mental health, increased engagement in study and employment, reunification of families and the improved health and wellbeing of their communities. This interactive multi-media presentation will outline a number of other “creative engagements,” interventions designed to grab the attention of the Young Person and challenge them in new, often fun ways. Paul is happy to hold a Q and A to help flesh out any points in the presentation that may raise curiosity.
LEAD PRESENTATION: Gamarada COURAGE Coaching Model, combining First Nations Australian wisdom traditions with western behavioural science
Gamarada, meaning friends with a common purpose in the Gadigal language, deliver a community healing and cultural leadership program in the heart of Redfern. The peer mentoring program specialises in trauma sensitive mindfulness practice, drawing on Professor Judy Atkinson's work on healing trauma through culture. A key component of the program is the practice of non-reaction and dadirri (Da-did-ee), deep listening.
This is based on the work of Tribal Elder, educator and Australian Senior of the year 2021 Miriam Rose Ungunmerr-Baumann. The team at Gamarada Universal Indigenous Resources Pty Ltd are working to develop programs and workshops that explore parallels between Indigenous methodologies for healing and the work of Marsha Linehan, founder of Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), 'dialectical' meaning the practice of holding opposites together to integrate tension, emphasising both validation and change.
DBT is internationally recognised as an empirically supported treatment for people at risk of harm to self and others, and treatment takes place within the community through skills training, focusing on self-management and training families and carers in skills to manage crisis and find a way forward.
In dialogue with visiting lead clinicians in social work and psychology, this work has involved mapping Dadirri skills; quiet stillness, listening with more than the ears, understanding and enlivening community connections and being aware of what needs to be done to care for each other and rise to the challenge at times of loss and change. Gamarada team members have trained in dialectical behaviour therapy and find that many of the concepts in DBT are easily translatable across culture through aligning with Indigenous wisdom practices. In the past three years many DBT concepts, such as wise mind, are being used in Gamarada programs in conjunction with Dadirri mind, deep listening heart and mind. The non-reaction principles underpinning the group process at Gamarada have a common source with DBT in Zen practice.
The Gamarada team have trained DBT with Marsha Linehan and engaged in dialogue directly with Marsha about the applicability of Dadirri in modifying DBT for use in the Indigenous Australian context and received encouragement for this work from Marsha at her 2016 skills training workshop in Sydney. GUIR Indigenous Lead, Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT) programs. DBT involves 4 key areas: 1. Mindfulness or in Aboriginal language (Dadirri) techniques - techniques to increase your ability to stay 'present and focused' and to overcome the ‘mental challenge’ with unwanted and intrusive thoughts, images & emotions. 2.Interpersonal Effectiveness - Skills negotiating interpersonal challenges, especially confrontation and conflict. Essentially, getting better at relationships. 3.Emotion Regulation - Skills to replace unhelpful and/or destructive emotions with helpful coping strategies. 4.Distress Tolerance - Skills to tackle extreme emotional pain, often associated with crises.
Gamarada program development, community engagement and advisory services - Gamarada programs and services draw from the framework of the GUIR COURAGE Coaching Model: COURAGE: Culture, Optimism, Understanding, Relationships, Acceptance, Gratitude & Encouragement, the model combines Western behavioural approaches, Indigenous Wisdom Traditions and elements of military leadership. GUIR’s work in modifying Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) for use in Indigenous mental health, and for peer-to-peer coaching and support has been recognised with multiple awards. This work was mentioned in the Citation by the chair of the academic board for the award of Honorary Doctorate in Health Sciences by the University of Sydney in 2019 conferred upon our founder and managing director Ken Zulumovski.
GUIR’s community engagement and program advisory and codesign capacities are enriched by resources from the entire bank of Gamarada program experience including specialized and tailored programs e.g. the award winning ‘Mad Bastards Guide to being your best’ and the NSW Premier's Excellence Award Winning Gamarada Indigenous Healing and Life Training initiative which celebrates 754 weeks of sustained delivery in May 2022.