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Empowering Excellence: A Narrative Therapy approach to men’s violence towards women

Event Details
Date: Ongoing
Venue: Online
CPD hrs: 1.5 hours (FPS)
CPD Category: 2 - Skills and Knowledge

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Organiser: AASW


This workshop applies narrative therapy and feminist approaches to working with women who have been impacted by intimate partner violence and men who have perpetrated such violence.

The presenter, Helen Wirtz draws on her significant experience in individual counselling and group facilitation and utilises practice exercises to strengthen learning and application of key theory to practice. Helen applies various narrative practices through the workshop, including:

  • Deconstructing unhelpful beliefs
  • Openings to a preferred story
  • Re-membering​​​​​​ and re-storying
  • Thickening of new stories

The course draws on the following approaches to working with women experiencing intimate partner violence:

  • Bringing forward personal agency
  • Exposing tactics of control
  • Responding to violence and acts of resistance
  • Effects of violence
  • Reclaiming valued aspects of self

The course draws on the following approaches to working with male perpetrators of violence:

  • Finding a place to stand,
  • Invitations to responsibility
  • Avoiding collusion
  • Dealing with mutualising violence
  • Friends and enemies of responsibility
  • Internalised other interviewing
This workshop is best suited to social workers (and other allied health practitioners) specialising in, or interested in specialising in) family violence, mental health practice and couples interventions.

Course objectives

Participants will gain knowledge of the application of Narrative Therapy theory to practice with women subjected to intimate partner violence and men who have perpetrated violence against women.

This course includes opportunities to consolidate learnings through reflective activities guided by the presenter.

Presenter details

Helen Wirtz is a social worker and experienced family therapist. In the 1980s, she became attracted to the work of Michael White and spent time learning from him in Adelaide. His approach later became known as Narrative Therapy.

Helen has been teaching this approach through the Narrative Training Centre with her colleague Ron Schweitzer; a GP and Narrative Therapist

She has worked in Family Violence for over 25 years, having developed the Women Reclaiming Their Lives Group with colleagues and the Men’s Responsibility Group Program at Link Health and Community in Victoria.

Helen has run numerous workshops with Jo Howard and with DVRC and presented at Social Work, Family Therapy, and International Narrative Conferences.

Method of delivery

Once you have registered for this course, all online content is available to view at your convenience via the AASW SWOT Platform.

Please ensure that your email address is accurate and updated when you register.


The course duration is approximately 1.5 hours, including time required to complete exercises.

CPD for Credentials

This course can be claimed under Focussed Psychological Strategies (FPS), Mental Health, Family Violence and Clinical for CPD purposes, consistent with the CPD Goals and Hours Requirements.

Find out more today about opportunities to have your specialised social work skills recognised.


AASW member price: $99
AASW student price: $49
Non-member price: $149



  1. Register for this course by following the link to the right
  2. Upon registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing all access instructions.

For further information regarding the Empowering Excellence Program, please contact us on [email protected].

AASW - Australian Association of Social Workers