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Empowering Excellence: Working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and communities

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

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Organiser: AASW



This 1.5 hour online course is designed to support social workers and Allied Health professionals to provide culturally sensitive, respectful and inclusive services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and communities. The course:

  • Outlines why it is important for non-Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander practitioners to be involved in the provision of professional services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
  • Discusses the challenges often encountered in providing culturally appropriate services and how to counter feelings of fear and lack of confidence
  • Provides practical ways forward to enhance your culturally-informed practice

The module is presented by an Aboriginal female psychologist and a non-Aboriginal male social worker. They discuss key findings from their research and experience in providing clinical services, training and consultancy in service development. The presenters highlight practical applications and tips that have been effective in their work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people, adults, families and communities.

Course objectives

Participants will:

  • Gain an historical perspective and understanding of the distress, symptoms, risk and service access difficulties experienced by Indigenous Australians.
  • Learn how non-Indigenous staff can provide services to Indigenous people in respectful ways that supports self-determination rather than undermine it
  • Learn about a model for consultation that has been endorsed by Aboriginal stakeholders. The model has produced effective outcomes in the field of mental health and well-being training and it can be readily adapted for other contexts
  • Gain an understanding of research about what Aboriginal young people and elders say about making counselling and support services accessible and appropriate.

Presenter details

Anthony Hillin and Vanessa Edwige have collaborated on a number of programs, including developing and delivering the NSW Aboriginal Grief & Loss Training Program, a major initiative by NSW Health. Anthony and Vanessa’s two-day workshop, Walking together: Creative ways of working with Aboriginal young people has been highly evaluated by participants as have their other training programs.

Vanessa Edwige, MAIPA, is a registered psychologist, working as a relieving Senior Psychologist Education for the last two years and prior to that as a school counsellor in Sydney for 19 years. Before this, she was seconded to two programs with the Attorney General of NSW, with Aboriginal Victims of Crime, and with the Aboriginal Child Sexual Assault taskforce as Senior Researcher. She worked on the report ‘Breaking the Silence: Creating the Future’, addressing child sexual assault in Aboriginal communities in NSW. Since 2009 Vanessa has worked as a psychologist at a service in Redfern for Aboriginal young people, women and communities.

Anthony Hillin, MAASW, has over 25 years’ experience as a clinician, educator, consultant and service manager. While based at the NSW Institute of Psychiatry and NSW Centre for Mental Health for 14 years, Anthony co-developed Australia’s most comprehensive interagency training program in adolescent mental health for the NSW School-Link and Queensland Ed-LinQ initiatives. Anthony has delivered a suite of courses to over 4,000 mental health clinicians, school psychologists and social workers. He conducted one of the largest consultations undertaken with NSW Aboriginal communities regarding young people's mental health and well-being and contributed to NSW Aboriginal Mental Health and Well-being policy development. Anthony’s work includes Interpersonal Psychotherapy, experiential learning and group facilitation.

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 online workshop duration is 1.5 hours.

CPD for Credentials

This course can be claimed under 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.
AASW - Australian Association of Social Workers