Since 2005 Michael has been offering supervision and consultation to new and seasoned social workers, psychologists, counsellors, family support workers and others working in a variety of settings including child protection, child and family therapy, education and mental health. Michael is passionate about child-centred family therapy and the diverse applications of systemic, narrative and attachment based approaches to therapeutic work. Michael has delivered training and workshops on a state, national and international level about the following:.
- Child Protection and Reunification Work
- Child and Family Therapy
- Family Violence
- Sexual Abuse
- Trauma-informed Schools
- Child Protection and Reunification Work
Current Training and Workshops Offered
Child Protection and Reunification Work
Title: The space between: a systemic, attachment and narrative approach to working within the context of family reunification
Length of Presentation: 1-2hr Presentation
This presentation showcases how a systemic, narrative and attachment based approach is being used to guide therapeutic innovations within the field of child protection and family reunification. This presentation will introduce the concept of ’separate realities’ within the child protection system and will identify what to be mindful of when responding to the needs and relational complexities experienced between children, parents, carers and professional system.
With the use of a case vignette, the presentation will bring to life some of the therapeutic practices involved in the therapist becoming a ‘conversational curator’ for children, young people and significant others to safely address children’s needs within relational complexities, attend to ruptures, assist with repair and strengthen relationships prior to reunification.
This presentation will highlight, as interpersonal relationships are strengthened, children begin to perceive and interact with their parents as caring, safe and more secure attachment figures – thus giving reunification a greater chance of success and survival.
Title: ‘Do you still love him Mum?’ – A family therapy approach within the context of domestic violence
Length of Presentation: 1-2 hours
This presentation showcases how a systemic, attachment and trauma informed family therapy approach is being used to guide therapeutic innovations within the field of domestic violence. This presentation conceptualises domestic violence as a relational trauma that can traumatise the child’s interpersonal relationships and those of all members of the family. In contrast to individually orientated therapies for adults and children, this approach aims to work with the family in a multimodal way (parent/family/sibling/child sessions) when separated from domestic violence, to re-establish or strengthen safe, secure and supportive relationships.
With the use of case vignettes, the presentation will bring to life therapeutic practices and choice points to achieve the following goals:
- re-building self-esteem/confidence, agency and parental presence
- creating openness in communication and shared meaning making
- attending to the absent presence
- unpacking complex relational descriptions of self/other
- attending to emotions felt by child and support parental attunement and responsivity
- strengthening mother/child relationship
Child and Family Therapy
Title: Child-Focused Family Therapy – Connecting child and adult voices in therapy
Length of Workshop: 1-2 day Workshop
Ideal for new graduates through to experienced helping professionals, this workshop focuses on the diverse applications of child-focused family therapy with multiple stressed families following abuse, neglect and trauma. This workshop will show how attachment theory, collaborative, systemic, narrative and creative-based practices can be playfully integrated into direct work with children/young people and their significant others.
Using real-life client/therapist stories* along with experiential opportunities for learning and skill development, participants attending this workshop will come away with
- Theory and principles underpinning Child-Focused Family Therapy
- Effective ways of engaging with multi-stressed families, including practical ways to gain access to children and young people’s voices and views
- Opportunities for expanding ‘playful’ intervention skills when working with children, young people AND adults
- Effective ways to strengthen family relationships, promote stories of competence, courage, repair and resilience and move into the ‘not yet said’
- Practical ways of overcoming common dilemmas when bringing children, young people and adults together in session
Title: ‘Nurturing ‘Resilience’ when working with children and multi-stressed families’
Length of Workshop: 1 Day Workshop
Drawing from contemporary resilience research, appreciative inquiry, attachment theory and narrative family therapy this workshop will focus on interventions that bring out children, young people and parent’s best and promote relational resilience in multi-stressed families.
Using real-life client/therapist stories* along with experiential opportunities for learning and skill development, participants attending this workshop will come away with:
- Relational trauma of intrafamilial abuse
- Resilience based approach to practice
- Effective ways of engaging with multi-stressed families with trauma/abuse experiences
- Effective ways to strengthen family relationships and promote stories of competence, courage and resilience
- Moving from therapeutic ‘black holes’ to workable realities
Title: Being Trauma Informed – A school context
Length of Presentation: 2 hours
Children who have experienced abuse related trauma often present with a myriad of social, emotional and developmental difficulties. Unfortunately, without an understanding of the complexities of trauma and how it can impact upon a child, many are often left wondering how to best support them. These children are often labelled as “attention seeking, non-compliant or naughty”.
“A strong attachment to their school can provide a child with stability in an otherwise unstable world: offering relationships, maintaining friendships, providing positive and enjoyable learning opportunities and ultimately building resilience and hope.” (Downey, 2007)”
An informed, supportive and nurturing school environment plays an important part in the healing process. This workshop aims to provide information about the types of trauma and pain-based behaviour, its impact on children, the ingredients and value of trauma-sensitive schools, practical strategies to use with the classroom and beyond with traumatized children, enhancing teamwork between school and home, how to respond to disclosures, vicarious trauma and self-care.