A group work approach with Aboriginal children exposed to parental violence

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Copenace, Sherry
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This practicum concentrated on a time limited, structured and closed group work approach with Aboriginal children between the ages of seven and ten years old who had been exposed to parental violence. All of the children were living in homes led by single mothers. The majority had sought refuge in women's shelters and for them the violence had stopped between five months and five years before becoming involved with this process. The treatment modality was a psychoeducational group work intervention for the children, with the inclusion of an Aboriginal tradition, a "smudge". A total of eight children were involved with this practicum and all but one child completed the group program(s). Clinical impressions suggested that some of the clients' objectives were met as many of the children were able to identify their feelings and experiences related to parental violence, to develop a personal safety plan, and seemed to experience an increase in self confidence. In general, the children seemed to benefit from a safe, fun and supportive group environment.