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Our Service

​Trauma-informed care principles

  • Safety: physical, emotional and spiritual. The indoor and outdoor spaces in which the therapeutic work occurs offer a sense of welcome, safety, beauty and nurturance

  • Trust: the service prioritises the meanings, hopes, values and commitments of our clients and aspires to be as transparent as possible.

  • Choice: the service offers clients a range of therapeutic modalities (link to what to expect)

  • Collaboration: we aspire to work in ways that reflect a ‘power with’ rather than ‘power over’ relationship. We value connections, community and context.

  • Empowerment: we are interested in power relations in terms of impacts and effects of violence and abuse. We are also interested in discovering and highlighting the resistance of women and children to acts of abuse. 

  • Respect for Diversity: We have an intersectional understanding of cultural diversity and how forms of exclusion, marginalization and oppression can compound. In the context of on-going colonization of Indigenous communities in Australian, we are committed to prioritizing service to women, children and young people who identify as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander.

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At West Street Centre we are influenced by Judith Herman’s ideas as outlined in  ‘Trauma and Recovery’ (1992) where recovery from the trauma of sexual abuse is conceptualised as encompassing three stages:

  1. Safety and Stability

  2. Processing the traumatic experiences

  3. Focus on connection with others into the future.

Narrative Therapy and Response-based Practices

The West Street Centre team has a core commitment to centring women, young people and children as the experts in their own lives. Our counselling approach also recognises that children, young people, and women who attend this Centre are active responders to the violence they have experienced. The counselling is strengths based – we help our service users to identify the ways in which they responded to and resisted the abuse they were subjected to. Both narrative therapy and response-based practice approaches reject common community views that see women and children as passive victims in the face of the violence they have experienced. Narrative therapy helps people to create safe spaces to share their story, be supported, and make sense of their challenging life experiences.

We work to support the people who attend our service and are a part of our community to understand that they are not the problem – the abusive act or act by another person is the problem. We help people who attend our Centre to separate from feelings of shame and self-blame, and instead connect to the values, hopes, and dreams that they have for their life, which can be empowering and healing.

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