Practice Based Evidence over 25 years.
13 independent evaluations and one Doctoral thesis support and recommend our programs.
Consistent feedback from Aboriginal participants is that our programs need to be made available for anyone in the Aboriginal community and they need to be integrated across the state, flexible in the delivery, and must be sustainable.
Whenever we run a program or workshop we undertake evaluations. We use tri-integration techniques, which include collecting poems, banners or a sculpture and more formal questions. Some of these have been included throughout the website. We have had nine externally evaluated programs, including a doctoral thesis in community psychology (available on this website), extracts from these are below.
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The Aboriginal People Healing Through the Map Project (referred to from here on as ‘the Project’) focuses on the delivery of The Map of Loss workshops to Aboriginal people within their communities, and to Aboriginal health workers and other health professionals who work within Aboriginal communities. The project was delivered in the South West, Great Southern and Kimberley regions of Western Australia. The ‘ultimate difference’ to which the project was intended to contribute was the building of the capacity of Aboriginal communities to recognise and respond appropriately to Aboriginal people at risk of suicide. The key means by which this project would contribute to this ultimate goal was by providing Aboriginal people and their communities with opportunities to experience healing through the delivery of the Map of Loss group workshops.
The Map of Loss is a simple, practical visual tool that develops coping skills, builds resilience, helps increase self-awareness and promotes self-care in those who apply it. It has been the subject of four independent evaluations and a doctoral thesis, and has been used for over a decade in such programs as the Youth Suicide Prevention Initiative in Peel and the South West District (Snyder, 2011).
Research findings indicate that The Map of Loss:
The Map of Loss workshops focus on the total person – on body, mind, spirit and culture, which is why the Map is assumed to be particularly effective in Aboriginal communities.
Rebecca Cotton 2011
The initial aims of the workshops were met with most participants reporting developing an awareness of emotions, learning positive coping strategies and awareness of support groups and education and employment opportunities. Friendships have been developed and the members of the group continue to meet informally.
The attendance and completion rate of the workshops was high. It is significant to note that there were no reported decompensations of illness or relapse issues from participants, clinicians or case managers during the workshops, which certainly evolved into explorations of in-depth past and current emotional issues, trauma and losses, some of which had not been previously disclosed. These workshops therefore provided a safe space, the understanding, support and therapeutic process required to work through and manage certain past and current emotional issues.
Concerns from some clinicians in the past have been in relation to ‘opening a can of worms’ for participants in therapeutic group work and that participants may ‘fall apart’ and require extra counselling/support. There is a sense in this group that the ‘can is already open’ and whatever ‘strategies learned to cope’ will only help in the recovery journey – in a very positive way.
Paula Edwards 2009
The Map of Loss is a tool through which to understand and address mental health issues. The Compassis a tool for understanding individuals, the world around us and the interactions and relationships between the two.
This training is being delivered in two, two day format with the option of attending another day for theory and applications of the model dependant on organisational need.
The models provide professional development and capacity building opportunities to health professionals, along with skills to engage with consumers and communities on mental health issues. The focus of these training workshops has been on developing professionals’ capacity for self care and wellbeing to better support health professionals working in rural WA.
The workshops have attracted a broad range of stakeholders. Those participating have included Aboriginal workers from the community drug service team and the Aboriginal healing project in Bunbury. Other participants have included School Psychologists and Chaplains, youth workers, disability service workers, mental health workers, staff from counselling support services, teachers and community service program managers.
All participants have gained inspiration and techniques for continuing their self-care. The skills gained in the training will assist health professionals and other individuals in their day-to-day work, personally and professionally and also provides them with a model for working effectively with their respective client base.
The models provide people with skills and techniques that are simple, inclusive and integrative. Health professionals around the country would benefit from the self-care aspects, along with the benefits of having a simple and highly effective model for working with the client base. Both the Map and Compass models have applications that would provide significant benefits for individuals, workplaces, businesses and communities.
Over three years I worked with Mercycare running an annual program with collaboration with two other professionals, with people who could no longer work due to mental health problems. The evaluation was not published, but a pre-test and post-test on functionality was undertaken on each participant. Functionality included drug and alcohol use, social measures, involvement in family/friends/work, lifestyle changes etc. For participants that completed the 13 week program (5 weeks were of ‘the map’, 3 weeks on journal writing and 5 weeks on the Hero’s journey) 90 – 95% of them improved functionality across the board. The drop out rate was about 20%.
Roslyn Snyder 2011
Over three years I worked with Hills Community Care Support Group, to run a work readiness program with young men who had the following risk factors, Aboriginality, incarceration, alcohol, drugs, violence, homelessness, most had all the risk factors. This program won the Prime Minister’s Award for Community/business partnership. This has been documented in Beth Jackson’s thesis.
Roslyn Snyder 2011
“Whether we face the challenges of change, or teach other people about how to respond to them, we will find here the nearest thing available to a handbook for life.”
Professor Michael Clinton, Director, Centre for Nursing Research and Development, Curtin University of Technology, Perth, Western Australia for Australian and New Zealand Journal of Mental Health NursingVolume 9, Number 3, September 2000
This holistic non-judgemental approach meant that a number of ‘high-risk’ young people were able to be assisted – many with aggressive coping styles, criminal offending, low educational attainment, lack of personal support services, confusion over cultural identity, trauma, and depression and alienation.
Maria Harries and Paul Murphy, The Department of Social Work and Social Policy, The University of Western Australia July 2000
This thesis is presented in fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Psychology (Community) Faculty of Computing, Health and Science Edith Cowan University, Joondalup Western Australia
This thesis primarily looks at the work in relation to the map and the map’s workshops/training. This thesis also demonstrates a way of evaluation using a research framework different from the traditional psychology models. As part of her final chapter (page 131) Beth writes: “The Map of Loss is a simple, visual practical model that facilitates communication, inclusiveness and integration. Creating connection on many levels with individuals, with young people, with older people, a model of skill development, a model for our schools, our government departments, a model that has the potential to change the often-dysfunctional cultures of our systemic bureaucracies. It has the potential to connect on a very real level with people, groups or organisations and throughout that connection bring about lasting, healthful change. Within The Map you find connections and pathways, made possible through the metaphor and recognition of patterns. You realise that it is not about the issue or the behaviour, it is about connection or disconnection, it is about the whole system, not one aspect of it. This journey addresses all of you, and you realise the chaos is an opportunity to create anew, an opportunity to create a whole. The Map of Loss is about creating whole human beings
Tri-Integration technique: a unique blend which enables individuals organisations and communities to effectively gather evidence, evaluate programs and projects with a range of variables many of which are unknown at the outset of such projects. This may include any or all of the following; quantitative and qualitative data, case studies, descriptive data, evidence based triangulation, and story-telling to maintain integrity and context by highlighting the interrelationships between all things.
Tri-Integration technique allows for the gathering of information that can be shared in varying formats relevant to any audience providing an effective overall picture of achievements and an indepth understanding of the very real challenges involved.
This technique ensures that evaluation information and reporting remains relevant for future policy and program development addressing issues within systems and across communities.