Our people doing great things

Other Community topics: Events, Indigenous affairs, Organisations, People,

Bringing Them Home – You Don’t Have To Do It Alone

Bringing Them Home counsellors came into existence in the late ’90s in response to the growing number of Indigenous families dealing with the effects of the Stolen Generations. Sandy Laughton is a Bringing Them Home (BTH) counsellor at the Goondir Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Service in Dalby, Queensland. Goondir Health Service looks after a large area of southeast Queensland that covers Toowoomba, Warwick, Goondiwindi, St George, Chinchilla and Dalby. “My role involves counselling Indigenous people who have been fostered, adopted, institutionalised or removed from their families or communities – so basically, most Indigenous people,” says Sandy. “In my family, my great uncle was removed and I think most Indigenous families have had one person or more removed from one generation or another.” A BTH counsellor for over three years, Sandy has degrees in Counselling and Social Work. She believes counselling can be of great assistance to people that have reunited or want to reunite with their families. “It’s usually a very emotional time for them. A lot of people that were removed were removed to white families. They’ve lost their sense of culture and often have problems with their Aboriginal identity. We help them work on those sorts of issues, as well as introducing them to other people in their Indigenous communities,” she says. Apart from dealing with the emotional issues involved, BTH counsellors can also help people through the complicated process of finding their families. “There are a lot of avenues people can access to try and find their families and do their family histories. So if somebody’s looking for a family member, BTH can help access other organisations that will help them.” Many health services with BTH counsellors also hold regular workshops to help bring the community back together. “We recently held two group support workshops in Dalby to bring everybody together and to lessen the sense of isolation for them,” she says. It’s this sense of community, as well as just getting together for a chat, that Sandy believes can help Indigenous people feel as though they’ve finally come home. “A lot of people are on spiritual journeys so I think it’s important that they talk with someone who has an understanding of what’s happening. It all comes back to our links with the land and our ancestors.”

Tags: , , , ,

Comments are closed.