2020 has been a busy year with various projects lined up - and while some are still in the works, one that is now officially in full swing is the newly developed Yarning circle at our Communicare Breathing Space site in Calista.
Communicares' Breathing Space stands as West Australia's first and only residential mens' behavioural change program, offering perpetrators of family and domestic violence with accommodation and services in informal counselling, group work and tailored case management.
The Lotterywest funded project had been in the pipeline for just over two years and promises to be an instrumental addition to the programs' therapeutic model.
A yarning circle (otherwise known as a dialogue circle) encourages participants to speak from the heart. It nurtures collaborative learning and shares knowledge, stories and culture between small to medium sized groups.
Yarning circles are historically practiced amongst Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders - playing a key role in building respectful relationships, trust and enhancing forms of interaction.
Having begun construction during Reconciliation week, this new space has been co-designed and constructed by participants in the Communicare Breathing Space program and brings unique value featuring sustainable eco-friendly materials distinct to the Aboriginal culture.
The idea was first flagged by our Aboriginal Engagement Officer Margaret Drayton as a way of engaging our Aboriginal participants in a culturally appropriate environment so they can feel safe and confident, particularly when addressing issues they currently face or have in the past.
Traditionally, 'yarns' are facilitated with members gathering around a centre fire piece and openly talking about their thoughts and experiences.
This method focusses on a strengths-based approach encouraging participants to explore factors contributing to conflict, enabling them to become more reflective and self-aware.
The interweaving of stories fosters a sense of accountability through informal communication, enhancing an initial and important step in a man's behavioural change journey – and this is something our programs' participants are looking forward to.
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