This week we have had the privilege of hosting Colombian-born Australian psychologist Andrés Otero Forero who specialises in transcultural mental health.

Based in Queensland, Andrés has extensive experience working with people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, including refugees.

For the past three days, he has been training Children’s Services Unit (CSU) staff in Narrative Exposure Therapy (NET), an evidence-based, culturally-inclusive intervention that maps an individual’s autobiographical account of major life experiences, including those that are traumatising.

NET was designed for implementation in communities affected by multiple and continuous traumatic experiences, such as organized violence, torture, war, rape, and childhood abuse.

CSU is working with Andrés to apply NET to a child protection context.

Andrés (pictured with Amalie Mannik, Manager, Foster Care) has extensive experience using and teaching NET, across multiple continents with a wide diversity of trauma survivors.

NET combines a narrative approach with cognitive behavioral exposure techniques to address the neuropsychological effects of trauma and memory on a person’s functioning.

Through this approach, clients benefit from contextualizing their trauma experiences in a holistic narrative that allows them to process emotions related to the trauma.

Research has shown that three to six sessions alone can provide considerable relief and support individual functioning, even in cases involving severe and chronic traumatisation.

Ten CSU staff have participated in the training which has involved a combination of theory and activities including demonstrations and role play.