BLOG: The importance of working alongside people, not just with them.

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One of the highlights of the Knowledge Exchange for me was the session on understanding behaviour, delivered by Ros Snyder and Shaun Nannup.  The session focused on the “Map of Loss” which is a tool that can be used to help people deal with challenges they face throughout their lives. The map is made up of simple pictures that help to explain what I’m sure for most people are quite intricate psychological theories.

The session was very interactive and hands on. I was lucky enough to be picked to be involved in one of the more interactive sections due to my small feet which meant I could stand in the cardboard box used in the demonstrations (who knew having small feet would pay off!).  I was asked to do simple tasks such as try and move while standing with both feet in the box; a task that proved to be quite difficult.

Being stuck in the box really demonstrated how hard it is for people to move forward even when they try really hard and that sometimes it takes time.

Shaun at points also stood quite close to me, making it difficult to move and was also quite confronting. Having Shaun stand in front of me made it impossible to get out of the box and made me feel anxious, representing how even people with the best intentions can sometimes come across threatening. Shaun then moved to the side and I was able to step out of the box. The key learning here is the importance of working side by side with someone when helping them deal with a challenge rather than confronting them face on.

This session really opened my eyes up to the healing process that Aboriginal people in particular need to go through to be able to move forward in their lives. This process can be applied to anyone in any situation and is such a simple and useful tool. Ros and Shaun both have a wealth of knowledge and I would highly recommend this session to anyone.


Written by Ally White, Injury Control Council of WA