An Overview of the HeadStrong Programs

BPP’s team comprises professionals highly skilled in delivering culturally sensitive psychological services. The program is designed to cater to the needs of job seekers, particularly within Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, supported by Workforce Australia team members. This collaboration aligns with both organizations’ commitment to community empowerment and culturally respectful practices.

The HeadStrong programs will aid in preparing job seekers for sustainable employment by enhancing their psychological resilience, communication skills, and ability to manage stress and trauma. This initiative promises to bridge the gap between traditional knowledge and contemporary psycho-educational techniques, ensuring a comprehensive approach to personal and professional development.

Business Psychology Partners (BPP)’s integration of the Indigenous 8-ways framework and the Menzies Indigenous Support Plan into its HeadStrong programs is a comprehensive approach to enhancing mental health support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients. Here’s an overview of how BPP is implementing these methodologies:

  1. Story Sharing: The programs encourage the sharing of personal narratives and community stories. This method resonates with Indigenous traditions of knowledge transmission and healing through storytelling. It involves discussions around personal experiences, family history, and community tales that emphasize strength, resilience, and mental health.                 
  2. Community Links: A significant focus is placed on integrating the client’s community and social networks into their support plan. Recognizing the role of family, friends, and community members not only supports the individual’s recovery journey but also strengthens their sense of belonging and cultural identity.
  3. Learning Maps: Utilizing visual aids, such as diagrams and maps, assists participants in understanding their mental health journey. This includes identifying triggers, setting recovery goals, and planning steps to achieve these goals, thereby making the process more tangible and easier to navigate.          
  4. Symbols and Images: The incorporation of culturally significant symbols and imagery in treatment materials and discussions provides a culturally resonant means of exploring concepts related to strength, resilience, and mental well-being. This approach aligns with the visual and symbolic modes of learning and communication often prevalent in Indigenous cultures.
  5. Non-Verbal Communication: Recognizing the importance of non-verbal cues in communication, the programs pay special attention to body language, emotions, and other non-verbal signals. This involves both interpreting these cues from clients and using non-verbal methods in therapy, respecting the diverse ways in which individuals express and process emotions.
  6. Deconstruct/Reconstruct: Treatment is approached holistically, first presenting the overall concept of mental well-being and resilience before delving into the specifics. This method aligns with the Indigenous preference for holistic learning, ensuring that clients have a comprehensive understanding before focusing on details like relapse warning signs and crisis plans.
  7. Non-Linear Learning: The programs acknowledge that mental health recovery is not a linear process. Flexibility in the treatment approach accommodates cyclic learning and the understanding that progress can take various forms and doesn’t always follow a straight path.          
  8. Land Links: Where possible, the treatment connects with the land and the environment. This might involve integrating discussions about the role of nature in mental health, conducting sessions in natural settings, or employing environmental metaphors, acknowledging the deep spiritual and cultural connection many Indigenous people have with the land.

Overall, BPP’s integration of these frameworks aims to create a culturally sensitive, holistic, and effective mental health support system that is deeply respectful of and aligned with Indigenous ways of knowing, learning, and healing.

For Workforce Australia Providers

Business Psychology Partners (BPP) is well-positioned to provide Five Bridges with a range of specialized Indigenous services, utilizing Telehealth and Face-to-Face sessions to address and surmount accessibility challenges. There are four HeadStrong Programs in our HeadStrong Program Suite:

  1. HeadStrong Yarning: A foundational program that incorporates the Menzies Indigenous Support Plan and an Indigenous andragogical approach, fostering holistic mental wellness. The Yarning program can be thought of as a generalist approach to addressing barriers to employment.
  2. HeadStrong Women: Specifically designed for women re-entering the workforce, this program focuses on building confidence, achieving work-life balance, and enhancing overall well-being.
  3. HeadStrong, Directions: Assists participants in shaping their personal identity and values, guiding them to define their vision and personal brand.
  4. HeadStrong, Anchor Free: Addresses addiction challenges by exploring underlying causes and developing effective strategies for change.

The HeadStrong Mental Health Support Programs are anchored in Indigenous andragogical psychoeducation, specifically tailored by Business Psychology Partners to equip job seekers, especially those from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, with essential skills to overcome work and study barriers. This program offers both in-person and online sessions, ensuring wide accessibility. It integrates a research-informed 5-Step therapeutic model, encompassing an initial assessment and up to four tailored intervention sessions, delivered onsite or through online platforms.

The Process

To register and make a referral, simply follow this link: Make A Referral | Business Psychology Partners | 2024 . Once a referral is received, we will:

Business Psychology Partners (BPP) is committed to consistently obtaining Informed Consent and Consent to Share Information. This vital process ensures participants fully understand the proposed health interventions, enabling them to make well-informed, voluntary choices regarding their care. It also includes clearly outlining the boundaries of confidentiality and the specific situations where client information may be shared, thereby fostering a transparent and trustworthy environment.

Step 2 – Assessment

In its thorough assessment process, BPP integrates biological, social, and psychological aspects using the 8 ways framework, focusing on individualized care and cultural sensitivity. A key component of this assessment is the Menzies Indigenous Stay Strong Care Plan. This plan is a holistic, strengths-based, and person-centred tool, crucial for building rapport, setting goals, and promoting self-management. It enables participants to visually map their personal and community strengths, challenges, and goals, providing a clear and engaging pathway for discussing wellbeing and charting progress towards employment and educational objectives.

Step 3 – Tailored Intervention Development:

BPP tailors’ intervention sessions using Indigenous andragogical methods and narrative therapy. This combination effectively addresses identified barriers and nurtures skills essential for overcoming work and study challenges. The narrative aspect of the therapy, interwoven with personal stories and cultural values, plays a significant role in empowering participants, fostering a sense of ownership and relevance in the change process.

Step 4 – Progress Monitoring and Evaluation:

This phase involves ongoing assessment and adjustment of the intervention strategy. It includes regular monitoring of participant engagement and progress, adapting the intervention as necessary based on feedback and evolving participant needs.

Step 5 – Conclusion and Feedback Integration:

After the final session, the HeadStrong Yarn Program team will compile a Program Summary. This summary is shared with relevant members of the Workforce Australia team, contingent on participant consent, and details the participant’s development in key areas:

  • Progress towards employment and educational goals.
  • Enhancements in personal strengths, transferable skills, and motivators.
  • Adherence and advancements in the Support Plan.

A Certificate of Participation is provided to all participants who complete the HeadStrong program.