‘Rich’, ‘thought-provoking’, ‘moving’, ‘challenging’…just some of the words participants used to describe PACFA’s Safety Through Diversity Conference, a ‘festival of ideas’ that took place over 5 days online from 14-18 November 2022.
Following feedback from the more than 300 attendees, PACFA has opened access to the event’s recordings to all members.
Recordings for 4 of the conference days are now available at our website, as a member-only benefit. Sign in with your member username and password to access the recordings of:
Day 1 - Indigenous Healing Practices
Day 3 - The Politics of Mental Health
Day 4 - Research and the future of the professions
Day 5 - Wrap-up: bringing it all together
While Day 2: Diversity in Gender, Body, Kinship and Sexuality was highly valued by participants for the generous personal sharing of its collaborators, it will not be made available publicly out of respect for the deeply personal experiences that were shared.
For the first time, the conference was presented online in an innovative collaborative format, with key ‘collaborators’ generating conversations centred on each day’s theme. Attendees were able to take part in the conversation by adding their comments and questions in the ‘chat’.
On the collaborative format, one attendee commented in their feedback survey:
‘Thank you so very much for the thought put into the learning we received and how we received it. I think it breaks down really important norms around the way conferences are delivered, and the way we all interact as professionals, and I feel proud to be part of a group of people who are sharing in a very heartfelt, non-hierarchical and respectful way.’
The conference began with 6 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Healing Practitioners - including PACFA’s College of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Healing Practices (CATSIHP) Convenors Emeritus Professor Judy Atkinson and Bianca Stawiarski – yarning about their work healing the trauma impacts of colonisation.
PACFA’s CEO, Johanna de Wever, outlined where counsellors and psychotherapists are positioned within Australia’s mental health sector on Day 3 of the conference, themed ‘The Politics of Mental Health’, along with PACFA’s advocacy and networking strategy. She said there were ‘enormous opportunities’ for members, despite current ineligibility for Medicare rebates.
PACFA thanks the Conference Committee members: PACFA President Nigel Polak, Emeritus Professor Judy Atkinson, Bianca Stawiarski, Dr Gávi Ansara, PJ Menon, Dr Alexandra Bloch-Atefi, Rachel Friebel and Tony Clarkson for their phenomenal effort. Our gratitude also goes out to all collaborators and the PACFA staff members who contributed to creating the conference.
Said another attendee: ‘I have worked in the field for 23 years and I don’t think I have ever attended such a rich and thought-provoking conference.’