Facilitating Empowerment: The Family Wellbeing Program in Alice Springs

  • Komla Tsey


There are no easy strategies to manage complex challenges (so-called wicked problems) such as colonial dispossession of Indigenous people of their lands and the associated prejudice, discrimination, poverty, trauma and loss. As a researcher working in environments such as these, you must understand the importance of trauma-informed approaches in enabling people not only to heal from past hurt and pain but also to be able to live flourishing lives. Trauma-informed interventions such as the Family Wellbeing program address the psychosocial dimensions of trauma. They take a strengths-based approach whereby people regain a sense of empowerment and control over their lives. In this story, I describe my early efforts to measure the extent and degree of change possible with personal empowerment programs using social research in Alice Springs. I learned many lessons, often through frustration, about the nature of personal empowerment and the ways in which empowerment programs and research might be used more effectively to generate wider-reaching structural and political change in communities.


  1. Every, A., Williams, E., & Tsey, K. (2002). ‘Caring and sharing, arntearntearemeleantheme’: Family Wellbeing community report. Alice Springs: University of Queensland School of Population Health, Cairns &Tangentyere Council.Google Scholar
  2. Tsey, K. (2000). An innovative family support program by and for Indigenous Australians: reflections in evaluation practice. Journal of Family Studies, 6(2), 302–308. Scholar
  3. Tsey, K., & Every, A. (2000a). Evaluating Aboriginal empowerment programs – the case of Family Wellbeing. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, 24, 509–514. Scholar
  4. Tsey, K., & Every, A. (2000b). Evaluation of an Aboriginal empowerment program. In Cooperative research centre for Aboriginal and tropical health occasional papers series, 1. Darwin: Cooperative Research Centre for Aboriginal and Tropical Health.Google Scholar
  5. Tsey, K., & Every, A. (2000c). Taking control: A summary report for Family Wellbeing graduates. Darwin & Alice Springs: Cooperative Research Centre for Aboriginal and Tropical Health and Tangentyere Council.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Komla Tsey
    • 1
  1. 1.James Cook UniversityCairnsAustralia

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