The APS, with funding from the Australian Government Department of Health, has developed a national online training program designed to support health professionals working in mainstream services to deliver their services in an appropriate and sensitive manner to people who have been affected by forced adoption policies and practices in Australia. 

The training is funded for all health and community professionals including counsellors, therapists, general practitioners, psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, occupational therapists, mental health nurses and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workers and covers:

  1. Three learn-at-your-own-pace online courses to provide historical context and suggest frameworks and principles to guide clinical work
  2. A series of webinars designed to enhance the content in the online courses
  3. A practice guidance that provides evidence-based approaches for working with people affected by forced adoption.

It is important to note that the webinars and practice guidance are designed to support the online courses, and should not be viewed as a substitute to the online courses.

Online courses

There are three courses available for health professionals:

  1. Working with people affected by forced adoption: training for mental health professionals (8 hrs)

    This course is suitable for mental health professionals who are currently working or plan to work with people affected by forced adoption.  It gives a brief overview of the past forced adoption policies and practices in Australia and suggests frameworks and principles to guide clinical work and the development of effective therapeutic relationships. Learn more
     

  2. Working with people affected by forced adoption: training for general practitioners (GPs) (2 hrs)

    This course is suitable for general practitioners who are currently working or plan to work with people affected by forced adoption. It gives a brief overview of the past forced adoption policies and practices in Australia and offers guidance to GPs on delivering effective care for people affected by forced adoption. Learn more 
     

  3. An overview: understanding past forced adoption policies and practices (1 hr)

    This course is suitable for professionals who wish to gain general knowledge but are not currently working or do not plan to work with people affected by forced adoption. It gives a brief overview of the past forced adoption policies and practices in Australia and the impact it has had on individuals and families. Learn more   

Webinars

A series of webinar recordings has been created to enhance the content in the forced adoption online courses.  The webinars are relevant for counsellors, therapists, psychologists, GPs, social workers, occupational therapists, mental health workers, psychiatrists and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workers.  

 

Webinar recordings

Understanding forced adoption: An introduction for health professionals 

This webinar focuses on a fictional case study of a mental health practitioner who in a new role that requires her to support clients who have been affected by past forced adoption; however she is worried as she has no experience working in this area. Access the recording and supporting resources.

Working effectively with people affected by forced adoption - for GPs

This webinar features a panel of experts who discuss a  fictional case study of Anthony, a 45 year-old-man who presents to his GP with breathlessness, chest pain and tingling in his arm.  Access the recording and supporting resources.

Best practice principles in forced adoption work

This webinar focuses on a fictional case study of 71-year-old Daphne, who has been referred to counselling after presenting at her GP feeling ‘depressed’, and is distressed after one of her nieces recently had a baby. Access the recording and supporting resources.

The ripple effects of forced adoption

This webinar focuses on a fictional case study of 73-year-old Jim, who has been married to Mary for 40 years and only recently discovered that she gave birth, at 17 years of age, to a child who was forcibly removed.  Jim is struggling with this - he is concerned for his wife but also has started to question their relationship, as this new knowledge starts to make an impactAccess the recording and supporting resources.

Complex trauma and disenfranchised grief in the context of forced adoption

This webinar features an interdisciplinary panel of experts, facilitated by Dr Lyn O'Grady, who discuss a fictional case study about 68-year-old Beverly, who gave birth to a daughter many years ago and has never spoken of it. The webinar is suitable for psychologists, social workers, mental health nurses, occupational therapists, psychiatrists, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workers and GPs. Access the recording and supporting resources.

Thinking about identity in the context of forced adoption

This webinar focuses on a fictional case study of 46-year-old Liz, whose recent discovery of a mole leads to questions about her genetic history.  Liz was adopted as a baby and has no knowledge of her parents or broader family. She has faced many barriers in attempting to get information about her parents, and has found it to be "an emotional rollercoaster". Access the recording and supporting resources.

Providing support through search, contact and reunion

This webinar focuses on the search, contact and reunion process. It features a panel of experts discussing a on a fictional case study about 63-year-old Jack, who has recently discovered that he fathered a son in the 1970's. Jack is married, and he and his wife have two adult children. He is struggling to make sense of this recent news. Access the recording and supporting resources.

Comorbidity in the context of past forced adoption policies and practices: working with complex clients

This webinar focuses on a fictional case study about 68-year-old Mary, who fell pregnant at 16, as the result of being raped. She is currently seeing a psychologist for mood issues, substance abuse and suicide risk, and is referred for a psychiatric assessment. Access the recording and supporting resources.

Practice guidance

The practice guidance aims to increase clinicians’ awareness and understanding of past forced adoption policies and practices. It provides guidance on evidence-based approaches suitable for working with and meeting the mental health needs of people affected by past forced adoption policies and practices, including guidance on engagement, assessment, formulation and treatment.

It is important to note that the practice guidance complements rather than substitutes the training, as it is not as in-depth. Health professionals wishing to increase their capacity for supporting people affected by past forced adoption policies and practices are encouraged to complete the online training modules.