Transcript for
Reflecting on 100 episodes

Runtime 00:26:19
Released 22/1/22

Narrator (00:02):

Welcome to the Emerging Minds podcast.

Dan Moss (00:08):

Hi everybody, my name’s Dan Moss, Manager of the Practice Development team at Emerging Minds. And today it’s my absolute pleasure to facilitate this very special podcast. And the reason why it’s so special is that it’s our 100th podcast in the series of infant and children’s mental health podcasts that we have been bringing to you over the past four years. So as part of that, we thought we’d be a little bit indulgent and have a celebration podcast, which is what we’re bringing to you today. And we’re really happy to be bringing you this because when we first started this podcast series about four years ago, we really weren’t sure how they were going to go. We knew that there was a great thirst out there from practitioners for e-learning and practice papers and webinars. But this concept of bringing to life the stories of regular practitioners or child and family partners, we weren’t really sure whether there was a thirst out there for that.

Dan Moss (01:07):

But today we’re really happy to be able to report that regularly, our podcasts at the moment are attracting over 7,000 listens per month. And as we’ve gone along, what we’ve come to know from practitioners is that there is a real hunger in a sense to be listening to the real-life practice stories, or in fact, the real life lived experience of people around children and infant mental health. Today I’m really pleased to be joined by two very special guests, both of whom have been part of the journey over the last four years in developing our podcasts, and they are Rosie Schellen, who is our Senior Cultural Development Officer at Emerging Minds, and Chris Dolman, who’s our Senior Practice Development Officer at Emerging Minds. So Rosie, welcome to our very special 100th podcast. In your journey within podcasts, and of course all of your practice development content over the past four years in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander space, can you just tell us a little bit about your journey throughout that time?

Rosie Schellen (02:11):

That’s a big question.

Dan Moss (02:13):

It is. Thought I’d start with a big one.

Rosie Schellen (02:15):

It’s been a bit of a tricky journey, I suppose, because I’m actually a non-Aboriginal person, and being responsible for the development of the content regarding Aboriginal communities is a really hard balance for me. So I’m always really aware that my voice is not the voice that needs to be heard, so this is really a bit unusual for me to be even here talking today. So the journey for me has been, every podcast that we develop around working with communities is not just about practitioner, it’s about experience. Every Aboriginal person that I interview comes with beautiful stories, hard stories, challenging stories, but also a certain amount of knowledge and skills. And every podcast to me, I learn something from, so it’s been a really honouring journey for me because I’ve been able to give a platform for these amazing stories.

Dan Moss (03:09):

Yeah. Thanks, Rosie. And within that, you talk about experience. I feel like from what I’ve heard and heard from you, that we’ve been very lucky and fortunate to hear so much rich experience from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people within our podcasts.

Rosie Schellen (03:26):

Yeah, definitely, definitely. For me, that’s community if you actually give the opportunity for Aboriginal people to have a voice, that they’re so generous and giving with that. And the guidance that they give us with each story that they tell, and I think that’s been probably for me the biggest honour because I get to hear amazing stories from people like Aunty Judy Atkinson and Catherine Chamberlain, these amazing people that also have that lived experience of being an Aboriginal person and being part of a system or a community that’s been basically oppressed.

Dan Moss (04:01):

And I know that within the work that you’ve done, collaboration with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, a big key message that’s been central to all of their work is just the skill of non-Aboriginal practitioners in particular of listening, of listening to story. Do you feel like being able to present these podcast is a key strategy within supporting non Aboriginal people to listen?

Rosie Schellen (04:23):

Yeah, definitely. I’ve worked with community for over 20 years now. And I’m still on this amazing journey of learning, where it’s not like Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities are just like us, every person has a different experience, but there’s a shared collective experience as well that goes along with that. So every story that I hear, or every conversation that I have, be it with somebody that’s been on our podcast or a children and family partner, just gives me so much more. So I think that I have been honoured because I get to hear these stories and I get to learn from them. And I know the worth of it, so the more that you hear and the more that you learn these experiences, the better it is for your practise, not only for you as a practitioner with Aboriginal children or Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, but across the board because I think that for me, it resonates. Social and emotional wellbeing and looking at the broader context of people’s lives, the children’s lives just makes sense. You can’t put them into little boxes, so it just makes sense to me.

Dan Moss (05:31):

Yeah. Thanks, Rosie. Our other guest today is Chris Dolman, and Chris is our Senior Practice Development Officer at Emerging Minds. And Chris, like Rosie, has been involved in the development of podcasts over the past four years. Chris, can you tell us a little bit about your journey and experience within that over the last four years?

Chris Dolman (05:52):

Yeah, sure, Dan. Thanks very much. Gee, when I think back over the last four years in the podcast I’ve been involved with, either as interviewing folks or producing the podcasts themselves, I guess I just really think back to what a privilege it’s been to be able to sit with people and hear about their passion and commitment for this work, actually, for improving the social and emotional wellbeing of children and families. I think that’s just really come through so strongly in interviews that I’ve done with people, and also just the real thoughtful ways that practitioners that we’re surrounded by really, that we never sort of otherwise would get to meet, or get insights into their practice, the skillful, careful ways they go about their work with children and families.

Dan Moss (06:33):

Thanks, Chris. When we think about infant and child mental health and practice, we often hear about the barriers of what’s not happening in that space. Has it meant something to you to be able to hear what actually is happening in this space, and the very thoughtful practices that are being attempted across sectors?

Chris Dolman (06:52):

Sure. I think because I’ve spoken to many practitioners, I guess what I’m hearing about is how they’re bringing existing ideas, ideas that they’ve come across or been introduced to through literature, through talking with other practitioners, through the feedback from clients, and how they’ve brought that into their own context, their own particular context in which they’re working. And then by doing that, something new gets created. Doesn’t it? As you say, it gets innovated or created. And these innovations and creations are in response to quite difficult circumstances, quite difficult circumstances the families their working with are facing, but also sometimes quite difficult circumstances in terms of maybe the systems or the structures that surround practitioners. I guess there’s so many opportunities to feel a bit sometimes, I don’t know defeated or weighed down by some of the systems and structures that surround us in our work.

Chris Dolman (07:42):

But I guess what I’ve been encouraged with not just intellectually, but encouraged with in terms of my own practise as well actually is how people find ways to never go through those things. And I guess that kind of reflects I think probably one of the hopes we do have for these podcasts. It’s not just about circulating knowledge, or practice knowledge, or understandings. It’s also about circulating a sense of encouragement. Sure, working with children and families facing difficult times is not easy often, but it’s important and doable. And I think there’s some things that the people I’ve interviewed have really contributed to me as well.

Dan Moss (08:18):

Thanks, Chris. And I know that you’ve been really closely involved with some of the podcasts that we’ve done with child and family partners, people often with lived experience of adversity, or lived experience of their own, or children’s mental health conditions. Can you tell us a little bit about why that’s been important to the Emerging Minds podcast series?

Chris Dolman (08:40):

I guess it’s been important for lots of different reasons, really. I guess the chief one that comes to mind for me is that the people that we’re referring to, the people with lived experience of whatever it is we’re addressing in the podcast, they have very particular local, hard won knowledge about what we’re talking about, inside knowledge, the sort of knowledge that I don’t have, or our interviewers don’t have, or many the practitioners I guess, that listen to our podcast, don’t have. But this local, inside, hard won knowledge is precious because it can ultimately if more widely circulated, can contribute to children’s wellbeing, as well to elevate it and rank it alongside other sources of knowledge that are perhaps generally more highly regarded in our profession. And so I think that’s what makes it significant. Yeah, so I guess that’s something else I really enjoy, as I know you do too, Rosie, as you’ve just spoken about earlier, creating space for people to speak about those things that they know and have learned from their own lived experience.

Dan Moss (09:38):

Thanks, Chris. Rosie, I’m going to ask you next. In thinking about the podcasts that you’ve done over the last four years, are there particular podcasts or particular things that stand out for you as being particularly inspirational or motivational?

Rosie Schellen (09:56):

That’s a really hard question to answer because each one gives me something. The themes that come across is hurt, the hurt that is experienced by the practitioners, but communities members that we have conversations about. And there was something that really was highlighted for me through this whole thing, but so there’s that story of hurt. But there’s also these amazing stories of connection that to me, and I’ve heard lots of stories, and I’ve worked within the community for a long time, but each one touches me so deeply that I’ve actually re-listened to our podcasts and cried because just to be able to have somebody share that with you. There was one that was with, I think it was a story of elder wisdom that was from the Telethon Kids with Aunt Millie.

Rosie Schellen (10:43):

And she was talking about children that are disconnected from culture from the child protection system, and that she was at the shopping centre one day, and she was talking about this little girl that she’d seen. And she was with a non-Aboriginal person, and this child instinctively just ran up to her, she didn’t know her, and held her hand. It was just that, to me, that spoke so much about connection and identity, and the importance for children to be able to have that connection because that just for me was everything that we work for. How do we keep kids connected? So each story tells me something like that. Or with Nancy in a story of, I think it was the story of two ways learning, when she talks about her father, and her father, who was a non-Aboriginal man, I think he was a Scottish man.

Rosie Schellen (11:33):

And when she was removed and she was put into homes, that he camped on Parliament House for three years until they gave his kids back. These are stories that are just incredibly personal, but teach so much at the same time about the things that communities do to hold that connection, so there’s so much that stands out. Yes, there’s a lot of hurt, but there’s also a lot of just amazing strength and wisdom within Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander ways of being. I feel like I’m really lucky to hear each one of those experiences and to be able to share that with the broader community and the practitioners that we work with because each one of those stories is important for them to be able to consider because they’re the families that they’re working with. That’s the colleague that they’re working, so that’s been really important to me.

Dan Moss (12:22):

Yeah. And you talk about the privilege to be able to share this with a wider audience. And Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander podcasts are the most access to podcasts that we have, are our most popular podcasts. Does this give you a sense of home or motivation that people are actually prepared, and these stories are resonating with them?

Rosie Schellen (12:41):

Yeah, definitely. So Dana, who works closely with me, we talk about it as a Secret Garden, and that we have this Secret Garden, that Community, when you actually are involved with Community and you hear the stories, and you know the connections, that you’re seeing something that people don’t see. You might go to work and work with communities, and they might be in crisis, or they might have lots of challenges. But they’re coming with a presenting problem. And as a practitioner, we don’t allow that time to be able to hear those other stories. So we kind of talk about it in a way of the secret garden, where we’re actually providing and opportunity and a platform for people to be able to hear those really amazing stories of resilience, and that beauty that is within the community. If you ask and are curious and are considerate when you’re working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families, they will be generous and give them to you. And that will just enhance your practice across everything.

Dan Moss (13:38):

And that’s been a really strong message for you, particularly to non-Aboriginal practitioners, that you don’t need to be the most skilled practitioner in child and family mental health. It’s around having that ability to sit and listen and to be curious and to take the time necessary to let these stories unfold.

Rosie Schellen (13:57):

Because it’s about relationships. They actually don’t care whether you’ve got a degree, or if you’re a social worker, or if you’re a psychologist. They care about you as a person and whether you’re going to honour their stories because it’s a part of them. So having that cuppa on the front porch, allowing time to be able to create the relationship gives something of yourself. These are all the things that come through all of our stories. It’s not about your work. It’s about you as a person and whether they actually want to engage with you in a partnership relationship, not one of just you’re providing a service.

Dan Moss (14:32):

Thanks, Rosie. Chris, I’m wondering if you have any particular podcasts over the last four years, or the last 100 episodes, that kind of spring to mind or stand out for you in particular?

Chris Dolman (14:43):

Sure, yeah. There are certainly a few, quite a few that spring to mind. Maybe one I’ll speak to is actually a series of interviews I didn’t do, but I sort of curated them together. And this, referring to a couple of podcasts we did in relation to family domestic violence and child-aware practice, where we interviewed our colleague, Ruth. Shout out to Ruth. Interviewed some practitioners who worked with children and families, worked with men and women facing issues of family violence, as well as some other professionals in the field as well. And yeah, I guess what I kind of found myself appreciating as I was putting it together was the very respectful and child focused way that these interviews spoke about their work, working with mothers who’ve been living with family violence and its effects in their life, and listening for cues that these mothers might be speaking about, or giving as ways of just …

Chris Dolman (15:33):

So respectfully, but just ordinarily in a way, just opening up conversations with mums about not only their experience of violence and abuse, but also the children’s experience of that as well. Just not making a big thing of it, but just something, it made it very easy it seemed for women to speak about these things in ways that weren’t blaming, or weren’t shaming of them, but were also really honouring or acknowledging of the steps these mothers out there take to keep their children safe. So I appreciated hearing about these skills, as well as the work that they did with men as well, who are using violence and abuse in families, and you want to stop doing that. The conversations I’d have with those men about what’s important to them as a father, as a partner as well, and ways that I would invite the men to consider the effects of their violence on their children and their life, but again to do this in ways that was really on the side of respect, but also on the side of the safety of children as well.

Dan Moss (16:30):

And the ability of practitioners to be able to kind of talk about, not even so much the skills, but just their curiosity, a bit like what Rosie was talking about, in people’s lives and people’s values that aren’t necessarily only just related to the problem that they’re having, the values and skills and preferences and know how, that seems to be a kind of common theme in some of the podcasts that we’ve listened to.

Chris Dolman (16:57):

Yeah. That’s right, Dan. Certainly, these conversations are very possible I think for all practitioners to have with parents about what’s important to them in terms of how they are as a parent, some of the hopes they perhaps might have for their relationship with their children, both now and also down the track as well. These conversations I think can make an incredible difference to how parents experience our work with them, if they’ve had a chance to speak about these things that are important to them, these things that kind of make them tick as a parent.

Chris Dolman (17:28):

I think it makes other conversations about more difficult topics are more possible. I think it can be a great antidote to experiences of shame and blame when we give parents a chance to speak about these values, hopes, and what’s important to them. And I think this links up so cleanly with what’s important in terms of the ideas that we circulate through Emerging Minds as well, in terms of our emphasis on children’s mental health and wellbeing, but on being relentless on our pursuit of respectful practice with parents that can really be honouring what they stand for in their parenting as well.

Dan Moss (18:02):

Yeah. Is it something to do with how our practitioners and child and family planners have helped us to think about mental health as well? And I think back to a recent podcast that Penny Sih, a psychologist, who talks about getting children their best life, and talks about mental health as being about living a rich, meaningful life, not just coping when things are tough, those sorts of things, offerings that we get from practitioners that maybe motivate us to think about the whole of child, or the whole of parent, rather than just those aspects of them that aren’t going so well.

Chris Dolman (18:37):

That’s right. I mean, how can we … We need to sort of understand all of those things, and not just understand, it’s not about our understanding. It’s about actually giving the families we’re working with a chance to speak about them and know it more fully for themselves what they stand for, or other aspects of their life, to create context. And Rosie, you speak a lot about: How can we create context? You and your colleagues that you work with as part of the reference group, how can we create context in our conversations for healing with people? And Aboriginal people have long known the value of telling stories, of connection, create context for healing. And so there’s so much we can learn I think from Aboriginal practitioners and Aboriginal communities about that. How can we also in our work create context for people to speak not just about problems that they’re facing, but also these other stories of connection and what’s important to them?

Dan Moss (19:29):

Thanks, Chris. So we talked a little bit about the first 100 podcasts in what will hopefully be a very long standing series of podcasts from Emerging Minds. But what’s next is my next question. So Rosie, what do you think is possible in the next 100 podcasts, particularly as they pertain to working with community? How would you like to involve community members and practitioners and child and family partners in the work that we do in the space, what we’re listening to, and how we’re bringing stories of hope, as well as hurt, to practitioners across Australia?

Rosie Schellen (20:06):

Well, I think the first 100 podcasts, and specifically my podcast that I’ve been working on, has been really setting a foundation for voice, of listening, and honouring experience. So we’ve tried to give a really strong foundation for that, so lots of different experiences of stolen generation, lots of different experiences of trauma. But for me, into the future, I’m really wanting to look at some of those amazing things that are happening in communities because there’s so many things that are happening that we don’t always get the opportunity to hear about. And some of the stuff that’s happening in the Northern Territory around supporting children in language, to support their identity, and what that’s meant.

Rosie Schellen (20:50):

An example, some stuff that’s happening at Children’s Ground, and they’re really seeing the benefits of language and including that in all the work that they do. They’re seeing the benefits within the education system in children’s wellbeing and identity. So I’m hoping, like I said, the first series of podcasts is really about hearing story and experiences of lots of different areas, but I’m really hoping into the future to be able to start really showcasing those really amazing stories around supporting children. That’s what we’re all here for, and our hopes for children to grow strong in culture and identity and language and culture and country. So they’re the stories I’m hoping to be sharing.

Dan Moss (21:34):

Yeah, and for our podcast listeners, or to people who are interested in Emerging Minds in particular, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander practitioners, or community members, how can they get involved in the development of not just our podcast series, but with our content more generally?

Rosie Schellen (21:51):

Just reach out. We generally work on different topics. There’s lots of different things that we’re working on at the moment, so we’re doing some work around Aboriginal fathers and the amazing stories of dads that are doing really great. So there’s a broad range, we’ve done some stuff on family violence. We’re doing some work on child protection. So if you want to share some of this amazing stuff that’s happening in community, just get in contact with us, and we’d really love to have people involved.

Dan Moss (22:16):

Thanks, Rosie. Chris, what about for you? What are your hopes to develop this podcast series even further and to include offerings that we have from practitioners or child and family partners across the country?

Chris Dolman (22:30):

There’s a couple of things I think, Dan, that come to mind. One of my hopes I guess is that we find other ways of bringing children’s voices into these podcasts more as well. We’ve found some creative ways to do that in our e-learning content. But I think finding ways to bring children’s perspectives, children’s voices into what we do, into this particular podcast, form of our content be significant and important. And I guess the other thing that comes to mind to is, and echoes some of the comments Rosie was just making, I guess another hope that I have is around the even further diversity of people that are speaking on these podcasts as well. We can think of diversity in all sorts of different planes of identity, I guess. Yeah, but I think there’d be many different ways where we could bring more diverse voices to our content as well, so that’s another one of the hopes that I have.

Chris Dolman (23:21):

I’d just like to also build on the invitation that Rosie put out, and extend it more broadly I guess, that if you’re listening to this podcast and you have a colleague, either in your organisation, or beyond, whose work you really respect and enjoy, and think this deserves to get out there and be circulated, we’d love to hear from you and partner with you in that, and bring that idea to fruition. So if you know someone in that boat who you think it’d be great if their ideas were getting out there more, please get in contact with us. We’d love to have an initial chat with you and see what we could do.

Dan Moss (23:54):

And these are not practitioners who have to have the problem completely solved either. Are they? They can be practitioners who every day working with challenges that we all face in children’s and in infants’ mental health.

Rosie Schellen (24:07):

That’s right. We’re finding really respectful, skilled, child-focused ways of doing this work that ultimately support children’s wellbeing, and we’re doing it in innovative ways, or in diverse contexts as well.

Dan Moss (24:19):

Yeah. Thanks so much, Rosie and Chris. I really enjoyed hearing a little bit about your experiences over the last four years and the first 100 podcasts. And just echoing Rosie and Chris’ sentiments, it’s been great working with all of the practitioners and communities members and child and family partners who have contributed so generously to the offerings that we’ve been able to make to over 7000 listeners per month. So before we close off, there are some special thanks that we do need to give in our 100th episode. So Sophie, who facilitated so many of our first podcasts, did such a wonderful job in creating a context for people to be able to share their experiences, both in practice and their lived experience. And we’re really indebted to her for developing the podcast series.

Dan Moss (25:08):

To Dana, who’s worked so well with Rosie to bring the stories of hope as well as hurt from Aboriginal community members and practitioners to our Emerging Minds listeners. We thank her so much for her generous and insightful contribution. And also, behind the scenes, we really need to thank Val, and more recently, Josh, for their work in providing such great technical wisdom and know how because without them, we certainly wouldn’t be able to do that.

Dan Moss (25:35):

We’re going to sign off now. Chris and Rosie, once again, thank you so much for joining me. To all of you that listen to our podcast so regularly, please keep listening. Please provide us advice where you think we need it. And thank you so much.

Narrator (25:51):

Visit our website at www.emergingminds.com.au to access a range of resource to assist your practise. Brought to you by the National Workforce Centre for Child Mental Health, led by Emerging Minds. The National Workforce Centre for Child Mental Health is funded by the Australian government Department of Health under the National Support for Child and Youth Mental Health Program.

Subscribe to our newsletter