In Townsville, we focus on working in partnership with communities and service providers.”
Consy Sakaria, Counsellor/Advocate with QPASTT in Townsville
Consy Sakaria shares her experience of supporting clients, communities and the service sector since QPASTT established its Townsville office in 2011.
“I was the sole QPASTT worker in Townsville for a decade, before being joined by colleagues this year. As a sole worker, I have worn many hats. I provide counselling and group programs for clients and communities and I work closely with service providers to build their capacity to support clients with refugee backgrounds and to advocate on behalf of clients. We have had so many interested service providers and schools calling and asking to meet with us and collaborate with QPASTT to ensure appropriate support for their clients and students.
In Townsville, we focus on working in partnership with communities and service providers. I deliver a lot of group work to meet the needs of the communities in Townsville – particularly family and parenting groups. I consult with communities to understand what needs they want addressed, and then I bring in services like Tenants Queensland, Child Safety, and the Queensland Police to help people understand the Australian culture, laws and systems. Through their respective leaders, Townsville’s refugee communities have indicated the need for appropriate support for young people and more opportunities for communities and community leaders to develop effective working relationships with each other.
Townsville City Council named the city a Refugee Welcome Zone in 2009 and reaffirmed that status in 2017. As a designated area for the resettlement of women at risk, Townsville was the site for the launching of an Australian government publication “Getting settled: women refugees in Australia” in 2013. QPASTT continues to support Townsville to be a city of welcome and belonging for refugees who are building their futures here.
QPASTT is able to offer a framework of recovery that integrates our specialist knowledge of trauma with a bicultural approach. The challenge of the role of Counsellor/Advocate is working with a cultural lens through the western model of psychotherapy. As the practitioner, I develop the appropriate balance for each person I work with. My experiences as a migrant enables me to connect with people of different cultures through a shared understanding of the challenges of navigating a new culture. I get to build wonderful relationships with people – that is why I am so passionate about the work that I do.”