Trauma Informed Care and Practice – an Indigenous approach to developing worker skills


Bianca Stawiarski
Lead Facilitator, We Al-li

Tod Stokes
Co-Facilitator, We Al-li

Monday 16 May 2022

Time: 10:00am – 5:00pm

Room: Balcony Room 4

Pre-Conference Workshop

Trauma Informed Care and Practice – an Indigenous approach to developing worker skills


This is a specifically tailored, one day workshop presented by Bianca and Tod from the team at We Al-li.

This workshop begins to unpack ‘Symptom as History’, by examining constructs of collective, historical, complex, developmental, and generational trauma evident in many Indigenous (and other) populations. The workshop places emphasis on developing skills to create culturally safe healing environments, through building culturally competent professionals. It presents tools for developing safe story work through geno-grams or story maps to help map generational stories that provide insight for both client and worker care into traumatic distress and generational resilience in healing or recovery from trauma. Using the construct of circle work or yarning’ circle, it opens opportunity to establish ‘what’s in the field’ in the client group, as well as what’s in the workplace. Vicarious trauma can be a possible outcome of working with distressed clients so the concept of the intersection between communities of care and communities of practice in responding to vicarious trauma, across the organisation, in the workforce and in communities is considered.


Bianca Stawiarski operates international Indigenous social enterprise and sovereign business Warida Wholistic Wellness, which recognises that communities needed something different to western clinical approaches to improve the growing mental health crisis around the world.  She is a strong Badimaya and Ukrainian woman, who is a centred and purpose driven healer, consultant, coach, speaker, lecturer, best-selling and international author, trainer, and change-maker.  Bianca infuses her calming, resilient, earthy, Indigenous connectedness into all that she does.  As well as the work she does on Country, Bianca is sought out by organisations, companies, and publications from across the globe.  She is a Lead Facilitator and recognised Sovereign Business for We Al-li Program workshops. Bianca is also a PACFA certified mental health practitioner with an interest in supporting people who have experienced complex trauma, bringing the therapeutic space outside of four walls in a decolonised way. She holds a master’s in counselling practice, a diploma of life coaching, post grad diploma of counselling, certificate in equine assisted psychotherapy, and a bachelor of Aboriginal studies, amongst other qualifications.  She is also currently undertaking a PhD exploring whether the Indigenous healing practice of dadirri can assist people with dissociative identity disorder create inner communities of care.  Bianca hopes that the results can benefit some of our world’s most disadvantaged and vulnerable people and provide a platform for people with lived experience to have their voices heard.

Bianca lives on Kaurna Country with her two amazing adult children, Savannah and Orson, her father, Nick, a menagerie of four-legged family. In her spare time, Bianca competes internationally in horse archery.

Tod Stokes was aware of the need to both upskill others on the work that he does with men but also continue to provide a safe supportive environment for clients to change. In the past, he has had the honour to obtain awards for his work in this specialist role including the Premier’s Heide Taylor award for work in the family violence sector working with men to address their violence. His passion and desire is to educate services and individuals to continue to provide change for men. His other passion is providing social and emotional support for men’s mental health. Tod is a Torres Strait Islander man with strong connections to Culture and community he understands the healing power of Culture and works in a safe confidential manner. Tod holds a diploma of mental health among many varied qualifications and is currently also undertaking his diploma of Narrative Therapy . He is also currently a lecturer at the University of Adelaide and provides consultancy for services on Culture and Domestic violence.