Together, We Are Strong (TWAS) is a series of initiatives, workshops and courses to form a professional development program for religious leaders, imams, religious workers, community members and service providers.
Australian religious leaders and workers are faced with tremendous pressure and evolving responsibilities. They are looked upon for spiritual guidance and leadership and are expected to teach people of multiple generations and cultural backgrounds about Islam. Their roles range from leading prayers to supporting communities and resolving disputes. Most religious leaders and workers in Australia are well experienced in some of these responsibilities, however, there has been little specific training in the ethical, legal and professional competencies to handle psychosocial problems.
The Islamic Psychosocial Skills Training (IPST) seminars feature a rich program, interactive workshops and discussions. The two-day seminar provides information on how to integrate psychosocial support with Islamic spiritual care for individuals or families who come to religious workers for assistance. In previous iterations of the program Psychologists from Mindwise Psychology and Vital Mind Psychology have presented.
The content of the program includes counselling methods targeted at couples, sexual concerns, dispute resolution, domestic violence, and relationship education. The project also provides marital education for couples and families which focuses on sustaining a healthy family environment. In addition, the program also provides cultural and religious awareness training to service providers to enable improved engagement with the Muslim community. Participants learn about the Islamic foundations for psychosocial support, counselling skills and techniques, case studies of common issues brought to imams, professional services for referrals, mandatory reporting requirements, and strategies for increasing support towards religious workers.
Over 20 religious leaders have participated in the program so far with many indicating a need for more of these initiatives.
The LMA in collaboration with TAFE NSW runs a Diploma of Counselling.
The Diploma of Counselling offers a practical and theoretical foundation for effective counselling. It provides participants with training and experience that enables religious workers and leaders to work in either an agency or private practice.
In its first year, the course was delivered to 11 religious workers and leaders from the Muslim community who all graduated with a Diploma of Counselling.
If you are a religious worker or leader and want to participate
in the next Diploma of Counselling please contact us.
Legal Aid Workshops are run regularly that cover topics including family law, domestic violence, and immigration and protection laws continue to be organised through the LMA.