2016 Gathering


"come sit together"


21-23 November 2016 Rydges Hotel, Melbourne

ATCA 2016 Gathering "come sit together"



The Australasian Therapeutic Communities Association (ATCA) is made up of over 35 organisations from Australia and New Zealand offering Therapeutic Community and Residential Rehabilitation to adolescents, adults, and families. These Programs work with and achieve positive outcomes for some of the community’s most marginalised “priority populations” including Aboriginal and Torres Strait and Pacific Islanders.


This year’s conference will steer away from the traditional conference format to one of a gathering with the theme of “Come sit together” bringing together “mainstream” alcohol and other drug treatment and support programs and Aboriginal health organisations that work together to bring about positive outcomes for first nations clients, their children, their families, their mobs and the community.


The conference organising committee this year is made up of: Odyssey House Victoria, Windana, Youth Support and Advocacy Service (YSAS), the Salvation Army and for the very first time, Ngwala Willumbong Ltd. VACCHO has come on board to support the development of the conference as a genuine first people’s event hosted by what is referred to as a “mainstream” association.


We look forward to welcoming you to this year’s conference, and invite you to register by clicking on the "register now" button below

Registration Type



Full Registration (ATCA Member)

Full Registration (Non ATCA Member)

Day Registration (ATCA Member)

Day Registration (Non ATCA Member)

Conference Dinner & ATCA Award Presentation



This year’s James A. Pitts Oration will be delivered by Aboriginal journalist, Mr Stan Grant, one of Australia’s finest storytellers and public speakers.  Registration for this event is included in the full registration fee, or may be purchased separately for those not attending the full conference.

This event will take place on Wednesday the 23rd of November


James A. Pitts Oration: Mr Stan Grant

Early bird

before 31.08








after 31.08



















Tomorrow Does Not Exist
Working with people who have suffered enough loss that they feel that a positive tomorrow cannot exist.

Presented by Tom Regehr from CAST Canada

Book fast – workshop restricted to 44 participants!

Do you see people who are Perpetually Angry and Profoundly Stuck?

Gather a deep understanding of The Role Of Trauma, Loss and Unresolved Grief in your clients for whom “Tomorrow Does Not Exist.”


Learn safe, productive ways to move ahead. A dynamic blend of lecture, reflective experience, room discussion and tools.


Morning:  Introduction, Experiential Exercise and Debriefing

  • Introduction - 'trauma', traumatic stress, cycles of loss, unresolved grief, addiction etc.
  • Room discussion about the challenges of working with these folk
  • The " Heartset Exercise", an experiential exercise
  • Debriefing and application


Afternoon: Lecture and Discussion - 5 part guide. You will learn how to:

  • Identify clients for whom “Tomorrow Does Not Exist”
  • Talk with a client for whom Tomorrow Does Not Exist without doing harm
  • Identify the scope and nature of their 'today'
  • Introduce them to a functional healthy tomorrow and empower them to move ahead independently
  • Reflecting on Addiction/Substance use and self-harm


The Organic Origin of the TDNE concept and tools

Over a period of 6 years CAST Canada held more than 100 Panel discussions in which 3-4 people with direct experience with complex trauma and addiction spent 2-3 hours with 25-40 working health/helping professionals in open, frank and safe discussion. Over time themes and concrete ideas emerged about the important pieces of the individual experience as well as what was helpful in therapeutic relationships. These ideas were captured, proofed and re-visited by fresh panel members and audiences.  The ideas were then held up to known concepts of trauma and addiction from leading experts for connections. The result is a workshop based on the real experience of suffering and recovery and evidence based approaches. The tools and language are concrete, easy to remember, easy to use, holistic, helpful, respectful. Over 2,700 professionals participated.


Outcomes: You will,

  • Gain a better understanding of the effect of cumulative loss and traumatic stress.
  • Improve listening skills
  • Shift your expectations and definitions of what ‘progress’ is
  • Reduce your stress around these challenges
  • Be more able to be 'present' with your client and self.


Concrete - Easy to remember - Easy to use - Holistic - Helpful – Respectful



The ATCA Standard: Technical Expert Training

Presented by Barry Evans from ATCA in conjunction with

Institute for Healthy Communities Australia Inc (IHCA)


























































By application


The opportunity for delegates to visit some of our therapeutic communities and other services is an important part of the ATCA Conference program.  This year we are offering two fantastic opportunities for delegates to visit services in Victoria.  Please choose one of the options below.


Buses will depart from the Rydges Hotel on Monday morning and journey to the first of the programs listed for each tour (Windana Site visit 1; and Birribi Site visit 2).  Costs for each of these is included in your registration fee, and will include bus travel, morning/afternoon teas, and lunch.  You will have the opportunity to meet with staff and residents of each of these unique programs and discuss the variety of services offered.


Site visit 1


The Windana Therapeutic Community is a 40 bed residential facility located on a 40 acre property in Maryknoll, Victoria.  The program is delivered through four different phases over a period of 6-12 months.  Residents of all phases live together in shared accommodation across five separate houses to support each other through the program.






Bunjilwarra provides a 12 bed residential rehabilitation and healing service for Aboriginal young people (male and female) aged between 16 and 25 years. It is a purpose-built, statewide service situated on a 1.7 hectare site in Hastings, Victoria.




Site visit 2


Birribi ( YSAS) provides a structured, experiential environment based on therapeutic community principles for vulnerable young people managing their alcohol and drug use. Birribi is a 15-bed residential program, located in the north-east of Melbourne, providing a holistic program comprising a mix of group and individual therapy, recreational, vocational and educational activities, with an overall focus on community living and shared responsibility.




Odyssey House is a 113 bed therapeutic community that integrates a 32 bed family program into its operations. Following a social psychiatric model of recovery, the program offers a comprehensive assessment of medical, psychological, and psychiatric need and follows a balanced daily routine of maintenance/ work related activity, passive and active recreational pursuits, good nutrition and adequate rest.

Odyssey has beds allocated specifically for parents with accompanying children from birth to age twelve. On-site child care and family sensitive practice are central to program planning.



The Conference Organisers have negotiated a special discounted accommodation rate with Rydges Melbourne Hotel during the ATCA Conference. Rydges is delighted to offer a special rate for delegates of $170.00 on Sunday 20 November and $205.00 per night room for other nights (valid for a Queen Deluxe Room or Deluxe Twin Room):


Sunday, 20 November

Monday, 21 November

Tuesday, 23 November, and

Wednesday, 24 November 2016


As rooms are limited, please book as soon as possible.


To book, please follow these simple steps:


  1. Call the hotel on 03 9662 0511 OR email
  2. If calling, please press ‘1’ for reservations
  3. Provide the reservations staff with your booking details (dates of your stay, name, contact details, credit card details) and the event code: H- ATC111016
  4. Subject to availability, your reservation will be made and a confirmation sent to the provided email address



Hotel and Conference Venue


186 Exhibition Street, Melbourne

Victoria 3000 Australia



Register yourself or a group by credit card





Register yourself or a group by direct deposit










Special assistance from:


Contact Name: Lynne Magor-Blatch

Company Name: Australasian Therapeutic Communities Association

Telephone: +61 422 904 040