4 Empowering Hope: A Literature Review Exploring the Potential of Narrative Therapy Among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Girls

Kara Morcom


Young Indigenous women in Australia are the products of generations of colonial dispossession, violence and disadvantage. They are also the bearers of inexplicable wisdom and strength. This literature review aims to examine some difficulties faced by young Indigenous women in remote communities in Queensland, Australia, and the possibilities that exist to alleviate these difficulties. Literature on self-esteem, peer violence and narrative therapy are analysed to understand what is known, and what still needs to be known, by researchers who are working in this area. This analysis will form the basis of a research proposal that will be presented by the author, a current student in the Masters of Guidance and Counselling at James Cook University, Queensland.


This literature review is divided into four parts, all of which are included to weave together professional observations and research to understand the foundations of a potential research project. Initially, the problem will be reviewed, by focussing on my observations as a teacher working in remote Indigenous communities in Queensland, Australia. In this section, I will explain the issues that I noticed among my students, such as low self-esteem and peer violence. The existing literature that confirms this problem will then be examined in an effort to understand the research that has been undertaken in similar contexts and the ways that this literature can support future research in the area. Following this, the impacts of the problem among young Indigenous women and their communities will be explored, citing literature that examines the risks associated with allowing this problem to continue. In the third section, the research foundation for group narrative therapy will be examined. A proposal will then be made for the use of group narrative therapy as a potential solution to issues of self-esteem, interpersonal violence perpetration and educational disengagement among young Indigenous women in remote communities.  The final section will conclude with a review of the potential benefits of undertaking this research, with a focus on the clients, their communities and the counselling profession.

Structural Disadvantage, Low Self-Esteem and Peer Violence among Adolescent Indigenous Girls in Remote Far North Queensland

Over the past six years I have worked as a secondary school teacher in remote Indigenous communities in Queensland. Within these schools, the vast majority of the students I taught were Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander students who face many challenges that are not faced by non-Indigenous students in mainstream schools (Guenther & Bat, 2013). Many of these challenges occur as a result of structural inequalities that are a consequence of the continual impacts of colonisation that have caused generations of disadvantage among Indigenous people in Australia (Dudgeon & Bray, 2018).

One of the most conspicuous challenges that I noticed among my students was a widespread lack of self-esteem. One of the most conspicuous challenges that I noticed among my students was a widespread lack of self-esteem. Many of my students frequently called themselves dumb and were reluctant to even attempt tasks where they deemed themselves at risk of failure. Low self-esteem was particularly evident among my female students, and I propose that it resulted in issues with both school work and interpersonal interactions.

During my time working in Indigenous communities, I was also struck by the number of fights I witnessed among my female students. These fights occurred most often as a result of verbal insults, threats to family, and fights over romantic interests. Fighting involved physical hitting and punching, non-firearm weapon use, threats and social exclusion. As a result, many students faced frequent and lengthy suspensions from school, which a great impact on their educational achievement. Low self-esteem, peer-violence and school exclusion seemed to create a kind of vicious cycle that, once entered into, was difficult to escape.

Do Young Indigenous Women in Australia have Low Self-Esteem?

Self-esteem research began in the 1890s, with William James’s ideas about the self, and increased rapidly in the 1970s when researchers began to link self-esteem to a range of social problems (Zeigler-Hill, 2013). While there is still ongoing debate as to the value of self-esteem as a concept, there is no doubt that a positive self-regard is linked to positive psychological wellbeing and life satisfaction (Deiner & Deiner, 1995; Furnham & Cheng, 2000). Unfortunately, the risk of negative self-regard is most pronounced during the adolescent years at a time when social and physical changes already present significant challenges (Robins et al., 2002). Researchers have identified a significant drop in self-esteem at the beginning of adolescence, which is even more pronounced for teenage girls who report consistently lower levels of self-esteem than boys during adolescence (Kling et al., 1999; Major et al., 1999; Robins et al., 2002; Twenge & Campbell, 2001).

Research into self-esteem among young Indigenous Australians is scarce and mostly focusses on academic self-concept. Yeung et al. (2013) found Indigenous children rated lower than non-Indigenous children on all academic self-concepts, including general school, reading, maths, art and physical education. This difference also extended to school enjoyment and participation and was found across both urban and regional centres. To understand the impacts of low academic self-concept further, Prehn et al. (2021) examined data from the Longitudinal Study of Indigenous Children. They found that a positive self-concept was linked to greater resilience and psychosocial functioning among school children, and that positive relationships with significant others, such as teachers, peers, mothers and Elders improved self-esteem among Indigenous children.

Self-esteem has also been linked to academic achievement among Indigenous children (Bodkin-Andrews et al., 2010). In a study of general self-esteem and academic self-concept among 1,369 secondary school students in New South Wales, Indigenous students were found to have statistically significantly lower scores than non-Indigenous students in the areas of general-self-esteem, mathematics self-concept and verbal self-concept. Similar results were found for academic grades, with English and Mathematics grades being significantly lower among Indigenous students. Importantly, there was no significant difference found between levels of aspiration between Indigenous and non-Indigenous students, pointing to a sense of hope and ambition among Indigenous youth, despite issues with self-esteem.

When considering the impact of self-esteem on school behaviour and risk-taking, research confirms a link between low self-esteem and anti-social behaviour. Hay (2000) examined the self-concepts of 128 adolescents who were enrolled in alternative education in Queensland after being suspended from mainstream schooling. The female participants demonstrated low self-concepts in 7 of the 11 domains examined using the Self-Description Questionnaire-II (Marsh, 1990). These included general self-concept, general school self-concept, verbal ability, emotional stability, parent relationships, same-sex relationships and physical ability. Compared to the boys, female students displayed antisocial behaviour that was associated with greater social marginalisation. This research supports the need to focus interventions on improving self-esteem and social belonging among adolescent girls who have behaviour issues at school.

In attempting to ameliorate the effects of low self-esteem on behaviour, a French research team conducted a two-armed controlled trial exploring the effects of a life-skills based intervention program on self-esteem and risk behaviours (Moulier et al., 2019). The treatment displayed a significant increase in self-esteem scores and mood, compared to the control group. There was also a significant decrease in risk behaviours, antisocial behaviours and negative attitudes to health in the treatment group. While this link does not show causation, it does provide hope for the place of increased self-esteem in reducing antisocial behaviours.

Although there is limited research available that details how young Indigenous women’s self-esteem impacts their behaviour, international research provides some interesting ideas. Borecka-Biernat (2020) found a link between self-esteem and social conflict in their recent study. They examined the relationship between self-esteem, coping strategies, and the cognitive appraisal of conflict in a group of Polish middle school students. Among the 893 participants, lower self-esteem was linked to the tendency to appraise social conflict as either a threat or risk of loss, which in turn resulted in destructive coping strategies. Among the female participants, this largely involved the use of submissive strategies. In opposition, students who displayed higher levels of self-esteem tended to have more productive coping mechanisms and worked directly to solve their problems rather than avoiding them. This study reveals the importance of increasing self-esteem to help young people deal with conflict in more positive ways.

While there is a significant gap in our understanding of self-esteem among young Indigenous women, the literature points to self-esteem being a concern for young women, Indigenous youth, and adolescents who experience difficulties at school. It also points to the connection between low self-esteem and difficulties with both academic achievement and social conflict, highlighting the need for intervention.

Is Peer Violence a Problem among Young Indigenous Women in Remote Communities in Australia?

Research indicates that violence perpetration is a significant problem among adolescents both in Australia and internationally (Burman, 2004; Chesney-Lind & Irwin, 2007; Hemphill et al., 2009, Williams et al. 2009. Adolescence is a time of considerable physical and emotional change with structural changes in the prefrontal cortex leading to increased social self-consciousness, and changes in hormone levels leading to increased arousal (Blackmore, 2012; Yurgelun-Todd, 2007). Yet brain maturation has not yet peaked and rational decision-making competence remains underdeveloped, thus leading to a gap between emotion and behavioural regulation (Philippe et al., 2019). This gap can be problematic for those young people who have not developed the skills to cope with social conflict.

Historically, research has focussed on male-to-male violence, but more attention is now turning to female-to-female violence (Ness, 2010). Much of the research is concentrated in the United States, where girls are said to be increasingly involved with the criminal justice system due to fighting (Chesney-Lind & Irwin, 2007). In Australia, studies of adolescents also demonstrate relatively high levels of peer violence, with one in ten young people between the ages of 13 and 15 reporting that they have acted violently in the past 12 months (Hemphill et al., 2009, Williams et al. 2009). With this increase in violence perpetration among young women, there is now an urgent need to find interventions that address the problem.

While some studies have sought to determine personal factors which lead to violence among young women, others point to structural oppression and the complex and interwoven inequities of gender, class and race that impact teenage girls (Gaarder & Hesselton, 2012). When young women in the United States and United Kingdom are asked to reveal the reasons for their fighting the most commonly cited reasons are self-defence, enhancing social status, preventing sexual assault, revenge, defending loved ones, and fighting over boys (Burman, 2004; Miller & Mullins, 2006; Ness, 2010; Resko et al., 2016). There is evidence to demonstrate that teenage girls use physical violence, but that they are more likely to engage in relational aggression, where threats, rumours and exclusion cause psychological damage (Philippe et al., 2019). Studies show that being involved in interpersonal violence can have negative long-term impacts on emotional, social and physical aspects of wellbeing, making it a problem that requires attention (Berenson et al., 2001; Logan-Greene et al., 2010).

Unfortunately for girls, they are at a greater risk of being victims of violence, which in turn is a risk factor for perpetrating violence.Unfortunately for girls, they are at a greater risk of being victims of violence, which in turn is a risk factor for perpetrating violence. This risk is even more significant among Indigenous Australian girls, with one study among Indigenous youth in the Northern Territory showing hospitalisation rates for adolescent Aboriginal girls that were 125% higher than boys (Moore et al., 2022). The same study revealed that 4.6% of Aboriginal girls were hospitalised for assault at least once between the ages of 12 and 18, with only 0.3% of non-Indigenous girls of the same age undergoing hospitalisation for the same reason (Moore et al., 2022). Children who have experienced violence and assault are at a significantly increased risk of engaging in both physical and relational aggression in the future (Duke et al., 2010; Moore et al., 2022; Zahn et al., 2008).

While the literature that indicates a solution to peer violence among young women is limited, greater social integration is said to be beneficial. Researchers suggest that adolescents with strong friendships with pro-social peers are less likely to engage in harmful behaviours (Mundt et al., 2017). A longitudinal study conducted by Mundt et al. (2017) examined the relationship between social group integration and weapon-related violent crime among young people. With a sample of 10,482 adolescents and young, the researchers performed a social network analysis to reveal patterns of behaviour. They found that girls who committed weapon-related crime in their early adult years were significantly less socially integrated as adolescents than those who did not engage in this type of violence. In fact, they found an 8.6% decrease in the likelihood of committing weapon-related violence with the addition of just one friend (Mundt et al., 2017). While these results do not show causation, they do point to the importance of social relationships among teenagers and the need to foster positive social influences.

Peer violence among young Indigenous women is clearly a complex issue that involves many compounding factors. While research regarding the issue among this population is very limited, what is clear is that these young women are among the most vulnerable of any groups when it comes to being both victims, and perpetrators, of violence. Combined with low self-esteem and disengagement from education, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander girls who live in remote communities are at risk of many negative life outcomes.

The Impacts of Low Self-Esteem and Social Conflict on Young Indigenous Women and their Communities

Research linking low self-esteem and peer violence among Indigenous teenage girls with long term outcomes is unable to be found. However, there is a great deal of research that shows that Indigenous Australians are at a greater risk of a whole range of negative wellbeing outcomes, which may be compounded by low self-esteem and interpersonal violence. These outcomes are likely to be a result of both individual and collective experiences which demonstrate the “intergenerational impact of colonization” (Dudgeon & Bray, 2018, p. 98) that has been faced by all Indigenous people in Australia.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Australia are 2-4 times more likely than non-Indigenous people to be hospitalised for mental health issues, and Indigenous youth are three times more likely to die by suicide than non-Indigenous youth (Hunter, 2007).  When it comes to young Indigenous women, those in the age range of 20-24 years have the highest rate of completed suicide of all Australians (Kelly et al., 2009). They are also being imprisoned at increasingly higher rates, and those in detention are more likely than males to suffer from a range of mental health conditions (Indig et al., 2010). Combined with the already known long term effects of low self-esteem such as decreased psychosocial functioning, and the links between peer violence and adult incarceration, this data is concerning, to say the least (Chesney-Lind & Irwin, 2007; Hopkins et al., 2014).

School attendance, engagement and achievement are also significant issues in remote Indigenous communities in Australia (Australian Government, 2019). Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students in these areas are less likely to attend school, less likely to attend consistently, and less likely to complete year 12 than those in metropolitan areas (Australian Government, 2019). Furthermore, rates of attendance for Indigenous students did not improve between 2014 and 2018, with attendance rates of 86% in cities, and 63% in remote communities (Australian Government, 2019). The percentage of remote Indigenous students who completed year 12 in 2016 was 63%, compared to 74% in metropolitan regions (Australian Government, 2019). Considering that students who have low self-esteem are already less likely to engage in school, and have an increased risk of negative life outcomes, young Indigenous women in this category are likely to suffer even greater risks (Reid, 2008). While these are complex issues, there is clear evidence that “engagement…in education is a key factor affecting the life chances of all Australians” (Australian Government, 2010, p. 10), and increasing engagement among young Indigenous women should be a priority.

Among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations, women are more likely to encounter issues of social and emotional wellbeing due to the gendered role they embody in their communities (Kelly et al., 2009). Indigenous women commonly face challenges with everything from grief, trauma, domestic violence and substance misuse, to systemic issues of racism and social disadvantage. Indigenous women commonly face challenges with everything from grief, trauma, domestic violence and substance misuse, to systemic issues of racism and social disadvantage. Without help, many young Indigenous women remain vulnerable to these same issues, especially those who are suffering from low self-esteem and engaging in interpersonal violence. Despite the challenges faced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander girls, there is great strength among Indigenous women and there is a unique opportunity for “[t]he emergence of Indigenous women’s therapeutic practices as distinctly gendered practices [which] would speak to and with these all too often suppressed experiences, stories and suffering” (Dudgeon & Bray, 2018, p. 108).

Can Narrative Therapy Help to Address the Problem?

Narrative therapy is suggested as one way for people to reclaim suppressed stories (Brown, 2006). Beginning with the work of Michael White and David Epston in Australia and New Zealand in the 1980s, narrative therapy is a “non-pathologising practice” that aims to support personal and political change (Denborough, 2012, p.51). Therapists endeavour to show the client that a problem is not located within them, but is external to them and therefore cannot hold control over them. Clients explore possible alternatives to the problematic narratives that they have embodied and imagine wider possibilities for their future (White & Epston, 1990).

Clients are also encouraged to explore the systemic issues which have contributed to their problems, such as structural inequalities due to race, gender, age, or disability (Denborough, 2012). By examining these issues clients are able to scrutinise the causes of their problems and find ways to overcome them using their strengths. Clients uncover the personal narratives that have evolved thus far in their lives and seek out the “alternative story…in the shadows of the dominant story” (Epston, 2016, p. 81). They can then re-author narratives that more closely align with their reality and their desires for their future. Narrative therapy is inherently positive and humanistic in its approach and it is especially recommended for use among Indigenous Australians (Aboriginal Health Council of South Australia, 1995; Australian Institute of Professional Counsellors, 2010; Wingard & Lester, 2001).

In the case of young women who have been labelled “delinquent”, narrative therapy has the potential to release them from this label. Milner (2003) worked with a small group of 14–15-year-old girls in the United Kingdom who had been referred to her for low self-esteem and risk-taking behaviours. She found narrative therapy to be successful in “facilitating the expression and enactment of different ways of being, and developing a support network” (p. 50). There was increased solidarity among the girls who had a history of fighting, drinking and risky sexual behaviours; and a distinct move away from negative labels. Through exploring alternative stories, and personal strengths, the girls came to believe in their ability to choose a different future with more opportunity.

Kelley et al. (2002) revealed the benefits of group narrative therapy in their study of female adolescents in the United States who had broken the law. Their thematic analysis revealed the embeddedness of narratives of anger; pride and identity; control and coping; loss; chaos and violence; confusion and choice; support from others; connection to family; trust; and hope. Through the chaos of their lives, the girls identified their strengths and in doing so the researchers found they developed a statistically significant increase in coping skills; a key factor in improving interpersonal conflict. Similar benefits in coping have also been found among young women in school settings.

Markey (2015) describes her successful use of group narrative therapy while working as a counsellor in a secondary school in Adelaide, Australia. Using a feminist narrative practice, Markey engaged female and male students in single-sex group narrative therapy where they explored issues of gender, sexuality, harassment and abuse. For the group of girls, she achieved her goal of “giving the voices of students a collective space and visibility” (p. 6), and the boys were able to examine their behaviour and develop new insights into their problematic interactions with female students. This study shows the usefulness of feminist narrative therapy for secondary school students.

Also working in a school setting, Schumacher (2014) undertook a research project using restorative practices in talking circles among adolescent girls in the United States who were at risk of disengagement from their education. While not strictly a narrative therapy project, she used many of the same principles of group narrative therapy and focussed on providing a “safe space for peers helping peers” (p. 1). The groups offered a space for the girls to come together as young women who had shared similar experiences of conflict, loss and disruption. The participants described the “joy of togetherness” (Schumacher, 2014, p. 4) that they experienced in the groups, and the sense of safety, trust, acceptance, empathy and compassion that the circles fostered. Results from the study indicated significant improvements in social-emotional skills, self-efficacy and school behaviour, pointing to the usefulness of group therapy among disengaged girls.

In Far North Queensland, a team of health workers successfully employed narrative therapy among a group of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander girls (Onnis & Stow, 2016). The girls were between the ages of 10 and 17 and were referred for engaging in problematic behaviours of gambling, fighting, sexual risk-taking, drinking and drug use. The health workers used “strengths-based yarning” (Onnis & Stow, 2016, p. 4) to promote physical and emotional well-being and encourage positive behaviours. Although the article which describes this group uses only limited qualitative measures, the authors suggest there were individual benefits and indicators of success, such as increased trust from participants, ongoing voluntary participation, and pride in group membership. This small study points to the potential benefits of a larger scale research project among a similar population.

Also working with Indigenous women in Far North Queensland, Galloway and Moylan (2005) have written about their experiences facilitating a healing camp for Indigenous women who were impacted by the Stolen Generations. In what they call a “[s]parkling example of a community gathering, shaped by narrative ideas” (p. 77), the Indigenous counsellor and non-Indigenous social worker used narrative therapy to engage the women in re-authoring practices. Or as they state:

We utilised narrative practices that allowed for the deconstruction of stereotyped images imposed upon Indigenous people in Australia and engaged a rekindling of what we came to think of as ’heart stories’; those stories hidden underneath layers of violence, colonialism and other practices of inferiorisation… (p. 78)

Participants noted increased connection, strength and pride.Participants noted increased connection, strength and pride. They enjoyed the collective nature of the camp and remarked on the significance of working in groups of women in nature, using cultural practices that are central to their identity and sense of wellbeing. As one participant stated: “The best thing about the camp? Too many things – probably the best was finding my way back to me” (Galloway & Moylan, 2005, p. 87). This research gives great hope for the use of narrative therapy among young women like those I taught, many of whom have also been impacted by the Stolen Generations. While my students may present as young women with low self-esteem who are engaging in peer violence, it is possible that they too may also be suffering from the ongoing effects of colonisation and inferiorisation and a need to recover their own ‘heart stories’.

Potential Future Research

Literature showing the benefits of group narrative therapy among young women are growing, with qualitative studies showing increases in connectedness, belonging, pride, coping, trust, and pro-social behaviour (Galloway & Moylan, 2005; Kelley et al., 2002; Markey, 2015; Onnis & Stow, 2016; Schumacher, 2014). Benefits have also been found for increasing self-esteem among mixed-gender and male groups of adolescents internationally (Jafari et al., 2015; Mohammadi et al., 2013). Narrative therapy has been recommended for use among Indigenous Australians by Indigenous researchers, and has been found to be especially meaningful due to its closeness to Indigenous narrative practices of “yarning” and storytelling (Bacon, 2007; Bernardes, et al., 2020; Drahm, 2018; Stock et al., 2012; Wingard, 1996). Despite this, there are no empirical studies which directly assess its usefulness among Indigenous adolescent girls, a group that are, by all accounts, at great risk of a whole range of negative social, physical and emotional wellbeing outcomes.

There is a unique opportunity to use what is currently known about the benefits of narrative therapy, to test its efficacy and acceptability among young Indigenous women in remote communities. A research project employing a group intervention could demonstrate the effectiveness of narrative therapy on improving self-esteem, peer violence perpetration, school behaviour, and educational participation. This would project would be well-suited to a school setting, yet the results could be illuminating for researchers, school guidance officers and counsellors alike.

Imagining a Better Future: What Difference Might we Make?

Young Indigenous Women and their Communities

 There are many advantages to resolving issues of low self-esteem and peer violence among young Indigenous women. Higher self-esteem has been linked to higher psychosocial functioning and resilience among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth; with greater benefits seen amongst those identified as ‘high family risk’ (Hopkins et al., 2014; Prehn et al., 2021). Increased psychosocial functioning promotes better outcomes for youth in all areas of life and could lead to decreases in the socioeconomic and health disparities that exist between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians (Australian Human Rights Commission, 2020).

Improved self-esteem is linked with decreased risk-taking and improvement in health attitudes (Moulier et al., 2019). This is especially significant given that 46% of Indigenous Australians suffer from at least one chronic health condition, and life expectancy for Indigenous women is approximately 8 years shorter than that of non-Indigenous Australian women (Australian Human Rights Commission, 2020). By increasing the self-esteem of young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, they may live longer, healthier lives.

Similarly, improved self-esteem is linked with improvements in educational participation and achievement (Bodkin-Andrews et al., 2010). By increasing self-esteem, and reducing suspensions, flow on effects will hopefully be found in educational participation and engagement of Indigenous girls. Improving the education of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander girls will help to further reduce barriers to employment and economic participation (Australian Human Rights Commission, 2020). Increased educational attainment is a crucial goal for Indigenous Australians, and would be extremely beneficial for research participants.

Indigenous women in Australia are currently the fastest growing prison population and are imprisoned at 21 times the rate of non-Indigenous women (Australian Human Rights Commission, 2020). Research points to the benefits of group narrative therapy for improving social connection, a key factor in alleviating violence and reducing involvement in the criminal justice system (Daly, 2008; Galloway & Moylan, 2015; Mundt et al. 2017). Without intervention, many of the girls who are currently requiring help for self-esteem and peer violence may become yet another prison statistic.

Moreover, increased social connection may lead to improvements in social conflict resolution, a key factor in decreasing interpersonal violence perpetration (Borecka-Biernat, 2020; Mundt et al., 2007). As we know, involvement in interpersonal violence is a risk factor for a whole range of wellbeing indicators. Anything that decreases the risk of poor social-emotional wellbeing is beneficial to both individuals and their communities (Berenson et al., 2001; Logan-Greene et al., 2010).

The Counselling Profession

Anyone who is working with Indigenous Australian clients knows that “empirical research is badly needed for psychotherapy with Indigenous populations” (Pomerville et al., 2016, p. 1023).  The lack of literature pertaining to self-esteem and peer violence among adolescent Indigenous girls represents a particularly dire gap in our knowledge. Any research that illuminates ways to help young people who are at risk of social, emotional and physical harm is invaluable to counsellors, and for those working with Indigenous youth it is priceless. Any research that illuminates ways to help young people who are at risk of social, emotional and physical harm is invaluable to counsellors, and for those working with Indigenous youth it is priceless.

The proposed study could also add substance to the use of narrative therapy more generally, or with young women, mixed-gender groups, or youth specifically. It could improve our understanding of self-esteem and the interaction between self-esteem and violence perpetration, all of which are areas with significant knowledge gaps (Borecka-Biernat, 2020). Furthermore, school counsellors would have more information about ways to help young people with self-esteem issues, or those who are involved in social conflict. They would also know more about the gender politics and feminist practices that could support their work, and the impact of self-esteem and gender on school behaviour.

For counsellors who are studying ways to help Indigenous youth, this research has great potential to add knowledge and weight to other research projects. As a group, young Indigenous Australian women are severely under-researched, despite the significant risks they encounter, and despite the distinct position of strength and potential that they embody (Australian Human Rights Commission, 2020). More knowledge about this unique population has the potential to improve the practice of counsellors across the nation.


Our current understanding of the impact of low self-esteem and peer violence among young Indigenous women in remote communities in Australia is very limited. Research points to the prevalence of low self-esteem among young Indigenous women, and to elevated levels of peer violence among this population. Narrative therapy may be a useful tool among this group, given its success among similar groups of young women, and its level of acceptance among Indigenous researchers and clients.  Improving these issues among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander girls has a whole range of potential benefits, including greater personal and community strength, qualities which are already unmistakably present within this population.


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