Susan Elvery

Susan Elvery is an experienced group facilitator, trainer and supervisor, currently employed by Relationships Australia (NSW) as the Groupwork Team Leader at the Sydney City Centre. Over the past 15 years, Susan has facilitated eleven Taking Responsibility (23 week programs) and provided support and guidance to implement RANSW’s ‘whole of family’ approach to Domestic Violence and Family Safety ( These programs have provided a significant opportunity for change in the family relationships for around 220 men. In turn, this has had a significant positive effect on their sons, daughters and often their current/former partners. Taking Responsibility is a group program aimed at men who have been abusive in their relationships and are now ready to work towards building relationships that are respectful and caring. Participants in the group are provided with an opportunity to begin the process of change by understanding the thoughts, feelings and behaviours that either support change or destroy relationships. Susan is a group leader with passion, insight and depth. Susan has been a dedicated voice for community education, group programs and men’s behavioural change. She is a voice for best practice in the Men’s Behavioural Change Network and until last year, the Institute of Group Leaders. Her numerous conference presentations and workshops have wrestled with how the sector can provide creative and quality groupwork programs through acknowledging and valuing the unique expression that every group member contains. This is Susan’s fundamental core, her ability to tune into the significance of what is occurring for others and find a bridge to harness it. Susan has engaged a very wide range of men, supporting a positive picture of possibility for themselves and their wider family while holding the stance of taking responsibility for any violence used in intimate relationships. The feedback from the men themselves says it all: • Improved me as a person. has made me reflect on my actions • Great improvement • Very important, self-awareness, understanding of anger and well-being • Impact on relationship with my partner is still unclear. Impact on my relationship with myself has been significant personal growth and development of self-awareness • Given me better self-awareness, tools and resources to better handle challenges. Better understanding of myself, learning to focus on things i can control within myself that positively impact on relationships. Externally - my relationships are stronger and much better. • Better understanding of myself and tools to use when I re-establish a new relationship • I have higher empathy for my partner without justifying or rationalizing my actions • Great course, I wish I could have attended earlier. • Very fortunate to have been on the course. Thank you very very much. All top quality! • Highly met expectations, exceeded in some areas. Extremely grateful for having the opportunity to participate. • Good program, great facilitators and constructive feedback.

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    tagged Andrew King's Susan Elvery with NSW 2019-06-05 19:53:26 +1000
    commented on Susan Elvery 2019-05-22 10:22:49 +1000
    I was very privileged to work with Susan over about 20 years, the last 10 of these were strongly focused on family violence and creating safety for families where violence had been an issue. Susan constantly strives for best practice not only in her own work but also for the program as a whole. She has had a tremendous impact on the standard of programming within Relationships Australia NSW.

    I am so pleased that this nomination is recognising Susan for the high level of skill and and the commitment and compassion she brings to this work.
    commented on Susan Elvery 2019-05-21 16:14:48 +1000
    I feel very privileged to have had the opportunity to have co-lead three 18-week, “Taking Responsibility” men’s behaviour change programs with Susan Elvery. The unique way in which Susan works with the men in the “Taking Responsibility” group is seen by few and I would say understood by even fewer people. The group is called “Taking Responsibility”, a seemingly simple statement but translating that into meaning and real change for the men in the group takes not only a highly skilled group leader but a group leader who has the courage, sensitivity and insight to bring the men along the journey of change. Susan does this better than any other group leader I know.

    Susan I admire:

    • Your bravery in being the only women in the group. The courage and toll it must take on you being the voice of women in a sea of male voices. Your voice is powerful and is listened to and your courage to speak up gives a voice to the female survivors who are not in the room.

    • Your words Susan, your words! Anyone who has ran a group with Susan will have been in awe at your use of words in a group. They always have a purpose and meaning, never superfluous, they are challenging, delivered with care, they are honest and they are always spoken at just the right time.

    • Your compassion, your sensitivity, your understanding and your humanity. You always treat the men as “fellow travelers” and take the time to understand, be sensitive and to learn about the men’s journey. As a group leader it would be very easy to take a position of power, seeing the men somehow lesser than yourself. You never do that Susan, you always demonstrate compassion, sensitivity and understanding towards the men and demonstrated to them that there are other ways to be in relationship that are not based on power and control.

    I will always be grateful to Susan for being my mentor, my supervisor and allowing me the space to grow as a group leader under your guidance. I cannot think of anyone else more worthy of receiving the 2019 National Men’s Health Award.

    Paul Parker
    Relationship Educator & Counsellor
    commented on Susan Elvery 2019-05-20 19:10:41 +1000
    I fully support Susan’s nomination for a 2019 AMHF National Men’s Health Award. Having worked with Susan for nearly 12 years and seen her passion for men’s health and the health of their relationships grow into the programme supported by Relationships Australia today, I have no doubt at her significant contribution. Susan’s capacity for self reflection, first and foremost, so that she approaches her work in the Behaviour change programmes with the same ethical considerations she invites the participants into, is impressive. She has contributedly more widely to the field through her studies and research which she sometimes presents, and inspires us as a team to work collaboratively with the TR programme. She has a deep attunement to the circumstances of the men she works with, which I often hear about from the participants themselves. Her work is life changing for the men, their children and some partners.
    Samantha Forbes
    Senior Counsellor
    commented on Susan Elvery 2019-05-15 17:29:54 +1000
    I support Susan Elvery as a nominee for a 2019 AMHF National Men’s Health Award.
    Susan is a much needed female voice in the landscape of Men’s Behavioural Change programs. From the initial contact to pre-group interview to group facilitation and follow up support Susan is an ally to the men who want to change and become better men, better fathers and better husbands. Men learn self compassion, empathy, boundaries and better communication skills through Susan’s modelling of her own self compassion, empathy, boundaries and communication skills. She believes 100% in the work she does and is an advocate for resources to be available for men’s behavioural change programs. The sector is better served because of her commitment and she has positively impacted the lives of thousands of families.
    Deb Moyle
    Relationship Educator and Supervisee.
    commented on Susan Elvery 2019-05-15 10:55:56 +1000
    Susan is an inspirational Men’s Behaviour Change Practitioner. As an new worker in the field I have found her support, guidance, wisdom and practice knowledge invaluable. She goes above and beyond in giving her time and energy to new workers to build capacity in the sector. Her personal style creates an earnest and deeply reflective group experience. She embodies and models for others being expansive and big hearted in holding men’s journey’s of accountability and the safety of those affected by violence. She is deeply committed to addressing the impact and legacy of violence for all those she works with. She holds hope and believes strongly in people’s capacities to change and to have healthy and caring relationships – something that is very meaningful for the men she works with but also for the staff that she supports on their journey’s in this work. It would be fantastic to see her tireless commitments to this work recognised.
    tagged Andrew King's Susan Elvery with NSW 2019-05-15 10:28:22 +1000
    commented on Susan Elvery 2019-05-14 21:04:53 +1000
    Susan’s dedication to working with men in significant relationship crisis through the Taking Responsibility group program is considered and consistent. Susan knows it makes a difference and has been continuing to develop, evaluate and improve the program over the many groups she has led. Her advocacy for the men in the program is very important for improving not only their lives but their partners, children and broader society. Susan’s work is not for the faint hearted.
    commented on Susan Elvery 2019-05-14 19:33:34 +1000
    It is a great joy to know that Susan has been nominated for a 2019 AMHF National Men’s Health Award.
    I have worked with Susan at RA for 20 years and value her work immensely.
    Her professional trajectory is marked by her hard work and work ethics, as well as by her empathy and sensitivity to social issues and human suffering.
    Susan is an example of perseverance, even in the most difficult circumstances.
    I consider this nomination as a well-deserved recognition of her work contributions and I fully support it.
    I assume that those clients, in whose gardens Susan has planted the seeds of change and transformation, are also supporting this nomination.
    tagged Andrew King's Susan Elvery with NSW 2019-05-14 19:32:04 +1000
    commented on Susan Elvery 2019-05-13 14:56:11 +1000
    Susan has been one of the group leaders for Relationships Australia’s Men’s Behaviour Change Program, Taking Responsibility. I have acted as Susan’s supervisor in this role. Susan is a group leader who demonstrates the highest level of skill in what many consider to be one of the most challenging of groups. Susan has a finely honed ability to move between empathy and challenge as needed. This helps men move from outrage, blame, indignation, self-righteousness, grandiosity, shame, to vulnerability, self-awareness, healthy self-esteem and ultimately to taking responsibility for their abusive behaviour.
    Susan ‘weaves’ the most highly refined and solid group work skills, with the deepest of clinical practice – such as inner child work and exploration of shame
    She consistently demonstrates a solid knowledge and understanding of the concepts and content of the group – always able to explain the point and purpose eloquently and concisely
    Susan is always present in the group – bringing the skills of attending, reflecting, challenging, remembering, affirming, educating, validating, processing, containing, facilitating, summarising, linking concepts
    Susan revels in the opportunity to reflect on and improve her work and is always keen for feedback and comment – both from her co-leader and supervisor
    She has the rare capacity to convey her compassion and absence of judgement for the men who attend this group, while holding them accountable for their behaviour – ‘good men, who have behaved badly.’ This creates a rich and safe environment for men to face their shame and take responsibility
    Susan frequently mentors new group leaders – offering her time, guidance and space generously
    It is my privilege to supervise Susan and watch such a master craftsman at work
    tagged Andrew King's Susan Elvery with NSW 2019-05-13 14:56:10 +1000
    tagged Susan Elvery with NSW 2019-05-10 14:15:20 +1000
    published Susan Elvery in Men's Health Awards 2019 2019-05-10 14:13:41 +1000