In 2002, a Department of Human Services, Victoria (DHS) review of community health counselling and casework services conducted by John Pead found that of the 35,000 community health counselling clients seen, 50% only attended one or two sessions. Shortly afterwards (2004), The Bouverie Centre was commissioned by the department to offer training in Single Session Work (SSW, alternatively referred to as Single Session Therapy - SST) for Community Health (CH) counsellors across Victoria.
Traditionally, training to CH counsellors has been approved as a one-off enterprise without resources for further sector consultation. However, following the rollout of the 2004-2005 training, The Bouverie Centre was engaged by DHS to provide ongoing support to Community Health Services (CHS) to implement and sustain Single Session Work. This support encompassed:
Findings from a formal research project undertaken by The Bouverie Centre in 2009, which explored the uptake of SSW implementation and its impacts on service delivery, revealed that at least 64% of Community Health Counselling Services or individual CH counsellors implemented SSW in response to involvement in this initiative. This has had a significant impact on client throughput and has improved client access.
From June 2006 to June 2007, The Bouverie Centre implemented a Clinical Supervision (CS) Training Program for Community Health Services in all eight DHS regions. This program was funded by the Primary Health Branch, Rural and Regional Health and Aged Care Services Division of DHS. It was built on The Bouverie Centre’s previous state-wide training in clinical supervision in the Alcohol and Other Drugs sector, and was further enhanced by consultation with the CH field.
Over the course of the program, five rounds of CS training were delivered, encapsulating all eight DHS regions. A total of 68 workers from 35 different CHSs completed the training, with participants noting an increase in their supervisory confidence at the conclusion of the course. It is expected that this will contribute to improved client outcomes, staff morale and retention rates in the longer term.
A copy of the final report on the training program is available to download.
A number of supervision course graduates expressed strong interest in forming peer support groups at the conclusion of the training. In response to this, in 2006-2007, resources were redirected to facilitate the establishment of three Clinical Supervision networks. All three networks were given access to the following support from The Bouverie Centre:
The Focus on Families Training Project commenced in July 2006 with an audit of counselling practice in community health counselling teams across the state. Analysis of the sector’s learning needs led to the development of:
The training integrated the best available ‘family focused’ knowledge, theory and practice while building on the often extensive experience and expertise of the participating counsellors in their own demanding and diverse work roles. It was designed to improve the sector’s capacity for basic systemic work; raising participants interest and confidence in seeing family members and significant others as part of their practice.
Demand for the Focus on Families training was high. Ultimately, nine 'Building Confidence in Working with Families and Significant Others' two-day workshops, and seven one-day refresher programs were delivered to ten regional groupings. For more about the nature of the training, how it was received and our recommendations for ensuring effective and high quality work with families continues in the sector download a copy of the project report.
The Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Program was funded by Department of Health to provide support, education and linkages to pregnant women who are unable to access antenatal services or who require additional support. The programs operate from community health services in the outer growth suburbs of Melbourne, and aim to improve the health and wellbeing of mothers and babies.
The Bouverie Centre coordinated a workforce support project for staff employed under the Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies Program between 2010 and 2014. It has been recognised that engaging with marginalised client groups is complex work, and that clinicians may face challenging situations in their work with clients. The workforce support project offered workers an opportunity to get together with others in similar roles across Melbourne to provide each other with mutual support, skill development and learning.
Staff of The Bouverie Centre facilitated two worker peer support meetings across Melbourne. These meetings were held every second month and group membership was open to all clinicians employed in Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies Programs. We also met with the program managers two to three times a year.
The HMHB workforce support project also coordinated twice yearly forums for the Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies clinicians. Trainings were designed in consultation with the workers and managers to address current and emerging professional development needs within the sector and provided opportunities for information sharing and skill development.
An important aspect of the workforce support project was to document and share the practice wisdom of workers, which was done via the project e-newsletter and a final report at the conclusion of the project.
The Bouverie Centre is delighted to be hosting an interactive workshop by Vikki Reynolds on how we can be of use in community work that happens in contexts of social injustices.find out more