Sectors we work with

Veterans and Veterans Family Counselling Service (VVCS)

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In 2010, The Bouverie Centre was contracted by the VVCS to build the capacity of its counsellors to better respond to the needs of the families of Veterans, particularly families with young children. The scope of the project was as follows:

  • Review existing levels of family practice within VVCS
  • Adapt two family practice models to the VVCS context – Family Consultation and Let’s Talk
  • Train 19 counsellors (approximately half of whom were clinical team leaders)
  • Provide post training support including group supervision and booster sessions

The VVCS rapidly demonstrated improvement in its responsiveness to families. Seventy-eight family consultations were conducted in VVCS offices across Australia March and September 2011. These typically took place in the context of individually oriented sessions, suggesting that a service was provided to families who might not otherwise have received assistance.

In addition to the actual uptake of the model, there were a number of indirect and diffuse effects of the projects. For example, counsellors described more conversations with their clients about family issues and more discussions in clinical forums of family related matters. This extended in some instances to increased rates of involvement of families in counselling sessions.

Another significant achievement of the project was the addition of a mechanism to record a Family Consultation within the existing data capture system. Further areas were targeted for improvement and included physical environment, clinical processes and organisational support.

Aside from a ‘goodness of fit’ of the models for counsellors, which was evident in feedback given during practice development groups, other factors influenced the encouraging rate of uptake. Firstly there were a number of counsellors at the VVCS with advanced qualifications and skills in working with families who were receptive to the idea of promoting more routine family involvement. Equally important, many of the counsellors trained and supported were enthusiastic champions for family sensitive practice.

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