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An Integrated Approach to Changing Lives
Alcohol and other drugs are ubiquitous in Australian society, and a certain amount of consumption is so culturally acceptable that the damage they do is often overlooked.
But for the many people who find themselves in a dark place, Odyssey House NSW is a beacon of hope. In the last 18 months, Odyssey House NSW has expanded into offering services to people living in the community in the belief that investing in prevention can have broad benefits for society as well as individuals.
Dr Robert Fullerton, coordinator for Odyssey House Community Services Sydney North, says “nearly everyone has a family member or friend with substances issues they worry about.
Odyssey House’s Residential Rehabilitation program uses a therapeutic community model of treatment, in which residents help not only themselves but also other residents.
Most residents are at the centre for nine to 12 months, receiving individually tailored support including group therapy and one-on-one counselling, plus help with issues such as anger management, domestic violence and assertiveness training.
While residential programs are the gold standard, they may not be for everyone. Dr Fullerton explains, “It is important to be seen and supported within the community setting, where an experienced clinician can offer guidance on what the next step may be in the recovery journey.”
Odyssey House NSW’s free Community Services provide treatment, counselling, education and after-care support to people who have been affected by alcohol and other drugs.
Clients include people who are on a wait list for rehab and those who have recently moved out but still need support.
Odyssey House NSW offers “an integrated treatment and support model that is evidence-based and trauma –informed. Many times we see that problematic substance use arises as a way to cope with a traumatic experience or circumstances, providing a method for escaping the associated pain,” says Dr Fullerton.
He also notes that, “some may simply wish to speak to someone about their pattern of use because they realise it’s not serving them well and they know something needs to change. It’s not a matter of being labelled an ‘alcoholic’ or ‘addict’; just engaging in a dialogue about living a healthier life.”
Dr Fullerton highlights that Odyssey House NSW focuses on enhancing people’s motivation to change, as strong motivation “is associated with reduced use, higher abstinence rates, better social adjustment and successful referrals to treatment”.
“We meet the client where they are, develop an understanding of their level of motivation, and work with them in building the self-efficacy they need to manifest the future they see for themselves.”