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"Volunteering at Drug Arm - Hillbank (SA)"

About: Healthy Options Australia

(as a volunteer/advocate),

I have been a volunteer support worker at Drug Arm for approximately one year. In this time, I have gained a real insight into the nature of the drug and alcohol support program run by the organisation, CAFSS (Community and Family Support Service). Below are several aspects of the program that I consider valuable to clients. These are based on first-hand experience of what I've found to work well.

1. The CAFSS program takes a client-centered approach. This means that we discuss and work on what clients prefer. It also means that we do not tell clients that they must stop using alcohol or other drugs altogether - whether they want to achieve abstinence or reduction is entirely their choice. Team workers tailor the program around the client's wishes and needs. From experience, I have found that client-centered approach enables clients to feel comfortable (rather than hesitant or intimidated) as well as express what their real concerns are.

2. The CAFSS program has a variety of approaches which can be used to support clients. Support workers undergo comprehensive training in different interventions. If one particular intervention is not working for a client, team workers will approach sessions in a different manner to suit the client better.

3. Whilst clients join the CAFSS program predominantly due to their alcohol or other drug problems, sessions ultimately cover a broad range of topics. It is often necessary to discuss other matters in the client's life to better understand his or her substance issues. Consequently, a person completes the CAFSS program not only with their substance issue being alleviated but other areas of their life also being enhanced. These other aspects may include self-esteem, family relationships, communication skills and interpersonal skills.

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