Wellbeing and coping strategies of alcohol and other drug therapeutic community workers: a qualitative study

BUTLER, Mark, SAVIC, Michael, BEST, David, MANNING, Victoria, MILLS, Katherine L. and LUBMAN, Dan I. (2018). Wellbeing and coping strategies of alcohol and other drug therapeutic community workers: a qualitative study. Therapeutic Communities, 39 (3), 118-128.

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Link to published version:: https://doi.org/10.1108/tc-08-2017-0024
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    Purpose The purpose of this paper is to examine the strategies utilised to facilitate the wellbeing of workers of an alcohol and other drug (AOD) therapeutic community (TC). Design/methodology/approach This paper reports on the findings of a qualitative study that involved in-depth interviews with 11 workers from an AOD TC organisation in Australia that provides both a residential TC program and outreach programs. Interviews were analysed using thematic analysis. Findings Three main interconnected themes emerged through analysis of the data: 1) The challenges of working in an AOD TC organisation, including vicarious trauma, the isolation and safety for outreach workers, and a lack of connection between teams; 2) Individual strategies for coping and facilitating wellbeing, such as family, friend and partner support, and self-care practices; 3) Organisational facilitators of worker wellbeing, including staff supervision, employment conditions and the ability to communicate openly about stress. The analysis also revealed cross-cutting themes including the unique challenges and wellbeing support needs of outreach and lived experience workers. Research limitations/implications Rather than just preventing burnout, AOD TC organisations can also play a role in facilitating worker wellbeing. Practical implications This paper discusses a number of practical suggestions and suggests that additional strategies targeted at ‘at risk’ teams or groups of workers may be needed alongside organisation-wide strategies. Originality/value This paper provides a novel and in-depth analysis of strategies to facilitate TC worker wellbeing and has implications for TC staff, managers and researchers.

    Item Type: Article
    Additional Information: ** From Crossref via Jisc Publications Router **Journal IDs: pissn 0964-1866
    Uncontrolled Keywords: Phychiatric Mental Health, Clinical Psychology, Health Professions (miscellaneous), Psychiatry and Mental health
    Research Institute, Centre or Group - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Law and Criminology Research Group
    Identification Number: https://doi.org/10.1108/tc-08-2017-0024
    Page Range: 118-128
    SWORD Depositor: Margaret Boot
    Depositing User: Margaret Boot
    Date Deposited: 12 Oct 2018 08:38
    Last Modified: 03 Dec 2018 16:00
    URI: http://shura.shu.ac.uk/id/eprint/22713

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