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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Official URL: https://www.emeraldinsight.com/doi/abs/10.1108/TC-...
Link to published version:: https://doi.org/10.1108/tc-08-2017-0024

Abstract

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: Law and Criminology Research Group
Identification Number: https://doi.org/10.1108/tc-08-2017-0024
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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