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Summary

Amanda is the Team Leader and Key Supervisor of our ResetLife program across all sites. In this interview, she explains how ResetLife works, how the program is different from other Alcohol and Other Drug ( AOD) supports and the recent start of ResetLife youth sessions in our Frankston office.

Inside TaskForce with Amanda Mack

ResetLife Key Supervisor

 

How long have you been with TaskForce?
I joined TaskForce 6 to 7 years ago. I started off in the Alcohol and Drug Liaison Outreach Worker (ADLOW) program, delivering short-term support and connecting people to services. Then I went to Breaking the Barriers, supporting mothers and families with drug and alcohol misuse issues. I next joined the youth team as the ResetLife Key Supervisor, and now I’m the Team Leader for ResetLife across the three sites.

Tell us about the ResetLife program
ResetLife is a day rehabilitation program, supporting people who have a goal of alcohol and drug abstinence.

We do group work three times a week and then we also have individual support, a family support part of the program, and conjoint sessions with clients and their families.

When someone joins the program they are allocated a primary therapist but the whole multidisciplinary team is there to support, including the peer workforce as well, workers who have lived experience of drug and alcohol use and recovery, some of them who have even finished the ResetLife program themselves.

The groups include early recovery skills, relapse prevention, and an education part of the program where they’ll learn about triggers, urges, self-management strategies and emotional regulation. They’ll develop skills to not only support themselves around their substance use but also their mental health and other issues that they might be facing. They can use those skills for the rest of their life.

It’s free, obviously confidential, it goes for about 16 weeks, and then we have a continuing care part of the program.

Tell us about ResetLife’s continuing care
After participants finish the formal part of the program, they continue to come in and do fun stuff with the peer workers. And that means ongoing accountability and support but at this point they can also develop a friendship network with the other people who have come into the program. For a lot of people they get particularly isolated when they start to pull themselves away from dependence, because a lot of the friendship groups they have developed have also been using substances. So to be able to move away from that they often find that they have to move away from their friends and friendship groups.

Continuing care helps them build social groups outside of that, and gives them the ongoing connection with us as well, so if they do face any difficulties they can still come and get support as they go along their journey. And we can help them out with things like finding employment, writing resumes, getting to work or education.

What makes ResetLife different from other alcohol and drug supports?
Even though the program is utilising the matrix model and you’ve got that group therapy, it is also individualised so you’ve got the best of both worlds. You’ve got the beauty that happens in a group where everyone supports one another and they build on each other’s knowledge and understanding, and encourage each other along their journey. And you also get that individual support from the amazing clinical team we have in ResetLife that can help them achieve their goals and keep tailoring the support they need along their journey with us.

One of the amazing things when you’re delivering a program and you’re sitting in a group is watching that lightbulb moment happen with somebody. You can just see, suddenly it makes sense: that the education we’re providing about the body and the brain and addiction, and

how come they’ve been so stuck. Suddenly it all clicks into place and they begin to understand how come they’ve been going around in circles for so long. And because they can now understand it they’re able to make that change happen for themselves. Suddenly they’re able to gain the control that’s been lost for such a long time.

The thing with us as well is if somebody does have problems along the way, we give them the extra support. We’re not punitive – if somebody’s struggling we might have to take them out of the group but we step up the individual supports, we can get them back into detox if necessary. We’ve got that flexible approach to treatment which works around the individual’s needs; it’s a very person-centred approach to treatment.

What’s the best part of the program?
You get to sit with somebody and see them across their whole journey. So we’ll get somebody who might start with us and is really struggling, and then we see them come out the other side and they’ve achieved their outcomes and that’s just so amazing to see.

We’ve got so many examples, but we’ve got a volunteer here at the moment, and when he first became engaged with TaskForce he hadn’t gone to school for two years, he was 17 years old. He was struggling with a mental health diagnosis, he wasn’t taking his medicine. There were a lot of issues at home with his family and his friends.

Then he started to attend regularly with us. Since then he’s got a new mental health assessment done, built a relationship with his psychiatrist and started taking his medication. He then started to reattend school. Now he’s about to complete year 12. He’s volunteering as a soccer coach and playing soccer regularly and is doing incredibly well. He’s completed the ResetLife program and is here now as a volunteer peer worker.

So that’s just one example.

We’ve had another person who came in to one of our groups. When she came in she was binge drinking, and unable to leave her bedroom, with a multitude of mental health diagnoses including OCD, eating disorders, anxiety and depression. And then she completed the program, and she’s now an air steward. So you can just see how the transition really does happen in the program, and the difference it can make.

The program has recently expanded to Frankston. Can you tell us more about this great news?
We’re really excited to have Frankston up and running. We’re obviously just starting out but we’ve got clients, and more referrals, and we’ve already started our two groups. We’ve got a fantastic team – our two primary therapists, we’ve got our peer worker, we’ve got someone doing the youth education and the family and significant other group happening online. It’s a diverse and interesting team of people who have come together beautifully It’s early days, but it’s all really exciting.

Any final thoughts to share?
We’re always open for referrals! We have no waitlists and referrals can be made by anybody. We have programs in Frankston, Moorabbin and Cranbourne. As long as somebody decides that abstinence is their goal, then we can work with them. Just contact resetlife@taskforce.org.au

ResetLife is supported by funding from South Eastern Melbourne Primary Health Network through the Australian Government’s PHN Program.