I have now been with Scottish Families for over 6 years … I can’t believe how quickly time goes by! I have had the opportunity to be involved in many areas of the work of the organisation including answering helpline calls, supporting the team delivering family support and delivering training to the workforce and family members themselves.
I have felt privileged when family members have felt they can speak to me, and tell their stories no matter how difficult their personal situations can be. I read the following from a family member attending a family support group and it struck home how, talking and being listened to, can empower family members to find their own solutions: “Many times I have felt confused and puzzled about how to handle a situation. At times, I didn’t believe there was an answer. But given the opportunity to openly discuss the situation with my group, I have found that my answer was within. I knew it all along – I just couldn’t find it alone – I needed to ‘talk it over.’”
So I’m a good listener… so what… you may say, but I believe it’s through listening and acknowledging family’s experiences that allows an understanding of what families support needs are, not what we think they may be. This allows us to develop our services around what families want and as Head of Programmes I am passionate that we provide quality services in partnership with the families accessing them to ensure family members get support in their own right.
Families also tell us of their experiences of their involvement or lack of involvement with their loved one’s treatment and care planning. We know family involvement can support recovery and Scottish Families has a key role in delivering training to the alcohol and drug workforce to promote family inclusive practices in treatment services. With my ‘training’ hat on I am delivering training sessions to workers with an aim of improving their knowledge, skills and confidence to appropriately include families in assessment and treatment planning.