Addiction, Health, Behaviour Change | CGL

From student placement to full time employment at Change Grow Live

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From student placement to full time employment at Change Grow Live

9 July 2018

Whilst studying a masters in clinical psychology Cherry, like many other students, was tasked with finding a work placement. She described finding a placement at Change Grow Live as a ‘blessing in disguise’. Now, as a full time Alcohol Practitioner at The Alcohol Service, she spoke to us about her passion for her role.

Why did you decide to do a placement at Change Grow Live?

CherryTo be honest, I didn’t get a placement at the initial place I applied for but this ended up being a blessing in disguise.

Addiction is always something I’ve been interested in. For me, addiction is really interesting and it’s a pleasure to work with the clientele group. It was great to go from an academic interest to actually really seeing people in their real lives, how they cope and working with them.

How did you find your placement?

It was great! It started off with me answering the phone and taking referrals. I quite liked that because I felt like I already had a purpose and my jigsaw piece slotted in with the team. My supervisor then spoke to me about designing and running our own group, which was the resilience group. The resilience group was six sessions covering a few different areas, from tolerance levels through to communicating with others about your alcohol use.

Running the group was such a big game changer for me because it gave me a chance to have a lot of independence and creativity while putting into practice what I’ve learnt through studying.

How did it feel to become a staff member?

Running the resilience group made me want to come back to Change Grow Live. I only left for paid employment elsewhere but I was always hoping to come back and now that I have, I’m really happy. I’d applied twice before already. It felt like a really big achievement and everyone in terms of friends and family were over the moon for me. When it finally does go right for you, you know that they don’t just hire anyone and that you are genuinely ready, and now it feels like I’ve finally got my chance.

What’s your new role like?

I’m now an Alcohol Practitioner. It is more about managing a caseload, running groups, running one to one sessions and helping to coordinate a client’s recovery in terms of using the nurses and their GPs to try to provide a holistic approach for the individual. It’s thinking a little bit beyond the alcohol as well, in terms of their recovery in the community and working out what’s best for them. There’s so many groups that we run as practitioners now; controlled drinking, relapse prevention, pre-detox and the community detox programme. I really love running the groups.

Would you recommend a placement at Change Grow Live?

There’s a lot of support here, which is great and everyone gladly welcomes ideas that people have. If you’re an intern or volunteer, you’re not just making coffees for people and photocopying. You’re given a lot of responsibility, once they can see that you’re committed.

There may be a list that says what your placement is going to include but equally you can also make it your own – which is why I’d recommend it. I don’t think you get that flexibility everywhere else. I got so much out of my placement.