Elaine Cooper – AOD Counsellor

Today we had the wonderful opportunity of Elaine Cooper, an Alcohol & Other Drugs Counsellor for Primary Care Connect, come to speak to our Community Services class.

Primary Care Connect are a Shepparton based organisation who provide support to those affected by family violence, alcohol and other drug abuse, refugees, Indigenous Australians, health support, financial support, and more.

Elaine’s role is to provide counselling and support to substance abusers who are voluntarily wanting to get off substances, as well as those on correctional orders where it is mandatory for them to have counselling about their drug abuse.

She discussed how rehab and detoxing works for substance abusers. She described the lack of rehab beds out there for those who want to recover and go sober. She described the shortage of beds in rehab facilities. “I heard a story the other day that we have 200,000 rehab beds, when in fact we need 500,000. That’s the biggest problem! I will get someone who will come in and say ‘I’m ready, I want to do this’ and then I have to say ‘well, you’re going to have to wait'”.

Elaine studied her Diploma of Community Services to gain the role that she is currently in, as well as more on the job training. “All you need to have is the attitude, the skills can be taught, but the attitude and empathy can’t be taught”.

When asked what one of her tips were for those wanting to go into her line of work she said “Don’t be afraid to get emotional. Don’t be naive but what it means is that I have actually heard them and I get it”.

We thank Elaine for taking the time out of her day to come speak to us.