Sectors we work with

Community Health Services

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On this page: Single Session Work Project; Clinical Supervision; Focus on Families Training Project; Healthy Mothers, Health Babies Program Support Project


Single Session Work (SSW):  2004 - 2009

In 2002, a Department of Human Services, Victoria (DHS) review of community health counselling and casework services conducted by John Pead found that of the 35,000 community health counselling clients seen,  50% only attended one or two sessions. Shortly afterwards (2004), The Bouverie Centre was commissioned by the department to offer training in Single Session Work (SSW, alternatively referred to as Single Session Therapy - SST) for Community Health (CH) counsellors across Victoria.

Traditionally, training to CH counsellors has been approved as a one-off enterprise without resources for further sector consultation. However, following the rollout of the 2004-2005 training, The Bouverie Centre was engaged by DHS to provide ongoing support to Community Health Services (CHS) to implement and sustain Single Session Work. This support encompassed:

  • The provision of SSW training ‘catch-ups’ for those who initially missed out or who were new to CHSs
  • The production of a SSW implementation parcel which was distributed to hundreds of counsellors and managers in CHSs across Victoria
  • Working with interested Community Health Services to re-structure their counselling services based on SSW.  Bouverie consultants assisted with change management issues within counselling teams, and offered expert advice and support during and after implementation via a combination of face to face visits to individual agencies, regional networks, and the provision of support by phone and email
  • The inclusion of web pages on Bouverie’s website devoted especially to providing relevant, useful, and up-to-date information around single session work including filmed interviews with Moshe Talmon (Israel) and Robert Rosenbaum (USA), and downloadable SSW documentation, flow-charts, etc.

Findings from a formal research project undertaken by The Bouverie Centre in 2009, which explored the uptake of SSW implementation and its impacts on service delivery, revealed that at least 64% of Community Health Counselling Services or individual CH counsellors implemented SSW in response to involvement in this initiative. This has had a significant impact on client throughput and has improved client access. 

Clinical Supervision

Training Program

From June 2006 to June 2007, The Bouverie Centre implemented a Clinical Supervision (CS) Training Program for Community Health Services in all eight DHS regions.  This program was funded by the Primary Health Branch, Rural and Regional Health and Aged Care Services Division of DHS.  It was built on The Bouverie Centre’s previous state-wide training in clinical supervision in the Alcohol and Other Drugs sector, and was further enhanced by consultation with the CH field. 

Over the course of the program, five rounds of CS training were delivered, encapsulating all eight DHS regions.  A total of 68 workers from 35 different CHSs completed the training, with participants noting an increase in their supervisory confidence at the conclusion of the course. It is expected that this will contribute to improved client outcomes, staff morale and retention rates in the longer term.

A copy of the final report on the training program is available to download.

Supervision of Supervision

A number of supervision course graduates expressed strong interest in forming peer support groups at the conclusion of the training. In response to this, in 2006-2007, resources were redirected to facilitate the establishment of three Clinical Supervision networks. All three networks were given access to the following support from The Bouverie Centre: 

  • a Bouverie consultant was made available for each group's first meeting to help the members negotiate the terms of reference, the process and content of meetings, and other details relating to group process
  • this same consultant could also be engaged for up to  four sessions per year to facilitate discussions about clinical and implementation challenges 
  •  a 'Peer Supervision Group Starter Kit,' containing articles focused on peer supervision to help with start-up was supplied.

Focus on Families Training Project: 2006-2007

The Focus on Families Training Project commenced in July 2006 with an audit of counselling practice in community health counselling teams across the state. Analysis of the sector’s learning needs led to the development of:

  • curriculum for a two-day workshop, 'Focus on Families (FOF): Building Confidence in Working with Families and Significant Others', for counsellors who self-identified as having little or no experience and training in working with families; and
  • curriculum for a one-day 'Focus on Families (FOF): Refresher workshop for those with training and experience in family work'.

The training integrated the best available ‘family focused’ knowledge, theory and practice while building on the often extensive experience and expertise of the participating counsellors in their own demanding and diverse work roles. It was designed to improve the sector’s capacity for basic systemic work; raising participants interest and confidence in seeing family members and significant others as part of their practice.

Demand for the Focus on Families training was high. Ultimately, nine 'Building Confidence in Working with Families and Significant Others' two-day workshops, and seven one-day refresher programs were delivered to ten regional groupings. For more about  the nature of the training, how it was received and our recommendations for ensuring effective and high quality work with families continues in the sector download a copy of the project report.

Healthy Mothers, Health Babies Support Program Support Project: 2010-2014

The Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Program was funded by Department of Health to provide support, education and linkages to pregnant women who are unable to access antenatal services or who require additional support. The programs operate from community health services in the outer growth suburbs of Melbourne, and aim to improve the health and wellbeing of mothers and babies.

The Bouverie Centre coordinated a workforce support project for staff employed under the Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies Program between 2010 and 2014. It has been recognised that engaging with marginalised client groups is complex work, and that clinicians may face challenging situations in their work with clients. The workforce support project offered workers an opportunity to get together with others in similar roles across Melbourne to provide each other with mutual support, skill development and learning.

Worker Peer Support

Staff of The Bouverie Centre facilitated two worker peer support meetings across Melbourne. These meetings were held every second month and group membership was open to all clinicians employed in Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies Programs. We also met with the program managers two to three times a year.

Training Days

The HMHB workforce support project also coordinated twice yearly forums for the Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies clinicians. Trainings were designed in consultation with the workers and managers to address current and emerging professional development needs within the sector and provided opportunities for information sharing and skill development.

Documenting Practice Wisdoms

An important aspect of the workforce support project was to document and share the practice wisdom of workers, which was done via the project e-newsletter and a final report at the conclusion of the project. 

Project newsletter

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