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Day Two April 30 2:30pm-3pm

Cutting The Gordian Knot: Trauma and AOD Practice

Trauma is a common experience in Australia. 75% of adults and 68% of children under 16 will be exposed to a potentially traumatic event. Whilst most people recover, given time and support, a minority continue to experience significant distress. Alcohol and drug use can alleviate this distress, but creates a dilemma where the coping response gets in the way of recovery from the trauma. Many people get stuck in an impossible position where trauma responses and alcohol and drug use mutually reinforce and sustain each other.

None of this is news to alcohol and other drug service providers. We know trauma is significantly over-represented. We see the interactions between trauma impacts and alcohol and drug use. We know that holistic or whole-of-person approaches to treatment and support work. Importantly, the AOD workforce has (to borrow a phrase) “a very particular set of skills” that allow them to effectively engage people who have experienced trauma, foster safety, and support meaningful recovery.

Unfortunately, this work doesn’t always happen and current integration of trauma care is haphazard. As a sector, we don’t recognise post-traumatic mental health conditions as treatable. We don’t explicitly link the capabilities of our workforce to effective therapeutic approaches. You don’t need to be a clinical psychologist to contribute to trauma recovery, but you do need a solid understanding of trauma phenomenology and the treatment approaches that work for both trauma and alcohol and drug and recovery.

  • Dr-Richard-Cash-web

    Richard Cash

    Head of Service Development at 360Edge

About the Speaker

Richard has extensive experience in large scale health projects in the mental health and alcohol and other drug sectors. Richard has worked in clinical service delivery as an alcohol and drug and trauma psychologist, in service management, in research, policy and service development. Richard has authored clinical treatment guidelines, and developed policy resources across health, emergency services and military mental health sectors. He has developed innovative treatment resources in post-traumatic mental health, including digital mental health applications. He has undertaken numerous large service development projects in the alcohol and other drug sector, including model of care development and service reviews. He was the lead for the evaluation of the National Ice Action Strategy.