DDN May 2022 May 2022 | Page 18



work as a DrinkCoach for Humankind , providing one-to-one online sessions to people who want to change their drinking . We work with risky drinkers and mild psychological dependency . It ’ s an engaging and rewarding role as I get to meet people who want to reduce their drinking but for many reasons find it difficult to access traditional services . DrinkCoach sessions are all done remotely , so even before the pandemic I worked within an entirely remote team with colleagues from across the UK .
' Many people we see via DrinkCoach have never spoken to anyone about their drinking so there can be a lot of nerves at the beginning of a session followed by tears of relief at the end .'
There ’ s nothing as rewarding as seeing people make positive changes in their lives , says Angela Calcan , who works as a DrinkCoach for Humankind
Confidentiality is an integral part of our service , so I ensure that my home office set-up is secure for all appointments . As our sessions are online , we don ’ t have the usual social cues we would in a face-toface service , so it ’ s important that my sessions are set up to engage the client . For example , I use a tripod and webcam to ensure I ’ m providing appropriate eye contact with the client as this is one of the ways to help build the therapeutic alliance online .
I ’ ll speak to between one and four clients per day with each session lasting up to 40 minutes . Usually , the first session I have with someone is longer as I gather information and conduct a brief history , whilst completing the AUDIT and delivering brief advice . During each session , we review drink diaries shared via the DrinkCoach app or paper diaries if preferred – we then review and adjust the strategies , and set a new target for the next session .
At DrinkCoach , we offer evening and weekend appointments which are covered by some of my colleagues . As a parent , I deliver the sessions whilst my children are at school so I tend to speak to a lot of people on their lunch break or through other people squeezing me into their day .
The most rewarding part of my role is the people I get to meet and support . I really enjoy the variety as I speak to people across the UK so it varies from one session to the next . Many people we see via DrinkCoach have never spoken to anyone about their drinking so there can be a lot of nerves at the beginning of a session followed by tears of relief at the end , having had the opportunity for someone to listen in a supportive and non-judgmental way . Seeing people make changes and build their confidence through achieving their weekly goals is one of the best feelings .
Unfortunately , there ’ s still so much stigma around alcohol and I don ’ t think this is helped by the language used for drinkers and treatment . People still fear being labelled an alcoholic by presenting for help . There is a lot of focus on abstinence which just doesn ’ t fit for everyone . In treatment we often see drinkers being made to prove their motivation but I believe that if you have someone sitting in front of you then they are motivated !
The great thing about DrinkCoach is that we encourage early intervention and support our clients to drink moderately , making reductions to improve their health and wellbeing . Too many people wait for things to get worse before they give themselves the opportunity to get better . This isn ’ t helped by the fact that treatment thresholds are high , and people are being told they aren ’ t drinking enough to get support . This is why accessible services like DrinkCoach are important as they give people a safe and confidential platform to seek help earlier in their treatment journey .
I ’ d definitely encourage people to think about becoming a DrinkCoach as it ’ s rewarding work , you get to meet a variety of people , the hours are flexible so you can do it alongside other commitments , and we provide all the equipment and training . We ’ re currently recruiting for DrinkCoaches so if you ’ re someone who has worked in the alcohol field , has a passion for helping people and want a flexible job , then you should consider it . DrinkCoach is at https :// humankindcharity . org . uk / service / drinkcoach /
If you ’ re interested in becoming a DrinkCoach you can find out more at https :// humankindcharity . org . uk / careers /
OUR ‘ I AM A …’ CAREERS SERIES aims to share knowledge and experience of different careers in the sector . You can take part through the ‘ get in touch ’ button on our website : www . drinkanddrugsnews . com / i-am-a /
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