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Support: Dealing with Stress in the Workplace

The Challenges of the AOD Working Environment [2.10.2.c]

The chapter on workplace support in the Workforce Development TIPS (Theory into Practice Strategies): A Resource Kit for the Alcohol and Other Drugs Field from theNational Centre for Education and Training on Addiction (NCETA) in Australia suggests that
    “support is vital when dealing with challenging or distressing issues related to clients and their treatment. In particular, a critical incident involving an aggressive or violent client may shake even the most experienced worker, impacting on his/her work and well being for some time. Just as in the counseling process, the opportunity to talk through one’s feelings and reframe the issues while a fellow staff member actively listens can help defuse tension and restore the worker’s equilibrium.
    However, it is also important to recognize that staff changes can also be a source of stress and extra support may be valued and appreciated. For example: Workers may be faced with a sense of loss when a valued staff member leaves or resigns, when there is a change in role or responsibilities (e.g., promotion or acting in a more senior position) because it may result in isolation from previous networks of support from coworkers, or when a person who returns from maternity or parental leave has to cope with the transition back to work.”[1]
NCETA suggests use of the following six social/emotional supports:
1.     Ensure fairness of treatment;
2.     Provide valued rewards;
3.     Provide supportive supervision/management;
4.     Ensure adequate job conditions;
5.     Manage role stressors; and
6.     Ensure that sufficient resources are available.

[1] Skinner, N. (2005). Workplace Support. In N. Skinner, A.M. Roche, J. O’Connor, Y. Pollard, & C. Todd (Eds.), Workforce Development TIPS (Theory Into Practice Strategies): A Resource Kit for the Alcohol and Other Drugs Field. National Centre for Education and Training on Addiction (NCETA), Flinders University, Adelaide, Australia.

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