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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The experience of addiction counsellors and social workers within the context of a multidisciplinary team Savoy, Tracy Leigh


In British Columbia in 1997, a multidisciplinary model was implemented with the creation of a new "child centred" Ministry, the Ministry for Children and Families. After approximately five years of operating from this model, this study aimed to explore what it has been like for child protection social workers and addiction counsellors to work together. A qualitative semi-structured interview study was undertaken with 16 addiction counsellors and 16 social workers. The overall question guiding this study was: "What has been the experience of addiction counsellors and child protection social workers working within a multidisciplinary team?" Part of the experience described by participants involved ethical situations they faced in their roles, and the resulting effect on the therapeutic; alliance. The influence of the multidisciplinary model on each discipline's knowledge base and future possibilities for the model were other areas explored. A qualitative content analysis was then used to identify categories from the interview transcripts. The results yielded three major categories and eight subcategories, for the main question, depicting many parallels between the experience of these two disciplines and that of two different cultures coming together for the first time. The main categories comprised: 1. Transition Theme: Initial Contact between Two Cultures; 2. Reorientation Theme: How Can We Make This Work; 3. Adaptation Theme: Positive Aspects of Inter-Cultural Conflict and Current Status. The findings revealed intense feelings of not being validated by the host culture, some perceived benefits of the amalgamation, predominantly a negative effect on the therapeutic relationship, and doubts about the suitablity of integrating a statutory and non-statutory service. The implications strongly suggest intervention is needed at the administrative level to ensure the best utilization of financial resources, optimize service to clients and facilitate professional expertise.

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