Teen Challenge QLD family support practitioner Lisa Johnson undertook free training in the Standard Teen Triple P Program less than a year ago. Yet the demand from families seeking help from the program is already so great she’s closed her waitlist several times.
Lisa, who has been in her role with Teen Challenge QLD for six and a half years, was motivated to partner with Triple P to reinforce the work she was doing with clients.
“I work predominantly with teenagers, or the families of teenagers, and a lot of the work is reactive – dealing with a crisis,” she said.
“I wanted to formalise my skills and the work I was doing to equip parents for the challenges coming at them with their teenagers. While I still work with families going through a crisis on a week-to-week basis, when things are a little more settled, I now also have a program that I can run through with them to build their confidence.
“I know it’s evidence based and can really provide parents with helpful skills that are proven to work. The program also allows flexibility – so I can take it at my own pace and still be able to deal with my clients’ needs.”
This commitment proved fortunate for her clients, with local Brisbane families already gaining positive results from the program.
“The benefits were immediate – I could impart the knowledge from my training straight away,” Lisa said. “Families were jumping for joy and just saying, ‘Yep, let’s go through this program’ and they’ve loved it.
“Every parent I have offered the program to have taken it on – that’s 100% of families. Those that have been challenged by it, who might need a break, always come back, and ask to keep going.”
Following completion of the 10 sessions in the program, the reports she’s received back from families is that while their situation is not perfect, they feel equipped and empowered to manage better.
“The bumpy ride that comes at them, they’re feeling much more confident. It doesn’t make it perfect because, you know, teenagers will do what they do, but now there are skills and knowledge in place to deal with the challenges.”
Lisa feels the Triple P program is an amazing tool to add to her skill set.
“I’m university trained and while I use that aspect of my education, the Teen Triple P training really hits the spot where families are itching,” she said.
“It just equips parents with the confidence and knowledge for all the important aspects, such as managing risky behaviour, managing problem behaviour, looking at the systemic causes that are maintaining the behaviour so parents can be reflective on what’s going on for them within the home and can then adjust their approach to parenting.”
She said the flip side is her waitlist becomes so long she can’t sustain it – and urges her peers to undertake the training.
“About every three months I must close my waitlist so I can catch up. There is great demand for this program,” she said.
“I definitely encourage my peers to undertake this training. It is wonderful that the Queensland Government provides training free for practitioners, plus also provides free courses for families.
“I feel it’s an absolute privilege that families open up their homes and their personal lives to me and entrust me with that and I don’t take that lightly. They are vulnerable, they are scared, and to journey along with them to help them see a better future, gets me out of bed every morning.
“I love what I do. I love seeing people’s lives changed.”