Craig Worland, a Lives Lived Well team member, stands beside Professor Leanne Hides

Craig Worland (Lives Lived Well) and Professor Leanne Hides (UQ)

Lives Lived Well is always looking for ways to improve our support offerings as a provider of evidence-informed services and our enduring partnership with The University of Queensland (UQ) plays an important role in our efforts to develop innovative programs and bolster our clinical capabilities. In 2022-2023 we celebrated the sixth year of our partnership with UQ and continued our collaboration on several significant clinical initiatives, including First Step.

Building on the success of the pilot trial with Lives Lived Well in Brisbane North Community Services from 2020 to 2022, we embarked on the organisation-wide implementation of our ground-breaking early treatment model, First Step, during the 2022-2023 fiscal year.

Developed in partnership with UQ, the First Step program facilitates a highly responsive and individually tailored treatment option for people dealing with problematic alcohol and other drug use. UQ supported the rollout of a randomised cluster-controlled trial, evaluating the real-world possibility of such an implementation.

As many clients engage in treatment briefly, First Step aims for clients to walk away with practical strategies and support from their first session with Lives Lived Well. This ensures that clients who attend briefly receive the support they are seeking, and clients who want to continue in treatment complete a solid foundation that can serve as a springboard for further progress.

Grounded in the principles of motivational interviewing, First Step incorporates core evidence-based techniques, including outcome measure feedback, psychoeducation and harm minimisation, personality-targeted coping skills training, and individualised goal setting. The program’s content is packaged into three distinct modules and is typically delivered across two to three sessions of treatment.

Already, 2,000 Module One sessions have been completed since the program roll-out commenced and early indications suggest positive outcomes, with high levels of client engagement, satisfaction and clinical improvements observed.

First Step embodies our commitment to providing a consistent and effective treatment experience for our clients at Lives Lived Well, drawing upon best practices in contemporary alcohol and other drug interventions.

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