Adapting to our new way

By Rachel Ficinus, Family Support Team Manager 

What makes the Family Support service so unique is our ability to connect with families face-to-face. It enables us to provide a safe space for individuals and families to talk through their stresses, fears, hopes and dreams in their daily lives, with empathy and understanding.

However, a few weeks ago that face-to-face contact was abruptly put on hold and our team had to quickly become very familiar with video software such as Teams, Zoom and Skype to continue to provide emotional support to our families. We’re a team of social workers, counsellors and psychologists so these programs aren’t overly used by us because in-person appointments are our usual preference.

Our families are no stranger to uncertain and challenging times, and our team also hopes to show the same sense of compassion, resilience and strength that they display in times of adversity.

I’ve been so proud of the team’s enthusiasm to embrace their new home offices, to think outside the box of how to engage with siblings, parents and the whole family through our ‘new way.’ Their positive attitude and support offered to each other has really highlighted the commitment and strength that this team has for the work they do at Very Special Kids.

I am sure there will be some technical difficulties along the way, and we will continue to come up with new ways to deliver our support, but we are here and ready to support all Very Special Kids families throughout the coming months. This may look and feel different from what families are used to, for example, our coffee mornings have gone virtual, but if you stick with us, we know that we will come out the other end stronger and much more tech savvy.

Finally, as a psychologist, if I could offer the wider community my top advice for keeping mentally well during this uncertain time it would be to be kind to ourselves and one another. We are all going to experience what is happening around us in different ways and focusing on what makes us the same, rather than on what makes us different, will provide greater compassion and understanding in the months ahead.

Rachel Ficinus is the Team Manager of the Family Support Team. She is a registered psychologist and has more than 10 years’ experience. She has a Masters in Psychology (Educational and Developmental) from Monash University.