Interning at Blenheim – CASA Alcohol

Gabby joined Blenheim as an intern from the Global Experiences programme. In this Blenheim Blog, she shares some of her experiences working for CASA Alcohol and the differences she’s noticed in drug and alcohol services since working in the UK.

The decision to come to the UK to work in psychology was a major one. I wanted to have the opportunity to live abroad while also gaining valuable experience. Little did I know I would be in for a shock. In order to talk about my experience at Blenheim, I need to offer some background on myself. I am going into my 3rd year studying psychology with a minor in criminal justice at the University of Michigan. I have a background working in mental health and have spent previous summers working with children. One day I would love to work in rehabilitation in forensic psychology. Therefore, when I heard about the opportunity to come to England and work in substance misuse, I knew it would be a once in a life time experience.

My time at CASA has been extremely useful for my future career. Every day I come in to a welcoming team who greet me with smiles and a cup of tea. Around 9:30 I head downstairs to work the drop-in with one of my colleagues. Drop-in is an open period where anyone in the area can stop by between 9:30am and 1pm to utilise the services. The services range from various groups including yoga, alcohol awareness, relapse prevention and support; to auricular acupuncture and massages; to one on one meetings with key workers and/or counselling appointments. The environment is extremely welcoming for both staff and clients, something that is not often found in services in the United States.

The biggest culture shock I had when I came to the United Kingdom was when I realised how different the services were. The biggest thing the States advocates in terms of recovery is a detox program or AA. I had never heard of services like Blenheim until I came here. In the states, it is customary to pay for good health care. Unlike the UK, we do not have free healthcare that you can drop in when needed. Therefore, working at Blenheim has made me grateful for the healthcare I have at home and made me realise how fortunate I truly am. It is amazing to see a country that truly cares for its citizens. I am extremely sad that my time with Blenheim is coming to a close but I look forward to being able to come back in the near future and continue to learn more about the recovery process in this amazing country.

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