Tom Watson-Munro joined the Seasons team on a work placement for 10 weeks during a study break from his graduate diploma of psychology at Melbourne University. Tom, who is just about to embark on the 2nd year of the course also holds a Certificate IV AOD (Alcohol and other Drugs) and a Certificate IV Mental Health and has been in recovery for just a little over two years.
Professional and Personal Growth
“I came to work at Seasons because I met Richard (the founder and clinical director of Seasons Bali) at an NA meeting, I knew he was a long-time friend of my Dad’s so I introduced myself to him. At this time I had been studying for a Cert 4 so we got to talking about recovery and the program and he asked if I was interested in doing some work and pretty soon after that I was in Bali.” he said.
Tom joined the team at the beginning of November and had only planned on staying for eight weeks but was getting so much out of the experience on both a professional and a personal level that he extended for a further two. During his time on the island he spent the lion’s share working with the Bespoke One on One Program team which provides exclusive support to one addict seeking recovery. Additionally, he gained valuable hands-on training at the Seasons Primary Program and YMI both of which utilise a therapeutic community model.
Tom explained: “I spent the majority of my time working on the One on One Program and that in itself was invaluable experience. Watching the changes this individual went through as they started to work the program was absolutely amazing. It was really quite remarkable to be able to closely observe the shift once as they did step work and participated in all elements of the program. I think it is a lot to be said for the structure that was put in place there. I’ve heard we all crave feeling safe within a structured environment and the program either the One on One or the Primary Program does that really well.”
Having worked in the rehab where he had started his own recovery for 12 months before coming to Seasons, Tom was looking for a new challenge and something that would help further his skills and scope of knowledge. He said: “I felt I had plateaued and I had become quite comfortable in my role there and I had learnt all that I could. It was time to branch out and move on. I wanted more experience and working in Bali seemed like an amazing opportunity.”
Part of the new prescription for living advocated by recovery is to take risks to find out what your passions are and Tom embraces this at every turn. He acknowledged that this was the reasoning behind not only for heading to Bali but also the choice of his degree subject.
“I think the things I have done at Seasons will stand me in really good stead this year at University. Last year it was mostly just the introductory subjects but the way I have been able to see how mental illness and addiction plays out in people’s lives while working here will be invaluable in the coming years. You can’t really get that depth of understanding anywhere else except at the coalface.” he said.
Impressions of Seasons Bali
On arrival in Bali, Tom was set to work straightaway and was enthusiastic about his first impressions. He said: “I was immediately impressed. The staff were incredibly friendly, very helpful and hugely dynamic. There were people from India, Russia, Australia and Bali and it was inspiring to see that sort of diverse background in recovery. I was also impressed by the structure and the program. Seasons is a kind and loving environment and also a place that had a very in depth knowledge of how recovery and addiction works.”
“It’s so well established and there was excellent support for staff, and clear guidelines in the policies and procedures. I had become a little disillusioned working in the AOD field and it really gave me a renewed hope in the industry and a real feeling of that being the area I want to work in long term.”
Tom said that he also enjoyed the strong emphasis that Seasons places on step work and compared it to his own experience of rehab where the clients were introduced to the concept of the 12 steps but not required to do the formal paperwork. “I have really seen first-hand the difference this makes to people” he said and he went on to credit the process of helping clients with this work for invigorating his own recovery.
Tom, who has made a much appreciated contribution to the Seasons team, is also keen to return and work with us again. He exclaimed eagerly: “I would come back in a heartbeat! The other thing that really stands out for me is the friendships that I have made with the other staff and the really good connections with the clients.”
Everyone at Seasons wishes Tom well with his studies this year and hopes to see him back on the island soon.
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