Companion Story - Deearne Gould

Name: Deearne Gould

Organisation: Centacare Family Services

Role description:  Deearne is a Psychologist with fifteen years counselling experience in Karratha, Perth, Geraldton and Carnarvon. She works as a Family and Relationship Counsellor, where she assesses client’s life capabilities, then plans and provides therapeutic interventions to children, adults, couples and families. Deearne is trained in Seasons for Growth and Play Therapy. She has an interest in reducing people’s reactions to trauma and is a Registered Clinical Supervisor for Australian Health Practitioner Registration Authority (AHPRA).

State: WA

Year first trained in Seasons for Growth: 

Children and Young People and Adult In 2004

Why did you decide to train in Seasons for Growth

Deearne had just began working for Centacare Family Services in Geraldton, Western Australia, when the Director realised there was considerable need for staff to have theory/therapy training, so they could support community members with their grief and loss. She arranged for Trainers to come to Geraldton, which is 500 km North of Perth, to train 11 people to run Seasons for Growth Children and Young People’s and Adult Program. Deearne is the only Companion still running Seasons for Growth programs in Geraldton.

Centacare Geraldton has partnerships and relationships with a host of community and health services and providers across the Midwest region of Western Australia – a region with a total area of 472,336 square kilometres (182,370 sq. mi), and a permanent population of about 52,000 people, more than half of those in Geraldton.

I offer an adult Season for Growth group the month before Easter and the month before Christmas, as these are two of the very difficult times for people living with grief.

I present a Children’s Workshop generally 3 or 4 times a year, at two High Schools in Geraldton. Previously, I ran all levels of the Children and Young People’s program in the Centacare building, but it became too difficult for parents to bring them. The schools believe that it is better that children and young people spend school time on this very valuable program so that students actually be able to do their school work. There is a huge need for Seasons for Growth, but many families misunderstand the grief their children are experiencing.

Seasons for Growth is an Australian program, it covers all ages; Children, Young People and Adults. It is well researched, and it commenced as a tribute to Australia’s first Saint – Mother Mary MacKillop of the Cross.

Are there any highlights of Companioning that you would like to share?  Have you any special stories about Seasons for Growth groups or program participants you would like to share? 

Children who do not say a word nor participate in activities during the program but on their Evaluation tell me that is was the most useful thing that they have done!! 

What are the benefits for the participants and families?

Knowledge, skills, bringing the grief into the foreground so that it can be dealt with, rather than keep pushing it under and hoping it will all fade away – which of course, we know does not happen.

What advice do you have for newly trained Companions?

Be well prepared, rehearse each session until you have done a few, always have the answers that you are looking for written down, in case the participants do not have any ideas they wish to share, and/or you go blank!!

Any final thoughts?

Thanks for great programs, with good resources, newsletters to keep us updated and enthused, and bi-annual training.