News & Media

Positive meanings

By: Michele Konheiser

Category: Health & Safety, Planning & Research

  11.56 AM 21 November, 2012

Location: General

Views: 1838

Positive meaning from difficult situations

Research is being conducted by La Trobe University student Lisa Ritchie about the creation of meaning amid challenging circumstances and CFA members are invited to participate in the research and share their experiences. The research closes on Friday 21st December 2012.

The purpose of this research is to explore the process through which people make sense of personal life threatening experiences, such as illness, injury or assault, in a positive way. This may include renewed appreciation for life or loved ones, additional wisdom or increased compassion for others.

Organisational Wellbeing is promoting this research within CFA as emergency services members may face life threatening experiences in the nature of their role. Therefore, CFA members could provide some valuable input into the data for the research by the nature of their participation.

Lisa has agreed to share the findings of her research with CFA upon completion. Organisational Wellbeing can disseminate the information and share relevant findings with the view to assisting CFA members further in their personal recovery and response journey.

With any research that is supported by CFA, we recommend that members consider the following;

  • Through the nature of sharing our difficult experiences and stories, distress may/may not occur. If distress does occur as a result of participation in the research, CFA members can access the free Welfare Services for themselves and their immediate families. Any member or family members can access support at any time. Peer support can be accessed through the Rostered Duty Officer, Office in Charge, Line Manager, the Peer Coordinator or via the CFA Welfare line (ph 1800 628 616). Chaplains can be contacted directly or by contacting Converge International on 1800 337 068. Psychologists/Counsellors can be contacted directly by contacting PPC Worldwide on 1300 361 008. Welfare services are short term in nature. Members with long term clinical or complex needs will be linked to appropriate services where relevant, such internal services (WorkCover or Volunteer Compensation) and external community based agencies.
  • If a member is currently receiving mental health treatment, they should consult their mental health professional prior to participation.

Members should note that participation criteria apply for the research. In general, participants must:

  • Have recovered from the event and developed a positive meaning which they are able to articulate
  • Be able to recall the event and its details without significant levels of distress
  • Not have a current diagnosis of a psychological disorder, life threatening illness or be experiencing high levels of distress at the time of the study. This is to protect vulnerable individuals from any potential adverse effects of revisiting a difficult event in their past

Participation in this study involves a one-on-one interview that will take place at La Trobe University, Bundoora campus (Kingsbury Drive, Bundoora).  Findings from this research may add to our understanding of how counsellors can best assist people who have experienced trauma.

If you wish to participate in this research, please contact the Lisa Ritchie before 21st December directly via email on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or via telephone on 0411 962 341.

Participant anonymity and confidentiality is ensured. Ethics approval has been granted by the University Human Ethics Committee (12-050)

 Article posted by Michele Konheiser Organisational Wellbeing Project Coordinator


Last Updated: 21 November 2012