Samantha Caves has spent her entire adult life helping others.
Now she is supporting families in Beaudesert as the new Child and Family Therapist at the Carinity Illoura family counselling service.
Samantha has previously worked as a disability support worker, diversional therapist, employment consultant, residential care nurse and home care coordinator.
“I started working in the community services sector over 30 years ago after I left high school. I wanted to feel like I was making a positive difference in people’s lives, particularly for those who were vulnerable or disadvantaged,” she said.
Samantha has worked for Carinity community services in the Scenic Rim area for almost a decade. For the past seven years she has been the Community Development Coordinator at Carinity Fassifern Community Centre.
There she started the Community Café 11 and Express Yourself Hair & Co social enterprises, helped establish Fassifern Suicide Prevention Network, and provided vocational training opportunities for over 160 local people.
Her motivation to become a qualified counsellor and now therapist at Carinity Illoura came from “having lived experience with family and friends facing challenges with their mental health”.
“Working with children and families is a rewarding and satisfying role. It is wonderful to see children and families grow and thrive in positive ways as they engage in therapy,” Samantha said.
Opened in 1992, Carinity Illoura provides personalised counselling services for families, parents, adolescents and children from the Scenic Rim and surrounding areas.
Carinity Illoura also offers parenting programs; education about child development, trauma and domestic violence; and information about referral services.
Samantha said there is a growing need for counselling services in Beaudesert and the Scenic Rim area with cost-of-living pressures and the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic negatively impacting many local families.
“There is growing evidence identifying demand for counselling and therapeutic intervention has increased considerably from the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Samantha said.
“The pandemic heightened a sense of social isolation, leading to poorer physical and mental health outcomes. Beaudesert and surrounds, like many regions across the country, has also experienced increased rent and housing stress, resulting in further tensions and challenges for lower socio-economic families.
Samantha said counselling can help people increase emotional resilience and confidence; improve behaviour and wellbeing; develop strong communication skills; decrease emotional issues; and build strong coping skills.
“I feel privileged to provide assistance to people and to support them to reach their full potential,” Samantha said.