Odyssey/Deakin partnership: supporting better relationships

Deakin University has been an important partner for Odyssey House for some years now. In 2017, both organisations stepped up their level of commitment to create the Odyssey/Deakin research partnership, bringing together Deakin professors and skilled researchers with Odyssey executives and senior managers to lead research and innovation in the alcohol and other drug (AOD) sector.

Recently, the group has focused on determining the most effective interventions for people experiencing conflict in their relationships. Overcoming these conflicts are seen as critical to recovery from alcohol and other drugs.

The most promising outcome from these investigations has been the OurRelationship program pilot. This is a computer-based intervention, developed from established therapeutic techniques. Individuals and couples are supported to reflect on conflict with their partner (or previous partner) and to practice skills to shift negative patterns and enable more positive interactions. The substantial evidence base suggests that this leads to constructive changes which have been shown to continue when clients are followed up six months later. 

Even better, it has been demonstrated to have the greatest impact on higher conflict relationships. This may have significant implications in preventing family violence. Odyssey is currently piloting the program at two sites, in three formats (at home, individually with a facilitator and in a group with a facilitator) to determine which method is most effective for our clients. The results from the pilot will help to determine if this program has the potential to offer an important support to Odyssey House clients in the future.