Episode 1: is an interview with Olga Gountras, National Manager of Social Work Services at Slater and Gordon. Listen to how Olga developed the first social work service in a private law firm, now celebrating its 10th year. Hear about how Slater and Gordon’s free Social Work service exists to support their clients Australia-wide who are facing a wide range of emotional and practical concerns as they move through the process of claiming compensation. We discuss a range of issue relating to social workers and their understanding of the law and the ongoing training and workshops the social work service runs to educate social workers on a range of topics.

Olga has been a social worker for 31 years and has a BA, BSW, and MSW from the University of Melbourne. Olga has worked in acute and rehabilitation settings with a clinical focus primarily in traumatic injuries and the impact of these on individuals and their families. As National Manager of Social Work Services at Slater and Gordon Lawyers, Olga established the first, and currently only, free social work service in a private law firm in Australia in 2009. Her clinical work focuses on addressing the long term emotional and social impact of injury and illness in the compensation context.

Olgas mission has been to demystify the law through education and has set up  and facilitated a number of professional development opportunities for social workers. In conjunction with leading the Social Work team, Olga coordinates the highly regarded Slater and Gordon Legal Education Program for Social Workers in Victoria and Western Australia and oversees the team’s national e-newsletter ‘Social Work and the Law’.

To contact the team or be a part of the social work services mailing list email socialworkservices@slatergordon.com.au

As a small and unique service, it was important to Olga to maintain connections with her profession and she has done this through active membership in a number of forums. Olga has been on the Branch Management Committee since 2014 and was Vice President from 2016 -2017. She is also National Secretary of Oncology Social Work Australia New Zealand and a member of the Health Social Work Directors’ Group; OSWANZ VIC, the Traumatic Injuries Social Work SIG, the RMIT Social Work Program Advisory Committee, the Rural Social Work Action Practice Group and the Specialist Support Professionals in Legal Settings SIG.

Resources mentioned in this podcast :

OSWANZ Conference 2019 http://oswa.net.au/event/oswanz-conference-2019/

Medical planning and decisions act

Olga mentioned a few books she recommends

For more information on the service for client click here and for practitioners here

To contact the team or be a part of the social work services mailing list email socialworkservices@slatergordon.com.au

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