Inside Athena: The Orchard View Manor Counselor Helping Those With Substance Use In Recovery
EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Brian Pallister’s purpose at Orchard View Manor is to give support and be that support to those dealing with substance use disorders, or SUDs.
He’s been a SUDs Counselor at the East Providence center for a year but has been working with the population for a while, starting out at methadone clinics. He had been in recovery himself and finds sharing his story can help motivate and inspire those he works with now to follow in his footsteps.
“I reach out to anyone who we have as a resident here who has a history of alcohol or other substance use disorder, and I meet with them for individual counseling,” he said.
He also helps residents at Waterview Villa Rehabilitation and Health Care Center. He notes there are people who are not interested in receiving support or in a place to get sober. If that’s the case, Pallister helps get them to that place. Some take time, others won’t ever get to a point where they are ready to make a change.
“I think it’s a process. I think it’s introducing myself, getting to know them on a personal basis, not necessarily focusing on the substance use disorder, but who they are as a person. What brought them here, what’s going on in their lives, who they have in their lives, what their strengths are, their hopes, their dreams, who they were before they got here,” he said.
He meets with the residents on a regular basis to discuss their challenges. If and when it gets to a point of reintegrating back into the community, Pallister makes sure they have a place to go and know what resources are out there for them like support groups.
Pallister said it’s important there are places in Rhode Island to help people manage their substance use disorders. He explains how many will end up homeless.
“There’s more and more people at risk of homelessness or suffering from homelessness now so you want to open the door to those people,” he said. “There’s a big overlap between the homeless population in Rhode Island and the substance use disorder population.”
Some may simply be safer in a setting like Orchard View Manor where they have the resources to help manage their condition. The counselor said they work to make the environment the best it can be for them and try and increase their mood while there.
He had worked with the homeless population prior to coming to the center but wanted a job where he could work in one place with a group of people. Pallister, who is a Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor and Licensed Chemical Dependency Professional, said it’s a team approach at the center from the nursing staff to the social workers to the counselors. He shares his recovery journey with those he’s helping because it can help many others connect to him. That was the case during his journey where he was unable to connect to counselors who had no idea what his reality was. At Orchard View Manor, he wants to help those people, no matter their length of stay, and know there is hope and they can make a change.
“I would recommend Orchard View Manor because of the staff that we have. The staff really care about the residents here and they want to see them succeed in their lives and they want to see them get better,” the Warwick native said.