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Bridge Program changing lives in Estonia

6 August 2014

Bridge Program changing lives in Estonia

Major David Pullen and Gerard Byrne visited several corps and centres during their time in Estonia (Credit: Photo courtesy of Gerard Byrne).


When the head of The Salvation Army’s Recovery Services saw the Army’s work with addicts in Estonia on a Self Denial appeal video two years ago, they knew they had to help.

Territorial Mission and Resource Director, Recovery, Major David Pullen says their action was timely as Estonia doesn’t yet have an established recovery services program.

Major Pullen and Territorial Mission and Resource Clinical Director – Recovery, Gerard Byrne received an Aged Care Plus Fellows Program scholarship in 2013. This allowed them to contact the Finland and Estonia Territory and offer their support through the Bridge Program.

The Salvation Army’s Bridge Program is an award-winning model of recovery developed by the Australia Eastern Territory.

The visit to Estonia was warmly received, with Salvation Army leaders and personnel on the ground enthusiastic about using the program to assist in clients’ recovery.

 “The opportunity to share Bridge Program resources with the wider Salvation Army and assist them in their work was a privilege,” the pair wrote in their Fellows Program final report.

The program is now being translated into Russian and will be sent to Estonia. It’s the first time the Bridge Program will be used outside of Australia. 

The scholarship also enabled the pair to attend and present at the 14th European Federation of Therapeutic Communities International Conference in the Czech Republic.

They presented papers on spirituality in recovery, training staff in co-morbid screening, and the role of shame and self-forgiveness in recovery.

“The Bridge Program was again seen by many as a world leader in the treatment of addiction and in undertaking action-based research that leads to evidence informed practices in service delivery,” the pair said.

Major Pullen also says the Fellows Program has enabled The Salvation Army to broaden its outlook on recovery services.

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