OACAS, Orkney’s local Counselling Service, with a specialism in alcohol and drugs counselling, (our operating title says it “Orkney Alcohol Counselling & Advisory Service) and all the problems which lead to such difficulties, has been working in the County for many years – since 1975 in fact. The majority of our Counsellors, paid and volunteer, are local folk, and their basic training and accreditation is as Alcohol Counsellors, trained to standards set by Alcohol Focus Scotland. We have built up a vast amount of experience over the years.
We are Orkney ‘s first COSCA (Counselling & Psychotherapy in Scotland) Recognised Counselling & Counselling Skills Organisation, and are annually monitored as such. Equally, we are an organisational member of BACP and adhere to their, and COSCA’s, codes of ethics as providers of professional, qualified Counselling. We provide a Counselling service for young and old throughout Orkney, mostly at our Kirkwall counselling suite, but also from GP surgeries in Stromness and on the isles of Hoy, Stronsay and Sanday which we regularly visit. Long before the Scottish Government and long before the Alcohol Drugs Partnership, we were providing professional, confidential and highly skilled alcohol and drugs counselling, advice and assistance to the people of Orkney – and by the people of Orkney. We continue to do so, and adhere to standards set by these newer organisations (which are little different from what we always did).
We were the first in Orkney to provide a dedicated Young Persons’ Counselling Service, and continue to do so – receiving referrals from GPs, Social Work, Family and – most of all – from young people direct. Funded by the Orkney Alcohol & Drugs Partnership, for the past couple of years we have been providing an alcohol awareness and education programme for offenders, or potential offenders, whose behaviour is caused by alcohol and or drugs misuse. We are an Advisory service as well as a Counselling service and believe it is our duty to offer Orkney a range of services to counter the county’s long-standing difficulties with Alcohol. It is in our title.
Over the years the Service has expanded and increased its capabilities to include other ‘Life Issues’, such as: