image description

Introducing… THRIVE!

You may have heard that recently SACARE’s Manager of Social and Behavioural Therapies, Alex Killey won a “Service Excellence” award at Brain Injury SA’s launch event for Brain Injury Awareness Week, for her creation the “THRIVE Program”. Alex was also nominated as one of Adelaide’s “Healthcare Heroes” during the popular radio station Five AA’s campaign to acknowledge people doing incredible things within the healthcare, disability and ageing sectors. 

So what is SACARE’s THRIVE Program? 

THRIVE stands for: 







Designed around the principles of positive psychology, THRIVE is a new individualised program that uses a multidisciplinary approach to support and engage participants in the community living with a disability. Through a range of recreational activities, counselling and holistic therapies, THRIVE is determined to improve overall wellbeing, social and community engagement, and support participants to take control of their life in order to truly “thrive”.

The program is tailored to each individual to ultimately achieve their own meaningful goals and build their capacities to live their best life. Alex and her team of therapeutic support assistants (or the THRIVE team) work with the participant over a period to reach their maximum potential.

Through a range of activities of client choice, the program pursues development of skills, relationships and social participation. Self-regulation and self-awareness are key in engaging with the community and are abilities that are developed through activities decided by the participant. Training and developing daily living skills can also be accomplished such as budgeting, decision making, planning and public transport to prepare the participant for successful life in the community.

(Clients at Tolley House taking part in an art class- one of the programs THRIVE offers.)

What is the science behind THRIVE?

THRIVE is adapted from a Positive Psychology framework, PERMA, and the self-determination theory. PERMA is a model made up of five building blocks of wellbeing and happiness including: Positive emotions, Engagement, Relationships, Meaning and Achievement. The self-determination theory is a macro theory of human motivation that concerns an individual’s growth tendencies and psychological needs. It is about the motivation behind choices people make without external influence and interference. For example, how would you feel if you were forced into learning how to cook when you dislike cooking? You would feel frustrated, degraded and perhaps useless. The same principle applies to THRIVE. We want to understand individuals’ own values in a variety of contexts and challenging situations, in order to engage and build the abilities of each participant.

“It’s important to note the differences in positivity and positive emotion. Positive psychology is a framework like PERMA that uses theory, whereas positive emotion is simply a conscious experience. THRIVE utilizes an approach that promotes positive psychology to build capacities and understand purpose and value. Research from Barbara Fredrickson who specialises in positive emotions, explains an ideal ratio of three positive emotions to every one negative emotion. The program is centred on this idea and has found encouraging results from this method.”

-Alex Killey

A balance of emotions is natural, and emotions can shape who people are. Removing negative emotions is unrealistic as it can minimise the experiences and developments of individuals. The THRIVE program doesn’t try to remove negative emotions, but rather focusses on developing positive emotions and connection with activities. This is why the program is designed to analyse negative emotions, for example, why does an individual behave the way they do, and to manage them effectively.Through a variety of experiences and developing positive emotion over time, an individual’s long term goal(s) can be achieved.


What does an example THRIVE Program look like?

Example participant Jane* has an acquired brain injury due to a devastating motor vehicle accident several years ago. She had a large increase in behaviours of concern during her time of physiotherapy and other rehabilitation, that resulted in a decline in physical and mental improvement. 

After a THRIVE assessment with Jane that dove deep into what her “true values” are and what her meaningful goals would be, Alex has a group meeting with all members involved in helping with Jane's wellbeing, including family, friends, doctors and specialists. The THRIVE team was then able to put together an individual THRIVE program that helped Jane achieve her goals.

In this example, Jane chose to engage in a range of social activities such as bowling, going to the botanical gardens and museums for two hours each week. Through these activities and involvement within the community, Jane was able to create meaning from the activities.

After dedicated time with the program,  Jane was able to reduce her behaviours of concern by 100%! This allowed her to willingly participate in other rehabilitation therapies. It doesn’t get better than that.

(One of the THRIVE members took Tolley House resident Laura out for an amazing 360 lion experience at Monarto Zoo. The THRIVE activities are endless, and it's up to the individual and their family to choose what's best for them.)

The ultimate goal in THRIVE…

For every individual, a review is planned three months into the program to ensure their personal goals are being achieved. It’s understandable that every individual is different and may require further support and development, however, the ultimate goal is for the individual to THRIVE and live their best life without the program!

This can be a challenging time for the participant, but also their family and friends. Counselling and support services are also offered through the program to ensure families, carers and friends have support for a successful transition into the community.


How can you get involved?

THRIVE is available for participants who are funded by Lifetime Support Authorities (LSA) or privately funded.
If you have capacity building in your improved daily living budget, you can access the THRIVE program if you are self-managed or plan-managed.


We would love to hear from you!

Email or call 1300 145 636 for more information about how you, your patient or loved one can THRIVE in life.

Our newest and biggest facility to date, The Gums, will be opening later this year at Salisbury and will be implementing the THRIVE program for all of it's clients. To find out more about The Gums, read our in-depth blog at this link.