HELPING HAND: Ex-truckie Dave Sweeney is starting his own truckie's counselling service.
HELPING HAND: Ex-truckie Dave Sweeney is starting his own truckie's counselling service. Contributed

Ex-truckie offers free counselling service to drivers

IF YOU'RE not a truck driver, you just don't understand the pressures that drivers are under, it's that simple.

And that basic fact is what is driving ex-truckie Dave Sweeney to complete his diploma in psychology from The Australian College of Applied Pyschology so he can help his fellow drivers.

Dave gave up his job as a driver after suffering an injury, said for a while he was at a loss what he would do next.

"I knew I wanted to do something in the industry still,” said Ipswich-based Dave.

He used to interview drivers for Oz Trucker TV and talk to them about their concerns of the industry, but he soon realised that he was offering advice and counselling them.

"I suppose the funny thing is, when you're a truckie, you talk about a bit about this road, about the potholes, about this copper who slapped you with a fine, but then you start listening to people and asking them open and closed questions and they start talking about how they're feeling,” he said.

A friend suggested to him that he become a counsellor and it was like a light-bulb turned on. "It reinforces where I need to be going.”

So, Dave set about doing some research to work out exactly what he needed to do to become a counsellor and is currently half-way through completing his diploma.

"With the industry experience I've had, I've gone through tough times myself, and knowing the pressures out there - the realistic pressures, not what the community thinks. They don't know what it's like at 2am in the morning, what the pressure is to feed your family, pay the bills so you can keep your house and your truck and what the pressures from your boss is like,” he said.

"That wears people down after a time. Road trauma is another one, (I think) people are realising you don't have to be a cop to have PTSD for something you've seen out on the road.

"(People have this idea) that you're big chested boys and nothing hurts us, but we don't have an outlet.”

Dave said he respected other counsellors and psychologists but said they just didn't have enough industry experience and know how to be able to successfully help truck drivers.

"They just don't have the knowledge of the depressions of the industry,” he said.

While he is completing his diploma, Dave is offering free counselling sessions through his business Kintsukuroi Counselling.

He said he learnt about the Japanese art form where they mend broken objects and aggrandise the damage by filling the cracks with gold.

"They believe that when something's suffered damage and has a history, it becomes more beautiful,” he said.

"That message really resonated with me.”

If you'd like to reach out to Dave, you can message him via his Kintsukuroi Counselling page on Facebook.

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