Staff Profiles


Elissa Brotherton, Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner

Finding meaning in your career is more than personally thriving on a professional basis. For Elissa Brotherton, a Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner with RA Tas, being able to make significant improvements in the lives of our clients through her work brings with it the ultimate career fulfilment.

Working with people to improve their situation and resolve issues is a job Elissa describes as “one that I was meant to do“. It occurred to Elissa that Counselling and Dispute Resolution was something she wanted to pursue after struggling to find purpose in her marketing career, “focusing on people’s strengths…helping people grow, and supporting them to change their lives, these are all things that give me purpose…counselling and mediation was something I knew I needed to do“.

This past July has marked 10 years at RA Tas for Elissa – a milestone she attributes to the “supportive working environment” and purpose her work provides. “I feel confident about what I do and supported in what I do, I guess that’s why I’ve been a social worker for 20 years and at RA Tas for 10.

Initially starting out as a counsellor, Elissa moved into Family Dispute Resolution five years ago – seeing it as an opportunity to broaden her capacity to support her clients. Elissa explains her role as a mediator is all about “supporting people to navigate and resolve the differences and conflicts in their lives” something she acknowledges, isn’t always an easy task. “As an FDRP you need to accept that you can’t control everything…people are going to make their own decisions and form their own outcomes.” For Elissa, as long as she “does her best” she is confident that a positive outcome can be achieved.

In order to support people through difficult times and resolve complex conflicts, practitioners need to have a solid support system behind them, for Elissa this system is her Post Separation Team. The Team are a group of people Elissa says she “values greatly” and when meeting with her colleagues, often “discovers they’re finding the same things difficult.” Elissa says, “having someone else to share a case with and debrief a day with, is why RA Tas is such as supportive place to work.

Based in Devonport, Elissa regularly travels to Launceston to meet with her Team and take part in supervision sessions – sessions she says “have been very useful …I feel that I’ve grown so much, not just as a professional but also as a person.

For Elissa, her clients remain her biggest teacher and inspiration, “the thing that inspires me the most about my job would definitely be my clients, I see some amazing people who’ve been through some really difficult situations.” The difficulties that her clients often face and their determination to overcome these challenges gives Elissa a lot of perspective “I get just as much out of my clients as they do from me…a two way relationship of learning and growing.

Purpose for Elissa, is seeing others realize and find their own purpose – to move forward, overcome challenges, resolve conflict and feel that they have something better ahead to work for. Purpose is what creates true meaning. Purpose is, as Elissa demonstrates, not simply for yourself – but rather something you create for others.