Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Regular people

It's a mistake lots of "service providers" continue to make.

Treating people like clients just about always leads to ineffective outcomes. Just here I am driving almost all of my professional social work friends over the edge! I know, I know. Boundaries are important, or so I'm told--grist for a future blog!

But, back to my point.

People who are hungry, "poor," homeless, ill, abandoned, strangers--the list goes on and on as we think about the possibilities attached to being human--don't need professionalism or "service" or case management as much as they need to be treated like "regular people."

Story from my world

One of our bright interns related to me her experience of sitting through the entire process a couple went through to get into one of our apartments. There was a case management component of the transaction to insure that they qualified for the funding.

But, it was the leasing experience that really encouraged me. The man and the woman were introduced to the property management staff and taken through the same process as anyone else who came in to lease a place. That included the offer of water, cold drinks and cookies which the pertinent information was being collected.

Understandably, both of these individuals were a bit tense and nervous, not really knowing where the process was going or what it involved.

The fact is, they were treated just like "regular" people.

When they got to their new apartments, they were beside themselves with joy, relief and a sense that things were about to really get "regular" at last.

I love this stuff.



Adam Gonnerman said...

I can see why you love it.

Chris said...

What happened to the "green" post? Actually, I don't think it's to your advantage to hook giving to the waco environmentalists.

Daniel Gray said...

As a social worker, I'm not offended. I understand the need to maintain professional boundaries, but I don't think that precludes us from treating people like they are real and ordinary. I think the problem comes from the psychological/diagnosis mentality that some social workers have with clients. (Some of it may come from social workers who feel the profession is not fully accepted/legitimized.) While it is important for us to understand the problems clients face, I think we have to avoid the medical terminology of diagnosis and treatment that seem to imply the people we serve are somehow different or inferior.

Larry James said...

chris, the graphics didn't work. . .the link will be back tomorrow. And, by the way,saving postage, money and paper can't be bad or whacko--tell me you meant "whacko" and that you aren't now on a campaign against the Central Texas city or environmentalists at Baylor University!

Steve said...

I am reminded of the lost expression:

"A friend in need is a friend indeed" or should it read " a friend in need is a friend in deed"?

One of the many amazing attributes of Jesus and his ministry was the humanity he brought to to the person in need. With whatever was appropriate, he brought a touch, a word, a question, and took time with individuals even when pressed by the urgency of needs ( which is often the excuse we professionals use for our dehumanizing behavior)