Friday, January 15, 2021

Comments by Grrace

Showing 6 of 6 comments.

  • Hi Neesa, I’m so excited you are joining the radical tradition of social work!

    Well, there’s a radical tradition in SW, and a gatekeeper tradition. I hope Hunter is teaching you about social workers like Bertha Capen Reynolds, who believed that when her clients marched in the streets, it’s social workers’ responsibility to get out of the office and march with them, but ALSO to bring it back to the office and start organizing about the terrible working conditions of our own profession!

    Yeah, I’m a sister social worker (SW) and a therapist. And I have also struggled with the Code around dual relationships, making services financially accessible, and other issues. I actually have a lot of respect for the document **in the hands of seasoned SWs**, because it is the collected evolving wisdom of so many who took up the work. I agree with Ron Unger who draws attention to the importance of the qualified language of a lot of the points.

    It is a frustrating aspect that there are so many seeming ambiguities and conflicts in the Code—but that is also what makes it a nuanced document, able to be wrestled with for the incredibly complex issues of being human and trying to be ethical around issues of power imbalance, etc. Beware of it in the hands of black and white thinkers, though, who will try to use it as a weapon.

    But I have been so lucky to find a supervisor who brings all of her decades of experience to wrestle with it with me to support me in my very outside-the-box work as a SW who is out about my lived experience of madness and radical mental health perspective.

    I definitely share my stories when it seems in service to clients, and this supervisor is completely supportive. And I continue to navigate the complex challenges of dual relationships of the very small radical mental health community. But I actually agree with carefully considering the potential impacts, often unintended, that these can have. I don’t think it’s about figuring out what is 100% safe to do, but what is reasonable, considered risk. And sometimes we make mistakes. And then we try to be accountable, if we are brave and ethical enough.

    I hope you have supportive supervisors, too! It makes all the difference (I’ve had supervisors from hell–don’t confuse them as representing the profession).

    And then I hope you help the Code become an even better document/guide!

    Yes, being a peer worker is different from being a peer-clinician/clinician with lived experience. I think it would be a fascinating discussion to explore that. Please let me know if you’d be interested in creating a presentation (panel discussion, maybe?) for Rethinking Psychiatry. That would be amazing and I’d be really interested and would help, if you wanted. You can reach me through [email protected].

  • oldhead, there are coopted peer systems and kick ass beautifully powerful radical peer systems.

    Do you know about Intentional Peer Support (IPS), for example, developed by peers for peers…as well as to teach non-peer clinicians? Have you heard the countless stories of people locked up in psych units, not having one clinician ask them what happened…except the one peer that visited them? I hear some version of that over and over, and hear so many people credit peers with showing them how to make meaning of their experiences and reclaim their lives and humanity.

    And absolutely, the “system” wants to co-opt it. But I don’t feel it’s black and white. And I cannot discount all the stories of mad folks I know who have shared how others who have walked the path and found a way through, and come back to offer their stories and companionship, have saved their lives.

  • Hi Caroline and Steve,
    Another way is what dfk (above) wrote. Beautiful description of deep healing work.

    But, Caroline, I don’t think it can be done from a paid friend model. (I should say I’m invested here, as a social worker therapist who tries to work like dfk writes). It’s not about being better than or objective. It’s about taking a bunch of the complication out of the relationship so that helping the one person heal is more possible.

    I think that healing in the context of a mutual friendship/partnership can be even more healing, but is also more complicated and more rare. They are different.

    As a therapist, if I see myself as a friend, then I WILL want reciprocity, and when my feelings get hurt, I’ll become less able to focus on the client’s needs and helping the client understand their patterns. But, like you both mention, it’s really bad if the therapist is working their stuff out on the client. That’s why my main teacher said that therapists should always be in supervision, even after it’s is required. My feelings do get hurt, and I need to get clarity about my own stuff so it can stay about the client.