Thursday, August 5, 2010

can't see the forest...

This morning I was alone in my room... disobeying one of the many inane, pointless and virtually unenforceable rules we are saddled with at my current shelter. This phenomenon is by no way unique to this location. I couldn't help but think that people who work in these places should spend a week or two living as residents in a similar facility. One cannot work with a particular set of clients closely after living among them. So perhaps such "resident practicums" could be added to the social work curriculum at universities...say in second year; that would allow for a one year interval before having to deal with familiar clients.
The things management imagine to be important are rare, insignificant and to a great extent self-adjusting. Yet things that grind and wear on every one's nerves are allowed to go unchecked. Causing short tempers and conflict among clients.
Someone once said a little knowledge is a dangerous thing...I find myself agreeing. Rules are in place to protect specific groups (mental health clients, or transgendered women) from potential indirect harm. Example we are not allowed to change clothes in our dorms, apparently this could trigger PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) or just offend the very sensitive among us. The simple courtesy of knocking before entering would spare a sensitive individual from accidentally seeing another person naked. As for PTSD there is no way of knowing what a persons trigger will be until it has been set off. If we had not studied PTSD, or feminist studies on gender bias... maybe we would focus on the more mundane problems of group living. Many issues of abuse, could be averted by basic considerations for others needs, good manners, picking up after oneself, sharing and common civility. These are things we all learned in kindergarten. They are basic and NECESSARY skills for functioning in society. If our clients are ever going to successfully reintegrate we should take every opportunity to remind them of these skills and require their practice.
That's my little rant for today... must off I have lunch duties. Take care and have a joyous day.

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