Social Work that Matters

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1 Social Work that Matters Elizabeth Root, MA Scott County Health & Human Services

2 Social Work that Matters Viewer Discretion is Advised Life in Stories & Narrative Interventions Inquiry-Based Approach (lots of questions) Some people shouldn t be parents Time

3 Mattering & Marginality Feeling like we matter is the sense that others are interested in us, depend on us, or are concerned with our fate. It is the knowledge that I am important what I say and do make a difference. I am listened to and I have influence.

4 Mattering and Marginality Nancy Schlossberg s study on college students Mattering and Marginality are polar opposites

5 Nancy Schlossberg Involvement leads to more academic learning and more personal development for college students Involvement leads to connections and an increased sense of community responsibility & mattering If we feel that we matter, we will be more involved. Conversely, if we are more involved, we will feel that we matter

6 Marginality and Mattering Many things divide us race, ethnicity, religion, gender, age, politics, socioeconomic status, etc. In the blink of an eye, we separate ourselves with our assumptions and biases Polar themes of marginality & mattering unite all of us

7 Mattering and Marginality Are we a part of things? Do we belong? Are we central or marginal? Do we make a difference? Do others care about us and make us feel we matter?

8 Marginality Transitions Being in two roles Racism and other forms of prejudice Age, illness, disabilities, bankruptcy Temporary phase Permanent state

9 Mattering as Motivator Mattering motivates and energizes us It s the knowledge that we are important what we say and do make a difference I am listened to and I have influence

10 Mattering and Involvement Mattering brings involvement Being involved increases connections and collaboration Collaboration leads to investment in outcomes Investment leads to lasting change

11 Lionel s Story Marginalizing and Mattering of a Little Boy Listening vs. Mattering How do we safely practice mattering? Listening with our eyes

12 The Mattering of a Little Boy Narrative Interventions Letter Writing a lost art Re-Membering Consulting Your Consultants

13 Re-Membering Club of Life; Life Team, Village, Community Family, friends, deceased, historical figures, even fictitious characters Upgrading and downgrading memberships

14 The Mattering of a Little Boy Terracotta Soldiers

15 Soldiers Terracotta Soldiers

16 Letters of Re-Membering Dear Anthony~ My name is Sam Cheng. I am one of the Chinese Terracotta Soldiers. You can see me in this picture!

17 Letter I heard that sometimes you feel sad about losing your family. That happened to me, too, with some of my fellow soldiers. Sometimes I miss them a lot. I try to remember that I am not alone, and it helps. I also heard that sometimes you have trouble listening to your teacher at school. We soldiers have a captain who is in charge of us. Sometimes I don t want to listen to him, but I remember to breathe in and count to ten. Then I feel better and more ready to listen. Will you remember to try that?

18 Letter I learned that you are a very smart and special kid and that many people love you. I know things will get better for you, Anthony. Sincerely, Sam Cheng

19 Consulting Your Consultants Narrative intervention Everyone has an inner consultant or inner expert Employ that expertise and make it explicit in the helping

20 Consulting Your Consultants Tell her, The same thing happened to me. If she has trouble at school, I would say, You should take two deep breaths and hold your breath and count to ten. Then breathe out and say, I m ready. If she felt sad and felt really bad for it, I would say, It s ok. I felt the same but got over it because I was told that it wasn t my fault.

21 Consulting Your Consultants If you had a chance, what would you say to a parent just starting out with a CP worker? What advice would you give? What mistakes would you say to avoid? What encouragement could you offer? What is the most important change you ve experienced?

22 FGDM, Mattering and Vision Most profound way to matter a family is through FGDM Problem-saturated story over to preferred story Family s voices are honored

23 Vision Work Identify parents preferred way of being Step outside immediacy of problems Describe preferred narrative

24 Vision Work What story do you want your kids to have about you and about their childhood when they are adults? How do you hope they will describe you and their upbringing when asked about it as adults? In your opinion, what makes up a good childhood?

25 Vision Work What things do you want to make sure you re paying attention to discipline, nurture, extended family, education, activities? Is there something you received that you want to pass down to them? Is there something you didn t receive you want to make sure you give to your kids? Finish this sentence in your kids voices looking back as adults: When I was growing up, my mom was or my dad was

26 Vision Statement Example written in the kids voices looking back as adults When we were growing up we had a happy, loving home. Our mom and dad were a supportive, patient, proud, loving and caring parental unit. We were taught to be proud of our actions and everything we did. Our parents taught us to be understanding even when we didn t agree. They were examples to us of how to be open, communicate well, and to have empathy for other people s feelings. We were outdoors people and loved our time with our extended family. We learned about love, hard work, and how to be functioning members of society. Our family was not dysfunctional, and we are proud of the way our parents raised us.

27 Closing The Practice of Mattering searching for ways families can influence the helping Letter writing, Re-Membering, Vision Work, Consulting your Consultants, FGDM

28 Reflections In what context do you feel like you matter? What context do you feel like you don t matter or are de-mattered? What is the impact of the two? What does it take to create a working environment where mattering is the norm? Won t we pass that down to the families we help?

29 Reflections What if you had a Vision Statement for your work? What would you hope a family you are working with now would say about you a year from now if they were standing in front of 450 people giving a speech? What if your agency had a Vision Statement? Or your unit?

30 Vision Statement for Work If a family I am helping this year were to stand up and give a speech about my work with them next year, I hope they would genuinely be able to say that I listened to them, that I mattered them, that I took their ideas and concerns and integrated them into our plan, that I honored their knowledge and was influenced by it. I hope that speech would acknowledge my ability to balance family wisdom with child safety, stating that I was able to maintain my professional responsibilities without losing sight of the personal nature of this work. My vision is that this speech would include words about how I tirelessly stayed true to the task of increasing safety. The family would honestly be able to say that they felt we were in this process together and were better because of it.

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