“When you start measuring relationships, you really lose the core beauty and variety of it. With a strengths-based approach, we are claiming some of that back.“
One of the challenges for developing new approaches to supporting people is that it can either be seen as too radical (We’d love to do this, but our commissioners/providers wouldn’t be up for it…) or not radical enough (We do this already, or It’s just good old-fashioned support work).
The PTS Response approach we take does draw on a long history of people working in a human, compassionate and empowering way, and it doesn’t have any single unique element, but it does draw together practices which I’ve not seen combined before. These include insights into inequalities, structural racism and thinking about trauma which weren’t widely-available in the ‘good old days’ of community social work, for instance. We can see so much unconscious as well as conscious bias in past decades, that it’s impossible to imagine that social work and healthcare, led and managed even more disproportionately by a small section of society, was immune to it. I don’t doubt, however, that the professionalisation of many forms of support, and the marketisation of many public service areas, has removed ways of being with individuals and communities that didn’t survive the newly professionalised, commodified and marketised public service worlds, despite the value which we are reclaiming now.
My colleague Jhoana Serna, our Head of Coaching, and Ol Townsend of our partner agency Platfform, discussed these questions for this New System Alliance blog, which I found thought-provoking: https://newsystemalliance.org/2023/04/03/good-old-fashioned-support-work/