Welcome to Collaborative Helping: A Simple Map to Transform Relational Positioning Bill Madsen Family-Centered Services Project www.family-centeredservices.org [email protected] Plan for our Time Together Examining the Terrain of Frontline Work Collaborative Helping Maps to Enhance Worker Thinking Collaborative Helping Maps to Enhance Conversations with Families Collaborative Helping Maps to Supervisory Conversations Summary and Wrap-up Overview of Collaborative Helping An integrative principle-based practice framework for helping Emphasizes the relational stance we take with the people we serve Grounded in a story metaphor Organized around inquiry – our expertise is the ability to ask compelling questions Collaborative Helping Draws from: Appreciative Inquiry Motivational Interviewing Narrative, Solution-Focused, and Collaborative Therapy Approaches “Signs of Safety” work in CPS The reported experiences of families. The Terrain of our Work and the Usefulness of Principle-Based Practice Frameworks Decision-Making in FamilyCentered Practice This work is messy. It often demands that we focus on the exception rather than the rule. At the same time, it is important that helping responses are grounded in a clearly articulated set of assumptions and principles. Efforts to bring order and certainty to work characterized by unpredictability run the risk of “missing the point.” We need to (re)discover our traditional strengths in working with ambiguity, uncertainty and complexity. (Parton and O’Byrne; 2000) Two approaches along a continuum of managing the inherent uncertainty of this work Command and control social work, reactive managerialism, blame prevention engineering and “protocolization.” Development of reflective judgment and principle-based embracing of ambiguity, uncertainty and complexity. Technical and Adaptive Problems (Ronald Heifetz – Leadership without Easy Answers) A technical problem yields a right answer through the application of an appropriate and pre-made plan. Most textbook problem sets in mathematics, science, engineering, or business feature technical problems that have right answers that “fit” the problem. An adaptive problem doesn’t have a clear, pre-made particular or certain answer. Adaptive problems are real world problems where data is conflicting or ambiguous, where disputants reasonably disagree about appropriate actions to resolve the problem, or where values are in conflict. Technical Problems •How do you transport large quantities of food to impoverished areas of the world? •How do you fix a clutch for a car? •How do you take care of a broken leg? How do you collect demographic information on people served? With technical problems, the solution is, for the most part, already known. Technical problems were once adaptive problems that now have clear answers. The process here is knowing what technical solution is needed and putting into action. Adaptive Problems • • • • How will we get the economy moving again? How can/should we respond to terrorism today? How should I respond to my son or daughter being teased at school? How do you respond to a teenage girl who alleges incest and then recants? With adaptive problems, the “terrain” of the problem may be shifting, and an approach to learning about the problem may be as important as anything else. Encouraging an environment of learning and experimentation is key. A Common Error Confusing technical and adaptive problems and attempting to apply technical solutions to adaptive problems. Disciplined Improvisation Responding to the “messiness” of everyday practice often requires on-going learning with flexibility and improvisation. “Improvisation is too important to be left to chance” – Paul Simon Disciplined Improvisation – Developing flexible maps to operationalize family-centered values and principles the everyday “messiness” of practice Usefulness of Maps Conceptual maps can focus and organize workers’ thinking about complex situations Conceptual maps can serve as a vehicle for constructive conversations between workers and families Collaborative Helping Map Organizing Vision Where do you want to be headed in your life? Obstacles What gets in the way? Supports What supports you ? Plan What needs to happen? Drawing on Supports to address Obstacles to get to Vision Beginning with a Foundation of Engagement and Connection Relational Stance The Nucleus of our Work Helping Practices – What we do with people Conceptual Maps – How we think about people and problems Relational stance – How we are with people Building a Foundation of Family Engagement Getting to know family members in ways that humanize them, build connection with them and encourage hope for shared work, while keeping important issues on the table. Using Collaborative Helping Maps to Enhance Worker Thinking Community-based work is often characterized by ambiguity, uncertainty and complexity with significant messiness and little external structure. Collaborative Helping maps can provide a simple way to help organize and focus our thinking about complex situations. Organizing Vision Clear, proactive, meaningful vision Foundation of motivation, resourcefulness, community Obstacles Individual, relational, and socio-cultural levels Framed to Separate problems from people Supports Plan Individual, relational and socio-cultural levels Framed to Connect people to intentions and sense of agency Clear, proactive, meaningful plan Engaging natural community to support plan Organizing Vision Where do you want to be headed in your life? Helping People Envision Preferred Directions in Life Envisioning a non-problematic future. Focusing on preferred coping in a difficult present. Important Aspects of Organizing Vision It is important that: We help families develop a clear, proactive, mutually shared, concrete vision. We help to build a foundation of motivation, resourcefulness and community for this vision. Questions to Help People Develop an Organizing Vision Beginning at the end Appreciative Inquiry questions Complaint to commitment questions Story in 20 years question Finding a vision that is important when nothing else is. Vision Statements in CPS Contexts When your kids are 25, what do you hope that they will be saying about their childhood and about you as their parent if someone asked about their upbringing? Questions to Build a Foundation of Motivation, Resourcefulness and Community Why is this vision important to you? When have you been more able to ground your work in this vision? Who in your life might appreciate and support you in pursuing this vision? Organizing Vision Mutually shared, proactive, meaningful and concrete Foundation of motivation, resourcefulness, community Obstacles Supports What gets in the way of the vision? What contributes to the vision? Plan What do we need to do next? Some Examples of Obstacles and Supports Obstacles: Supports: Problems Abilities, Skills and Knowledge Experiences and feelings Counter habits and Old Habits and practices practices Constraining interpersonal interactions Sustaining interpersonal interactions (virtuous (vicious cycles) cycles) Beliefs, lifestyles, life Intentions, values, hopes, stories and commitments Dilemmas and difficult Supportive community situations members Broader constraining Broader sustaining cultural expectations cultural expectations Important Aspects of Obstacles and Supports Eliciting obstacles at individual, relational, and socio-cultural levels Describing obstacles in a way that separates problems from people Eliciting supports at individual, relational and socio-cultural levels Describing supports in a way that connects people to their intentions and sense of agency Viewing People as Being in a Relationship with Obstacles People are in an on-going and changeable relationship with Obstacles. The Person is not problematic. The Obstacle or the Person’s with the Obstacle is problematic. Re-Thinking Obstacles and Supports Obstacles Organizing Vision Supports Questions around Obstacles What are some things that can get in the way of or pull you away from your preferred direction in life? How do you notice it when those things show up in your life? What effects can those things have on your life and relationships? What do you think about those effects? How do they suit you? Would you prefer that they are more present in your life or more absent from it? Questions around Supports What are some of the things that support you in moving towards your preferred direction in life? When things are going better in your family, what does that look like? If we had a videotape of you folks at your best, what would we see? What strengths, capacities, resources do you bring that might be helpful in pursuing this vision? How do you put those into practice in your life? What helps you do that? Organizing Vision Mutually shared, proactive, meaningful and concrete Foundation of motivation, resourcefulness, community Obstacles Individual, relational, and socio-cultural levels Externalizes problems Plan Supports Individual, relational and socio-cultural levels Internalizes agency Clear, proactive, mutually agreed upon plan Concretely specifies who will do what Engages natural community to support plan Important Aspects of Plan It is important that: We help families develop a clear, proactive, mutually shared plan that clearly specifies who will do what. We work to identify and engage families’ natural communities to support that plan. Some Questions to Help Develop a Plan As you remember the vision that you developed, what makes that particular vision important to you? As you look at the various obstacles and supports we’ve identified, which ones seem like the best ones to start with? Would you prefer to begin by addressing particular obstacles, drawing on particular supports of some combination of both? If Beginning with Obstacles: As you think about this particular obstacles, are there times when you have been more successful in responding to it, coping with it, resisting it? How did you do that and what helped you to do that? What thoughts do you have about the next concrete steps that you might take? Who might be available to help and support you in that process? If Beginning with Supports: As you think about this particular support, how has it sustained you? How have you drawn on it? What steps did you take to do that? What does that suggest to you about possible next steps? Who might be available to help and support you in that process? Using Collaborative Helping Maps to Enhance Conversations with Families Collaborative Helping maps can also guide conversations between workers and families about challenging issues in ways that minimize polarization and defensiveness and opens space for reflection and consideration of alternative possibilities. Use of Collaborative Helping Map with a Reluctant Family Comments from a CPS Worker on Utility of CH maps for Conversations with reluctant families Usefulness of Beginning w/ Vision I think it offers opportunities for them to see that this is actually possible, so that there’s a possibility out there for you to get to where you want to be. And then when you start talking about what’s getting in the way of getting to that, then people can kind of get their head around well this obstacle is in my way and what do we need to do to address that obstacle and what supports you in addressing that – I think this becomes do-able to them. Starting with the end in mind. When you’re having these kinds of conversations with families and you’re serious, they’re not saying I want to live in a 5 million dollar home and own a yacht. They’re saying, I want my kids to be happy and healthy and stable. That’s do-able. Effects on Family My guess is . . . calm. The word calm came to mind when you asked that question. It calmed them down. I mean the Dad’s vision is of his siblings being taken away and put in foster care from his youth. And so I think everybody calmed down when we started talking about what do you want for your kids and what is your vision for your kids and how can I help you get there? It didn’t involve taking kids out of the home. I think it just helped them simplify and calm down. Effects on Engagement Personally, as much as I can in my work, I do try to see this as a collaboration with the family and not something I’m doing to them. So, when you’re talking about their hope and where they want to be headed and how they’re going to get there and who can help them and what’s the plan for that – what’s getting in the way and how are we going to address that - we’re working together and we’re collaborating on reaching a goal. This never came across to them as something I was doing to them. Sample Letter that documented a conversation with a family and was sent to the parents after initial conversation. A letter was sent to Mother and Father. Sample following is sample of Father’s letter. Dear Tom, I am writing this letter to share back with you some of the things we talked about in our meeting yesterday. Hopefully this letter will help to support the vision you have for your family's future and encourage you down that path. We talked about your upbringing and how being involved with CPS and watching your siblings being taken away really messed with your head. You stated that your mom had a terrible gambling problem and because of this, she was unable to meet her children's needs. You talked about how you want to flip around your experience as a kid and do the exact opposite with your own kids. You said that your upbringing with your mom was negative, but your upbringing with your dad was positive. You said that because of your experience, you became very independent and motivated to not be like your mom. You said that you don't want your kids not knowing if they will have electricity or clothing. Vision/Hope You stated that fifteen years from now, you hope your kids will say that they had fun while growing up, that they had everything they needed, they had support from their parents and always knew that their parents would be there. You talked about wanting them to know about hard work and discipline, and you want them to be successful adults some day. Supports You talked about how your dad has been very supportive of you and that you first started seeing him when you were about 13 years old. You talked about how he said he was disappointed in your bad decision making (in the current situation), but he isn't mad at you. You talked about how you and “Mom” and the kids see him weekly for dinner if not more often. You also talked about how your grandma is a support to you and the kids and you have regular contact with her as well. You said that everything about your situation is out on the table, and your family and friends know everything. You talked about being motivated because of your past. Obstacles Tom, you said that your main obstacles to your vision/hope are the bad decisions that you have made, and you are experiencing a “big bump in the road.” You said you realize the obstacles are inconsistent with your hopes for your kids. Plan I am hoping that our next step will be to develop a plan for overcoming obstacles, maximizing your supports and moving forward in your vision for your family. Typically what we do here in our department is have meetings with people's support networks so the extended family can come up with a plan to help the kids in a time of need. You are way ahead already because you have shared everything with your family and friends, and everyone knows what is going on. I look forward to our next meeting on Friday at 9:00. Sincerely, Beth Usefulness of Letter Writing I could see people thinking that, but I think the result of putting the little extra time in that was worth it because I didn’t have to spend the next two months trying to build trust with these guys. I did it in one meeting and one letter (actually two letters because I wrote one to each of them). Far less work if you ask me, however, I like to write. I love writing and so if writing is a chore to somebody, I could see the resistance there to do that if it’s a lot of work. For me, it comes pretty easily and I enjoy doing it. But I bet that was worth two months of meetings. Really, two months? I do, I do think that, particularly because of the history here. Next Steps Safety Network Meeting w/ Great Grandma, Dad, Roommate, Friend, Sister, Friend, Friend, and a number of neighbors. Beth put up 4 sheets of flip chart paper with Vision – Obstacles – Supports – Plan and wrote down network thoughts Beth sent write up to everyone in the network (with family permission) Helping People Develop a Community of Support for New Lives It takes a village to raise a new story If identity is created in social action, it is important to find an appreciative audience for change. Recruiting communities of support can counteract the isolating effects of problems and help people stay in touch with preferred versions of who they are in life. Developing Communities of Support Using re-membering conversations to evoke the presence of potential allies. Using reflecting teams or witnessing groups to engage actual audiences Using written documents to support witnessing Helping people identify, utilize and sustain actual allies in their daily lives. Using Collaborative Helping Maps to Guide Supervisory Conversations Collaborative Helping maps can also provide a useful framework for supervision and consultation conversations. Supervision as Inquiry We can think of supervision as an opportunity to help workers develop “habits of thought” that enable them to think their way through complex situations. The Collaborative Helping Map can provide supervisors with questions to accomplish this. Three Stages of Supervisory Conversations Developing a Shared Focus for a Supervisory Conversation Content Of a Supervisory Conversation Feedback / Reflection on a Supervisory Conversation Questions to Develop a Shared Focus for a Supervisory Conversation What do you hope to get out of today’s conversation? What might be getting in the way of you being fully present here today? In the midst of everything else going on, how can we make this time as useful as possible for you? Content Of Supervisory Conversation Introduction of the Family Agreed Upon Focus Obstacles / Supports Plan – What needs to happen next? Questions to Introduce the Family Who is in this family? How do you think they would like you to introduce them to us? What do you particularly respect and appreciate about them as a family? What do they particularly appreciate about working with you? What other concerns would be important for us to keep in mind here? Questions to Elicit the Agreed upon Focus In 25 words or less, what might different members of this family say their work with you is heading towards? What might other helpers involved with the family say? What would you say? What similarities and differences do you notice in these different descriptions? On a scale of 0-10, how would family members, you, and other helpers rate progress towards these goals? What similarities and differences do you notice in these different descriptions? Questions to Elicit Obstacles / Supports What might different family members and other helpers say gets in way of things going better towards agreed upon focus? What would you say gets in the way of things going better towards agreed upon focus? What similarities and differences do you notice? What might family members and others helpers say have contributed to things going as well as they have towards agreed upon focus? What would you say has contributed to things going as well as they have towards agreed upon focus? What similarities and differences do you notice? Questions to Elicit Plan - Next Steps Based on what you’ve heard yourself saying about vision, obstacles, and supports , what do you think is the next step to help this family draw on supports to address obstacles to “live into” vision? Who will do what, when and with whom? Who else needs to involved? Feedback / Reflection on Supervisory Conversation Plus + What well in our meeting today? Delta ∆ What could we do to improve it next time? Wrap Up FCS represents a shift in how we serve families CH maps help workers think through complex problems and provide a structure for honest, respectful conversations b/t workers and families Use of CH maps over time promotes a shift in relational positioning That shift in relational positioning supports the enactment of different life stories and opens up new possibilities for families Wrap-Up What from today do you want to remember and carry back into your work? What will help you to do that?