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Collaborative Helping: A Strengths Framework for Home-Based Services

Collaborative Helping: A Strengths Framework for Home-Based Services

William C. Madsen, Kevin Gillespie

ISBN: 978-1-118-74645-5 March 2014 240 Pages




An interdisciplinary framework for sustainable helping through cross-system collaboration

This hands-on resource provides clear, practical guidance for supportive service professionals working in a home-based environment. Drawing on best practices from a range of disciplines, this book provides a clear map for dealing with the complex and often ambiguous situations that arise with individuals and families, with applications extending to supervision and organizational change. Readers gain the advice and insight of real-world frontline helpers, as well as those who receive care, highlighting new ways to approach the work and re-think previous conceptualizations of problems and strengths. Helping efforts are organized around a shared, forward-thinking vision that anticipates obstacles and draws on existing and potential supports in developing a collaborative plan of action.

The book begins with stories that illustrate core concepts and context, presenting a number of useful ideas that can reorient behavioral services while outlining a principle-based practice framework to help workers stay grounded and focused. Problems are addressed, and strength-based work is expanded into richer conversations about strengths in the context of intention and purpose, value and belief, hopes, dreams, and commitments. Topics include:

  • Contextual guidance with helping maps
  • Engaging people and re-thinking problems and strengths
  • Dilemmas in home and community services
  • Sustainable helping through collaboration and support

A strong collaboration between natural networks, communities, and trained professionals across systems creates an effective helping endeavor. Ensuring sustainability may involve promoting systems change, and building institutional supports for specific supervisory, management, and organizational practices. Collaborative Helping provides a framework for organizing these efforts into a coherent whole, serving the needs of supportive services workers across sectors.

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Acknowledgments vii

Introduction xi

About the Authors xix

chapter 1 Helping: What, How, and Why 1

Stories of Helping Relationships 1

Walking and Talking 8

Helping Activities—The What of Helping 9

Relational Connection—The How of Helping 12

Experience and Stories—The Why of Helping 14

Placing Collaborative Helping in a Broader Context 17

Moving Collaborative Helping Into the Future 20

chapter 2 Cornerstones of Collaborative Helping 23

Collaborative Helping as a Principle-Based Approach 23

Collaborative Helping and Relational Stance 26

Collaborative Helping and a Focus on Life Stories 33

Collaborative Helping and Inquiry 40

The Cornerstones in Plain English 46

chapter 3 A Map to Guide Helping Efforts 49

Introducing Collaborative Helping Maps 50

The Collaborative Helping Map in Action 52

Organizing Vision and Preferred Directions in Life 53

Obstacles and Supports 58

The Plan 64

The Usefulness of a Map 68

chapter 4 Collaborative Helping Maps in Different Contexts 69

Using Collaborative Helping Maps in Residential Programs 69

Using Collaborative Helping Maps to Enhance Conversations in Child Protective Services 78

Using Collaborative Helping Maps in the Changing World of Health Care 91

Current and Potential Uses for Collaborative Helping Maps 96

chapter 5 Engaging People to Envision New Lives 99

Engagement—Who Are You and What Is Important to You? 99

Vision—Where Would You Like to Be Headed in Your Life? 102

Engagement Difficulties 108

Engaging a Youth with a No Problem Stance 111

Engaging a Woman with a No Control Stance 115

Difficulties Developing a Vision 118

Connecting to Build Desired Futures 123

chapter 6 Rethinking Problems and Strengths 125

Rethinking Strengths and Needs 126

Conversations about Problems as Obstacles Separate from People 127

A Map for Externalizing Conversations about Problems 135

Conversations about Strengths as Intentional Practices of Living 139

A Map for Conversations about Strengths 142

Applications of Conversations about Strengths 144

New Conversations about Problems and Strengths 148

chapter 7 Dilemmas in Home and Community Services 151

Concrete Help, Boundaries, and the Terrain of Home and Community Work 152

The Contribution of Family Partners to Collaborative Helping 159

Relational Stance and Advocacy Efforts 161

Power Dynamics in Working With the Larger Helping System 162

Dilemmas in Advocacy Efforts 166

Helping People More Effectively Advocate for Themselves 173

In the End, It’s Still Walking and Talking 174

chapter 8 Sustainable Helping 177

Using Collaborative Helping Maps to Enhance Supervision 177

Building Institutional Structures that Support Collaboration 183

Building Organizational Cultures that Support Collaboration 190

A Brief Look Back 199

References 203

Index 209