Challenging behaviour strategies aren’t necessarily complicated but they are powerful. It’s important then that we use them ethically. This video outlines some of the more basic points about ethics and philosophies of working with people who challenge us.
This series of blog posts first appeared a few years ago on a now defunct blog called ‘Care Training’. It was inspired by the training maxim of ‘making the unconscious conscious’. It is intended to take what really ought to be the most basic principles of health and social care and put them down on paper. The series isn’t only an exercise in stating the obvious though whatever the title might suggest. It’s actually intended as a philosophical foundation manual for workers and informal carers to help them get their care ‘on track’ and then to keep it that way.
Following on from the ‘no such thing as ‘us and them’ post I’d like to make a more general point about people. Nobody is special. There – I’ve said it. You are not indispensible at work and your boss, your colleagues, your friends and your favourite service user are all replaceable. Nobody is special because people are just people.
If you work in mental health or social care services you will be used to certain professionals behaving as though they are more important or somehow more worthy of respect than others. You may even be tempted to behave that way yourself. Many in my own profession of nursing seem as though they have been pre-programmed to emphasise their own importance way beyond all recognition.
Different professional groups have different responsibilities and different levels of education are important but they don’t make us special. I’m a nurse – a pretty well educated and experienced nurse at that but that doesn’t put me in a position to tell a newly qualified social worker with a basic professional education how to do their job. I’m not special and I don’t know everything.
Similairly whilst I’ll happily defer to a GP when dealing with complex physical problems I’m not about to take their word when planning a cognitive therapy strategy for someone with psychosis. I will listen to them though.
By the same token I may be responsible for planning and organising a shift and delegating care tasks to support workers but I’d better not forget that they are more likely to know the best way to hoist, bathe or feed a particular resident than I do because they know their own jobs.
Nobody is special.
Nobody is indispensable.
Nobody is irreplaceable.
People are just people.
Sharper eyed readers will notice that I’ve made a few changes to this post. That’s because I made a couple of errors in relating my family history. The changes are to reflect the facts rather than my half-remembered (& inaccurate) romanticising. My thanks go to my mother for keeping me accurate.
I’m a working class white bloke. My grandmother started life as a domestic servant and my grandfather left school as a young boy to be apprenticed to an undertaker. My great grandfather was instrumental in starting the first union in my hometown and was consequently ‘blacked’ by the local bosses. He never worked again.
My mother struggled to get herself trained as a teacher whilst bringing up three kids on a shoestring. I’ve been homeless, a busker, a care assistant, a barman, a salesman and eventually a nurse. I’m as working class as you can get – but I’m not special – and I’m not racist.
I’m writing this because I’m annoyed and I’m insulted. There is a growing sense of nationalism, of sectarianism and of racism in modern Britain that claims to represent me and others like me. The hard-working white people of UK, by virtue of skin colour, are expected to welcome fascism and racism as though it’s an indispensible, undeniable part of our group heritage. It isn’t.
In truth – nothing could be more removed from the heritage and traditions of white, working class Brits than the fascist ideal our grandparents fought against during the second world war. During that war huge numbers of ethnic soldiers wore British uniforms in a combined struggle against the extreme right wing policies of Hitler and Mussolini. Many others were our allies.
To say that I’m insulted though is only half the story. I’m also worried. I fear that the neoNazis of 2013 will continue to terrorize and abuse large sections of UK society. I worry that they will destroy all that the working classes have struggled for without ever realising how toxic right wing politics is to working people. And I am outraged that all this will be done in the name of ordinary working people, most of whom want no part in such abuse.
Why the English Defence League (ELD) doesn’t speak for me!
I worry that the footsoldiers of this nationalistic rise, themselves working class Britons, are blissfully unaware of the wholesale oppression that their violence could bring about – not only upon those whom they mistakenly think of as ‘the enemy’ but upon themselves and their families. The current nationalistic, racist fervour is the thin end of a very large wedge. It’s a slippery slope that threatens to devour working people of all colours, creeds and backgrounds.
I worry that our working class youth is being hijacked into supporting the very same people who kept their ancestors downtrodden in the past. The divisions being created by right wing opportunists, aided and abetted (however unintentionally) by the alienated, the downtrodden and the disenchanted threaten us all.
Throughout this series I will attempt to explain why I feel so strongly about this nationalist, racist, fascist cancer and why it is so vital that it stops before UK citizens destroy everything that they hold dear.
Read part 2 here.