Social Role Valorization theme: model coherency (post #2 in a series)

This is the second in a series of posts concerning the Social Role Valorization theme of relevance, potency, and model coherency of measures and services (see the SRV monograph by Wolfensberger, 1998, 3rd. rev. ed. published in 2004, pp. 111-118).

I briefly mentioned in the first post that Wolfensberger had described relevance, potency and model coherency as applicable for discrete service measures as well as more broadly for service models, programs, efforts, etc. Model coherency is useful as well for informal as well as formal service measures, models and efforts. (Note that Wolfensberger and Thomas in the 2007 PASSING 3rd rev. ed. Ratings Manual [pg. 37] briefly describe service as ‘any action that is intended to address some need of a person, group or class’ and a server as ‘any person who–either on their own initiative, or deployed by a human service agency–performs, carries out, or supports functions of service to one or more recipients. Such a server may be either paid or unpaid for rendering such service.’)

With the above in mind, we might, for example, apply and/or teach about the constructs of relevance, potency and model coherency in terms of specific service measures, e.g.:

• supporting a 10-year old student (with physical and/or intellectual impairments) to complete a homework assignment

• helping one’s elderly grandmother (maybe who is no longer able to drive safely, or perhaps is starting to show some signs of forgetfulness, even senility) to have lunch out with her friends at their favorite restaurant

… as well as more broad, long-term service efforts (whether informal, family- or friend-based efforts, or formal human service programs and agencies), e.g.:

• helping a poor family, who has been homeless on and off for many years, to have and hold onto home in a typical neighborhood, to be in valued roles of neighbor

• supporting a group of adults with significant mental disorder(s) to each find and maintain competitive work, to be in the valued role of employee


Whether about a specific service measure or about a service program or model (NB: see the June 2006 SRV Journal article by Armstrong and Shevellar for some discussion of relevance, potency and model in terms of respite), the construct of relevance, potency and model coherency requires that: “the right servers should be using the right materials, methods, and language, in the right settings, in order to do the right thing for the right recipients, who are grouped in the right way” (Wolfensberger, 1998, 116).

Note that the above comments and examples also implicitly highlight three key aspects of the SRV theme of relevance, potency and model coherency:

• matching the identities and needs of the people served

• matching the culturally valued analog(ues) (i.e., school, work, home, friendship, etc.)

• incorporating the power and reality of valued social roles

More on the connections between model coherency and these three key aspects in future posts.

Marc Tumeinski

2 Responses

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  1. Written by Erika Killian
    on February 19, 2012 at 8:46 pm
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    I love the ideas of matching the services to the specific person in need of them. Teachers should be constantly getting aware of their students and understand who they are as individuals and not just the class as a whole. Teachers and other services should match and incorporate the school and home life together. Social roles are a huge part of living in a society. Stated in Wolf Wolfensberger’s book everyone’s actions and appearances are being judged constantly and the social roles are being depicted from them. So services should be incorporated with the power of social roles.

  2. Written by Brittany Ward
    on March 25, 2012 at 2:47 pm
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    I feel that this post was very insightful. It is very true that these services should be matched to the persons needs. When servicing someone, especially those in the above examples, it is important to keep their needs in mind. Using model coherency helps us address those needs and make sure those people are being serviced appropriately. If we do not service the people appropriately through the use of model coherency these people can feel more devalued because they are not getting what they need. I can apply this to my own life in many ways. I am studying to be a teacher so therefor I can remember that the student’s needs are important. The needs of an individual child are more important then a class as a whole. A child could easily slip behind and feel more useless or devalued if they are not being addressed in the way that they need.

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