SRV Journal focus question from the June 2009 issue

In each issue of The SRV Journal, we publish a focus question, inviting our readers to individually and perhaps as part of a small study group to consider, reflect on and discuss the question. I have decided to start posting these questions just as they appeared in the Journal, starting with the first question published in the June 2009 issue and working my way up to the present issue. I will spread these posts out over the next several weeks. I invite you to post your comments, thoughts, examples and related questions. It would be particularly helpful I think to frame any replies in the context of SRV teaching and implementation.

Analyze how and to what degree interpersonal identification (SRV monograph, Wolfensberger, 1998, pp. 118-120) between service recipient and server is affected when the server is trained to use restraint techniques (physical, mechanical, chemical) and/or actually uses restraint.

Marc Tumeinski

Posted on May 30, 2012 at 11:59 am by MTumeinski · Permalink
In: Uncategorized · Tagged with: , , ,

2 Responses

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  1. Written by Janet Klees
    on May 31, 2012 at 8:19 am
    · Permalink

    Hello Marc,

    I just love this question…I hope you bring forward more.

    This is very timely in that I know of a situation where a family in distress has asked for some restraint training. Among other things, we have decided that people ask for what they know and to separate the sincere and necessary call for help from the thing that they currently believe will give that help (CPI). Then we can deal with the individual circumstances of their family member in constructive ways that are also morally acceptable. However, this was a good reminder of yet another reason not to go down that restraint path.


  2. Written by Elizabeth Neuville
    on May 31, 2012 at 9:38 am
    · Permalink

    Marc, thank you so much for posting this question, which I know was in the Journal but re-asserts itself at a time when it is very relevant. In particular, the issue of teaching restraint to those who will work with or be with marginalized people, is one that should be carefully analyzed. An even more subtle issue that, no doubt, must impact interpersonal identification between people is when “relational techniques” are linked through juxtaposition with restraint training programs. So….people are taught what may be very useful and helpful ways to interact with other people, and are not taught restraint techniques BUT the training program is associated with restraint. (for example, it is the first part of a two part series, and part 2 teaches restraint techniques)

    This invites unconsciousness, as the connection to restraint might be unexplicated, sugar-coated, and even unknown by many of the participants. In fact, it may be “a recipe” for unconsciousness.

    Another unconscious force propelling the use of these programs forward are the economics – the places that design these training packages are making lots of money teaching 1. How to avoid restraining people (for lots of money) 2. How to restrain people (for even more money) and 3. How to stop restraining people ( for yet another cost). The fees accumulate, as there are often “certification” for all trainers, per use manual fees, and hefty price tags for the “re-certification”. Organizations who use them begin to talk about being in “compliance” with the “rules” of these programs, which is a further drift from the realities.

    I remember that one of the points that Dr. Wolfenberger has taught us about the reasons for so much unconsciousness in human services is that human beings tend to reduce and simplify in the face of complexity. Devaluation is complex, the people we serve are complex, relationships are complex, and so forth. Having a nice , neat package of “relationship training” – complete with tests, score sheets, workbooks, and recertification processes is attractive in the face of complexity. If it is associated with restraint, though, we should be very cautious and thoughtful about their use, and be aware of the risks.

    Lastly, concerning the issue of what this does to the identification between the server and the served, we can also think about the related SRV theme of Mindsets and Expectancies, and how the use of these “restraint-imaged” programs shape the mindsets of all of us who use them, teach them, learn them, witness them., hear about them, and are subjected to their use.

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