SRV Journal focus question: December 2009

The following focus question was published in the December 2009 issue of The SRV Journal. I look forward to your replies, thoughts, reflections and related questions:

The primacy of autonomy, rights and ‘choice’ is a common mindset and ideology in contemporary human services. Compare and contrast this ideology of autonomy and ‘choice’ with the principles and themes of SRV, both in terms of human service understanding and action/practice.

Which set of ideas is more likely to be supportive of interpersonal identification (SRV monograph, Wolfensberger, 1998, pp. 118-120) with a devalued person or group? Why? How?

Which set of ideas is more likely to be supportive of socially devalued people having greater access to the ‘good things of life’ (Wolfensberger, Thomas and Caruso, 1996)? Why? How?

Marc Tumeinski

2 Responses

Subscribe to comments via RSS

  1. Written by Nancy Schafer
    on June 4, 2012 at 7:07 am
    Reply · Permalink

    For people, interpersonal identification is important because we all aspire to emulate someone we look up to. For devalued people, I believe they want to be like a person they admire. Being part of a group fills the other interpersonal identification of wanting to be with others. People truly want to accomplish what they see their mentor accomplish, and they want to belong.

    Socially devalued people would choose to have greater control over one’s life. Dictating life choices to anyone is unacceptable because it predetermines their expectancies without any chance to choose what they want. Also, they need to belong to a small intimate group who supports their choices. The small intimate group of a family is important support system in life. Without it present in one’s life, there is a void. Finally, I would rank having opportunities and expectancies to decide one’s talent would be the third choice for a ‘good life’. Without opportunities or expectancies, a person has no reason to pursue dreams and aspirations, which would leave to having no choice and control over their lives.

  2. Written by Janet Klees
    on June 7, 2012 at 10:13 pm
    Reply · Permalink

    This is an interesting question, given that I have just been working hard to present a new workshop this week on “Discovering the Gifts and Contributions of Others”. Choice and autonomy is really all about ME in the end, and there is a valid thought that many of the people we support have had very little ME time.

    However, I find it much more fruitful in terms of relationship building, life satisfaction, and sense of fulfillment when we focus on contribution and giving rather than ensuring that we get all that we are entitled to. There is little that grounds a valued social well so much as a genuine focus on what does this person have to offer in this role?

    In fact, the question of “how can this person make life better for others with this (gift or contribution)?” leads one to very deep and effective conversations about the many different ways that people may contribute to the well-being of the whole community. These contributions include both making contributions (actions, offerings) as well as contributions of being.

    Thanks again for the moment to think…

Subscribe to comments via RSS

Leave a Reply