the wealth of concrete SRV implementation strategies

The principles of Social Role Valorization (SRV) contain a wealth of practical and highly concrete implementation strategies, both broad and deep, that can be carried out by individuals, groups or on the societal level. No helping approach, no social movement, no human service program will be able, either on its own or in combination, to completely stop the processes of societal devaluation and wounding or to help every devalued person or group. Still, SRV lays out a number of relevant ways to concretely address the impacts of societal devaluation in the lives of real people and real groups.

Below, I offer just a few examples, but this is by no means an exhaustive list, and I encourage others to share further ideas and examples.

• the broad framework of supporting image enhancement and competency enhancement toward a particular valued social role; the basic dual structure of image and competency enhancement can be easily explained to servers, and can open the door to imagining many relevant and potent possibilities for societally devalued people, as well as many, many concrete strategies

• The guidelines for applying SRV-relevant measures, as briefly laid out in the 3rd (rev.) edition of the SRV monograph authored by Wolfensberger (pp. 82-94):
* becoming familiar with the wounding experiences or ‘wounds’ of a societally devalued individual or group
* knowing the risk factors for the particular individual or group
* making an inventory of the current roles (socially valued and devalued) of the person or group
* analyzing the societal standing of the person or group
* identifying the current or desired social roles that one wants to valorize or change (valorize currently held positive roles, avoid entry into devalued roles, facilitate entry into new valued roles, regain previously-held valued roles, get a person or group out of devalued roles, reduce the negativity of current devalued roles, exchange current devalued roles for less devalued ones, etc.)


These 5 steps can be implemented iteratively, as a person or group’s situation and/or societal status change.


• Identify and use the various role communicators to help a person or group gain or internalize a new valued social role, and/or to help a person or group get out of a societally devalued role, or to at least minimize the obvious negativity of the devalued role (3rd. rev. edition of the SRV monograph, pp. 64-69):
* setting(s): where does the person/group spend time? how much time? which days of the week? which times of day? etc.
* juxtapositions and relationships with other people: who does the person/group spend time with? how much time? etc.
* activities, routines: what does the person/group do? how does the person/group spend time? etc.
* what is the personal appearance of the person/group (e.g., including clothes, shoes, makeup, jewelry, personal possessions, speech patterns, hairstyle, cleanliness, manners, tone and volume of voice, mannerisms, etc., etc.)?
* language used to and about people (by servers, by family, by members of the public, etc.)
* language used about and by a service organization, program, etc.
* funding sources and funding appeals

Note that these communicators can be analyzed, addressed (and implemented) separately but should also be looked at as a whole (e.g., what is the overall effect of these communicators on the person or group’s social role?)

• the SRV theme of personal social integration, and valued social and societal participation (PSI/VSP), as taught in SRV workshops, provides a concrete, comprehensive framework for service decisions and strategies. PSI/VSP calls for 1) valued participation with 2) valued people in 3) valued activities that take place in 4) valued settings. Even this simple 4-part matrix would be a helpful tool for making decisions and taking action on behalf of a societally devalued person or group. However, leadership-level SRV workshops go even further into detail in breaking these 4 elements down into a large number of increasingly more concrete options and considerations.

• The PASSING tool authored by Wolfensberger and Thomas (2007) provides a host of concrete frameworks and strategies for implementing SRV, including for example:

* the 42 PASSING ratings: each individual rating has multiple implications for implementing SRV
* the top level division of the 42 ratings into image (1) and competency (2) enhancement ratings (as discussed above)
* the next level division into settings (1), groupings (2), activities (3) and miscellaneous (4) is another helpful framework for taking action on behalf of an individual or group
* the five programmatic areas of image projection, integrativeness, intensity, felicity, and relevance provide another useful heuristic for crafting SRV-relevant implementation strategies and approaches (NB: this is one of the skills taught at PASSING workshops

Again, I have essentially just listed out only a few of the ways that SRV can provide concrete guidance for those trying to help societally devalued persons or groups to gain greater access to the ‘good things of life’ via valued social roles. Many other ways could be listed, and much more detail could be provided (and is provided in leadership level SRV and PASSING workshops).

The question seems to me to be one of whether servers and/or organizations are willing to do the hard work of trying to implement these steps, day in and day out, not whether SRV is concrete enough vis-a-vis implementation. The tools and strategies are there if a server or organization wants to pick them up and use them.

Marc Tumeinski

2 Responses

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  1. Written by Jane Sherwin
    on March 25, 2013 at 4:26 am
    · Permalink

    HI Marc,
    Yes I worked with the leadership of a medium sized agency just last week on these matters. All had been to an SRV workshop and many had done PASSING. They understood many of the key concepts, and so we were able to explore how one could use the role goals and the role communicators to shape non-programmatic processes such as planning documents, topics at team meetings and topics within any staff supervisory/professional development meeting. In this way, they are using non-programmatic processes to help embed the thinking so that they become ‘habits of thinking’ and thus ‘habits of practice’.

    • Written by MTumeinski
      on March 25, 2013 at 8:50 am
      · Permalink

      Thanks Jane, I’m glad to hear of an example of this in practice, so to speak. On a lower-level point, I was also glad to hear of an example of thinking about writing (‘planning documents’ in this case) as one helpful tool in SRV application. In my experience, this is one important skill, and which can be practiced in lots of ways, including but not limited to PASSING report writing.

      The idea of a shared practice is an interesting one. I think you and I may have talked or emailed about this previously, but I find the idea of some writers on this idea of practice to be very helpful: the idea of practice as incorporating:
      • shared vision
      • shared dispositions
      • shared actions
      • shared memory
      • shared decision making structures
      • shared imagination

      Thanks again and keep us informed about your efforts in this area!

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