June 22-23, 2016 ‘History of human services’ workshop in Massachusetts

The Massachusetts Alliance for Personal Action & The SRV Implementation Project

are pleased to announce a two-day workshop entitled

The History of Human Services

Tracing the Origins of Some of Our Major Contemporary Service Patterns, & Some Universal Lessons for Service That Can Be Learned from This History


Dates & Times: Wednesday, June 22 to Thursday, June 23, 2016; 9 am to 4:30 pm each day


Place: University of Massachusetts Auditorium, 333 South Street, Shrewsbury, Massachusetts 01545


Description of the presentation: History is known to be one of the best teachers, and yet there is very little teaching of the history of human services. This presentation addresses that gap. Several hundred slides document the evolution of major human service concepts and practices from ancient, informal, voluntary, unpaid personal helping forms to the largely commercialized patterns that we see today. 

There are two parts to the presentation, and each takes up a full day. In both parts, paintings, and illustrations of the architecture of human service settings, are used to show the service patterns and assumptions in a given historical period. The presentation as a whole demonstrates how the following current human service ideas evolved:

• that bigger services are better services

• that afflicted people are a menace to society

• that segregated services are preferable to integrated ones

• that service recipients should be thankful for what they receive from service workers


The presentation compellingly shows that human services are full of practices that are now carried on unconsciously, but are actually vestiges or distortions of practices that were originally instituted with high consciousness and very good and strong rationales.

The first part of the presentation takes all of the first day. It sketches important antecedents of current human service patterns, from pre-history and the pre-Christian era, and shows that the history of human services of all types is inextricably intertwined with the history of care for the poor, and of residential services. This part shows how the nurses’ station evolved, and how specialized institutions–such as tuberculosis sanitoria, prisons, and “mental hospitals”–grew out of the multi‑purpose institutions and workhouses for all kinds of afflicted and poor people of the 1600‑1700s, which in turn grew out of small, early Christian hospices. This first part traces the evolution of human services into the late Medieval period, and shows the impact of the collapse of medieval services preceding and during the Protestant Reformation. The negative effects on services of political and economic changes during the period of absolutism in the 16‑17th centuries is also explained. The first part concludes by showing how certain service designs and practices are now the opposite of how they started out. 

The second part of the presentation takes all of the second day. It elaborates on one particular theme that was raised in the first part, namely the interpretation of service recipients as menaces, and the structuring of services on that assumption. It shows how this “menacizing” eventually displaced the remnants of earlier, more benign perceptions and interpretations of recipients, and how it has come down to services of the present.     

There is a break for lunch and short breaks in mid‑morning and mid‑afternoon of each day. At several points during each day, and at each day’s end, there will be time for questions and discussion.


Format of the presentation: The presentation is conducted in lecture style, and is very visual. Both pictures and text projetions are shown, using current and older technologies. As noted above, lectures are interspersed with periods for discussion.


Who should attend: The presentation is relevant to everyone involved in any way in any kind of human service to any societally devalued group in any service field, from those on the direct clinical level to those at the highest planning levels, whether they are professionals or non‑professionals, advocates, volunteers, administrators, legislators, theorists, analysts, architects and designers. Anyone who attends the presentation can gain a better understanding of current service challenges, some of the dangers that lurk everywhere, and what sorts of service patterns to strive for. 

Many people who have attended this presentation in the past have remarked that it fundamentally altered their perception of many human service patterns, and that it helped them to understand, often for the first time, some of the things they had witnessed or were part of, or had contributed to. People who have been through PASS and PASSING training will also find that parts of the presentation speak to the concept of culturally valued analogues, and of “model coherency” of human services.


Tuition: $180.00, which includes refreshments and lunch. Agencies that send 5 or more people get a 20% discount. We will not turn people away for lack of funds; if you require tuition assistance, please email register@srvip.org.


Registration & payment: Payment can be made via check or credit card.


• Register online at https://srvip.wufoo.com/forms/registration-form/


• Or send your name, address, phone number & email address, plus tuition check made out to Shriver Clinical Services (federal id # 04 317 5325), to: Workshop registrar; 74 Elm Street; Worcester, MA 01609. Email register@srvip.org.


Upon registration, registrants will receive further information, including about accommodations.

Posted on January 13, 2016 at 9:18 am by MTumeinski · Permalink
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