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article assumes you're familiar with six or seven prevention
If you're not, study these
introductory pages to
get the most from reading this.
This article is one of a series on how concerned lay people and
human-service professionals can help to
of the lethal [wounds + unawareness]
This article builds on the premise that once
like you are aware of the causes and effects of the [wounds + unawareness]
cycle, they have a moral obligation
to alert other people to them, and work to prevent family stress and
divorce. The first two pages of this series propose three specific
steps human-service professionals can take to alert family members,
co-workers, clients or patients, and selected target groups of other people
on these causes, effects, and cycle-prevention options.
You can use the
in this nonprofit Web site to...
any personal wounds and nourish your own family relationships;
improve the effectiveness of your present
help break the lethal [wounds + unawareness]
spreading in our society, and to...
empower people to prevent personal and family stress and divorce.
This article and series focuses on the last
two goals. These Lesson-1 resources
focus on the first goal. As you read in the introduction, you have a wide
range of options to tailor and accomplish these goals if you're motivated to
This article offers perspective on (a) how the cycle may affect you and the
people you work with and for, and (b) summarizes cycle-prevention options in
your profession. You'll get the most
from reading this if you study this
and read or review this four-page
introduction first. Pause, breathe, and say out loud why you're
reading this article. What do you
You, your co-workers, and the people you serve have a mix of daily and
long-term needs. "To nurture" means "to fill (someone's) needs." Your
workplace or school environment can be rated as being somewhere between
"very low nurturance" (filling few needs) and "very high nurturance." A
general indicator of your environment's nurturance level is the frequency
and mix of "stress" and "satisfaction" you feel, day by day.
clinical experience since 1979 suggests that (a) many
unconsciously choose and/or create stressful, low-nurturance
environments. These significantly
reduce the effectiveness of the professional services they provide. This
article (a) identifies key factors that contribute to a workplace's
nurturance level, and suggests (b) ways to assess
your workplace is, and (c) action-options if the level is too low.
The suggestions in this article are based on a set of premises. Take your
time, and see how you feel about these ideas, one at a time:
Your "work environment" is a
of interactive components like these...
people - (a) the people you serve, and (b) your co-workers,
managers, office staff, executives, consultants, and policy makers (board members);
employer's, unions', and professional-associations'
attitudes, priorities, and policies;
goals and roles (job
relevant state and federal
laws and legislators;
financial assets and debts,
and a system for managing these; and...
physical workplace setting.
Each person in your workplace system
fluctuating daily and long-term psychological, physical, and financial
- discomforts. Most people - probably including you - focus on
discomforts, and are unaware of their underlying
often means the primary needs go unfilled - causing moderate to major
"stress" and "dissatisfaction."
Most people aren't trained or motivated to
assess how their domestic and
workplace nurturance-levels affect the
quality, productivity, and longevity of their lives. This can change if they choose
from any false-self
and toxic attitudes and beliefs.
Workplace "stress" is the aggregate sum of
your dynamic unmet primary needs. You;
The nurturance-level of your work
environment is a reliable indicator of (a) who guides your
and (b) the nurturance-levels of your early childhood and current
If a false self rules you now, those
protective subselves will ignore, discount, or disagree with these
your workplace system is in a constant
state of change, as the elements in and and environment around the
system ceaselessly change. This guarantees that your workplace's
nurturance level - and your daily and over-all satisfaction - will
You are responsible for (a) choosing your
occupation and work
environment, (b) assessing how your workplace affects your
and professional effectiveness, and
for needed improvements.
You always have the option of asserting for
constructive change in your workplace. The alternative is to numb out
and endure, or feel like a powerless victim. Your governing subselves
determine which of these options you choose every day.
Pause, breathe, and notice your
Assess Your Environment's Nurturance Level
what follows, informed means
having basic knowledge about relationships +
healthy grieving + effective
stepfamilies. For clinicians, supervisors, and case managers,
informed also means having most or all of these
four knowledge requisites.
Option: use this as a checklist to evaluate
your or another person's environment. Key environmental requisites for
organizations (O) and private practitioners (PP) include...
high-nurturance organization managed
administrators and policy makers
compatible, Self-guided funders and accreditation
compatible, effective supervisors,
co-workers, and consultants
||4) formal and informal
client assessment and
that are compatible with this
policy is that clients not be limited in the number of sessions they
can have. Another is a sliding-scale fee policy that allows
needy client families to get the help they need.
||5) a stable
professional support or consultation group - ideally with
informed colleagues who also work with
access to an effective in-service education program and related materials,
ideally including sessions for uninformed colleagues in other
an inventory of
practical educational handouts for clients and uninformed
professionals (e.g. selected articles in this Web site), including a current resource list like
||8) local school,
PTO/PTA, hospital outpatient, media, and justice systems that
are receptive to and compatible with this clinical model.
local referrals: clergy, family-law
attorneys, mediators, law-enforcement and medical professionals,
school staffs, and financial advisors.
||10) access to informed,
effective support groups for (a)
co-parents, (b) children of divorce and
stepkids, (c) grievers, and (d) wound-recoverers.
||11) membership in one
or more professional societies or associations whose policies
and resources promote or are compatible with this
human-service graduate-school curricula and department heads
and boards who are (a) compatible with and (b) open to evaluating
and including this model
||13) State and federal
laws which promote (a)
prevention, and (c)
informed human-service licensure and accreditation.
(add your own environmental requisites)
Pause and reflect - can you imagine working in an environment with most or
all of these elements? Does it seem likely that working without
many of these elements would significantly lower the odds of effective
outcomes with typical divorced and/or re/married client families? For
context, scan this article for organizational
This table may seem naive, idealistic, and/or discouraging. If
greater Chicago is fairly similar to most U.S. communities, I suspect typical novice and veteran mental-health professionals (like
you?) would have well under half of these environmental requisites for
effective long-term service. Further, local human-service policy-makers,
administrators, and funders wouldn't know why they needed these
requisites. If this is true in your locale,
consider these key implications:
typical divorced-family and
stepfamily clients in your area probably won't get the optimal courtship, re/marital, and co-parental help they need to promote
typical professionals and clients
will have to accept moderately-effective outcomes. This
promotes word-of-mouth exchanges of "Did your (family)
therapy help, long term? Not much."
every day, professionals who are aware of the
above have the option of devoting some efforts to improving their
work environment and/or preventing
(re)divorce locally or nationally. Since average professionals
have little discretionary time, self-motivated work to improve their work
environment is probably rare - specially if not sanctioned by
policy makers and administrators.
typical therapists will have to
educate themselves and their co-workers on this model and generate their
own professional support and resources, until they're able to interest or
convince organizational leaders on its validity and merit.
of these environmental requisites must await the ponderous cycle of theory
formation (e.g. this web site) > research motivation and funding >
methodical research > journal publishing > critical research evaluation
and replication > academic discussion and acceptance > curricula
integration > new graduates overcoming "resistance" from veteran
(uninformed, wounded) human-service professionals > model integration into
professional and lay awareness. For perspective, the professional paradigm
shift from Freudian psychoanalysis to wholistic family-systems therapy has
been evolving for ~ 50 years.
Reality Check: Recall why you began reading this
article. Did you get what you needed? What, if anything, has changed for
you so far? Option: clarify your position now by answering the following: I
A(gree), I D(isagree), or "?" = "I'm ambivalent or
unsure about this."
A mental-health professional's work environment
significantly affects her or his outcomes with clients. (A D
I have enough of the special
knowledge requisites about
now to judge the validity of the
environmental requisites above. (A D ?)
Family-support professionals need special environmental resources and
supports to provide effective service to typical divorced-family and
stepfamily clients. (A D ?)
I feel this
summary of environmental requisites is accurate and realistic
enough, or _ I'm clear on how to improve the outline for my
needs. (A D ?)
I need to
study this clinical model more before I can evaluate the environmental
requisites proposed above. (A D ?)
my present work environment
consistently supports effective long-term service outcomes with my
clients, co-workers, and/or employees. (A D ?)
I'm motivated now to discuss these ideas with one or more colleagues. (A
I'm motivated to translate these ideas into specific proposals to improve
someone's work environment now. (A D ?)
is responding to these items. (A D ?)
studying the last of
for effective clinical service to divorcing-family and stepfamily clients -
special resources for clients and clinicians.
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