May 20, 2015

Redesigning Case Management Training

Supporting Success
The Pyramid of Personal Support
What might happen if case managers delivered person-centered, strength-based, and trauma-informed service to people enrolled in service systems?

People find themselves enrolled in service systems because they have experienced some sort of trouble or difficulty in life. The stress of that trouble carries some traumatic impact. If bad behavior was involved, the person may have experienced additional penalties with additional impact, and the person’s family circumstances may be disrupted. From a human development perspective, the effect of all this is to knock a person off their developmental path or at least slow the velocity of a person’s progress. People who find themselves enrolled in service systems need a boost to get back on course.

Unfortunately, most service systems have organized themselves around problem-solving, not person-boosting. This is a historical social remnant, a consequence of history. Less than one hundred years ago, it was common for people with behavioral health issues to be treated as less than fully human. The various service professions were complicit in this. Members of the so-called “helping professions” facilitated atrocities, delivered inhumane care, enforced social control measures, and heaped on social consequences. Enlightened problem-solving fixes some of this, but much more progress is possible. Even today, much of the literature of care is still written in dehumanizing terms.

Kentucky Certified Peer Specialist Chad Ponchot and I have redesigned case management training in an attempt to rid the system of "one size fits all" service.  Learn more, and sign up here. Twelve hours of training are spread across two days. The first day is experiential. Participants model relationship-building, communication strategies, strength-finding, and resource development. The second day applies that experience to issues encountered by the service population. Kentucky has approved our work -- we are rolling out our model this summer.

Supporting Success delivers person-boosting from start to finish, with rigor – but this is not some ditzy New Age approach. We see the case manager’s job as technical assistance that supports healthy self-determination.

Case managers can be among the best person-boosters within service systems. They operate closest to a person’s home. They serve as observers for systems and coaches for their clients. The strengths, aspirations, talents, and capacities of the person receiving the assistance are paramount, but subject to the ordinary constraints of life on Earth. Some choices are healthier than others. Some courses of action have more risk than others. Relationships have benefits, but are not without conflict and drama – including professional relationships. And within service systems, professionals may have more technical knowledge, but the client is still the boss.

If you are interested in Supporting Success, visit

Sign up for the training at this link.  

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