It is nice to have someone who actually cares
An uplifting story
Jan 28, 2024
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Introduced by Guy Shennan
Listening to this discussion about D-BIT’s drop in service was a joy. My route into solution-focused practice was via social work, and I have always felt that this approach offers a way for social workers to practise that adheres to our values. This is by no means easy in the contemporary social care context. This is borne out here by the D-BIT workers and two of the young people who made use of their drop in.
One of my social work heroes, Bill Jordan, believed that, at their best, social workers could be characterised by their willingness ‘to forsake the formality of their roles, and to ‘mix’ it with ordinary people in their ‘natural’ settings, using the informality of their methods as a means of negotiating solutions to problems rather than imposing them’. One of the ways that this willingness was evident here was where the conversations with young people took place. In effect, Luke, Steve and the other D-BIT workers were dropping in on where the young people were, by situating the service in their supported accommodation. As Zak said: “Nice having someone coming to you - a place where you are comfy - where you feel safe.”
It was also fascinating hearing the young people explain the conversations that took place. They were different from counselling, like talking to your mates, or somewhere in between. I was particularly struck by T.J. describing them as conversations, not interrogations, with the workers not finding things out about people and writing them down. He appreciated talking to someone who wanted to help but not be too involved.
This is a delicate balance to strike, and T.J’s testimony suggests the D-BIT workers do it beautifully, which to anyone who has been following their work in recent years should come as no surprise.