Have you ever thought about what it might be like to be a person in your program? Especially if they are in some type of service setting 24 hours a day. Can you imagine being constantly scrutinized and corrected for everything you do that someone else doesn’t like or deems inappropriate or every time you turn around being asked to complete a task or work on a goal? How likely would you be to have increased levels or frustration or anger?
In the Mandt System, we discuss the importance of empathy as we seek to effectively communicate with others and help to manage conflict situations. One thing we should be continuously doing is asking the question about what being in our program is like for person served. It’s so easy as caretakers to focus on what we are doing and the reasons we do it without taking into consideration how our actions are perceived by the people we are supporting. When we fail to do this, not only do we run the risk of setting up conflict situations, but we also run the risk of causing misery for the people in our care.
I’m reminded of Haim Ginott’s quote in chapter one where he says, “I possess tremendous power to make someone’s life miserable or joyous.” When we take the time and effort to understand the other person’s point of view, we can be better informed on how to support people in a way that causes more joy than misery.
Doug ZehrVogt – Mandt System Faculty