Image: Luis Galvez
I read something by @themindfuldietitian last week that stopped me. Promptly saved it to digest later (pun intended!). And I've been thinking about it ever since.
Although I'm not a dietitian, her words were so transferrable to the social work world.
She was talking about trauma-sensitive care. And I totally love this term. Because it's true - you're never going to know someone's history unless it comes up. But the prevalence of trauma in our society means that it's probably pretty likely that they are carrying some stuff.
She also talked about language. This is absolutely what I think about almost constantly too. Language matters. More than we realise.
We actually compartmentalise clients - perhaps unintentionally. Everything is separated into neat little piles. It seems pretty logical from a practitioner perspective. But that's not what's actually happening underneath. And of course not. It's not how humans work.
Because of this, language needs to be supportive and collaborative. We need to acknowledge that not everyone is comfortable in a treatment setting. We can't assume that everyone feels safe in extremely vulnerable positions. Think seeing your GP, meeting with your midwife or booking with a mental health professional.
Did any of you hear these words:
We're going to induce/give you x drug/prep you for a caesarean now.
What about these instead:
I'm wondering what you're thinking about this treatment plan?
Yes, we have some urgent situations in mental health and maternity care. But the majority of parents feel a sense of submission in these circumstances. So we need to be careful how we use this power.
See how these words don't put people in a box or back them into the corner?
That is SO important. Because when your fight or flight is already in that "on" position, having someone talk at you rather than with you is super duper scary and disarming.
You're not going to get informed consent and your client is not going to feel supported.
But this goes for family and friends too!
Not just to respond. And pipe in with our own assumptions and agendas.
Does this resonate with you? I'd love to hear what you think in the comments below. Or join the conversation via Instagram or Facebook.
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