Harm reduction, Motivational Interviewing (MI), trauma-informed care, and other best practices provide tools and approaches that assist us in helping those we serve. While these paradigms increased capacity to meet the ever-changing needs of clients, less attention has been paid to bringing these together in a coherent model designed to improve quality and client outcomes.
Cultural competence honors the multiple strengths that people with different backgrounds bring to an organization. Being culturally competent will help you better serve your clients. It will assist in designing intake and planning processes which honor all cultures, including yours and that of your organization.
Whether it be on the street, in a vehicle, or at a residence, providing practical guidance to protect client's rights and preserve their future. Explore practical tools for applying those rights and best practices.
Human service providers, therapists and many other professionals are mandatory reporters. Issues that must be reported range from concerns about child abuse and neglect, as well as the abuse, neglect, and exploitation of at-risk elders and adults. There are also emergency procedures and mandates that lead to breaking confidentiality to report individuals who express a serious threat to themselves, others, or target entities.
Motivational Interviewing is a collaborative conversation style for strengthening a person's own motivation and commitment to change. It has been successfully used with populations where resistance is prevalent, including adults and adolescents who deal with legal problems, substance abuse and mental health issues. Motivational Interviewing provides a “tool box” of techniques and strategies which will help you to be more effective in working with clients with a wide range of challenges.
Understanding the impact of trauma on the brain and on the process of change. Information regarding stress and trauma creates an understanding of the holistic effects of stress and trauma on individuals and direct service providers.
De-escalation of disruptive behavior has become an essential skill, pertinent to all staff providing human services. Strategies and specific skills for dealing with clients in varying stages of escalation require safe effective techniques.
Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
It is essential to explore and reflect upon how personal values, biases, and assumptions can impact us at an individual, interpersonal, and systematic level regarding the quality of daily interactions to increase your ability to understand, communicate with, and effectively interact with every community.
Motivational Interviewing provides a “tool box” of techniques and strategies which will help you to be more effective in working with clients who bring a wide range of challenges. The development and maintenance of MI skills is a challenge for front-line workers.
Ethics is a complex concept used to address different facets of appropriate professional conduct. Ethics as a discipline defines what is good and bad, incorporating moral duty and obligation, and provides standards of conduct that protect clients, service providers, and agencies.
Interactions with our co-workers can create a positive or negative atmosphere that will be reflected in the quality of our work. It is necessary to implement specific strategies to ensure an inclusive and respectful environment.
It has been said that most employees do not leave their jobs due to dissatisfaction with the population being served, but most often leave due to the dissatisfaction of the agency and coworker relationships. Within most agencies, supervisors are often caught in the middle management "jam" between upper management and the front line. Creating a healthy productive workforce requires respect, cooperation and healthy communication from every team member. Those new and those well seasoned to supervision, either as a supervisor or a supervisee, can benefit from the varied perspectives of an improved relationship.
Team and group dynamics can foster many elements that have the effect of drawing people into a culture of growth and stability, or not. Learning and getting to know your power, influences, and leadership style will increase the effectiveness, growth, and stability of a team.
Learning more and developing resources and partners to address co-occurring disorders can help you provide more efficient, targeted services and referrals, and help your participants feel better. "Co-occurring Disorder" is descriptive of people who struggle with both a mental health disorder and a substance use disorder. It is often difficult to tease out a co-occurring disorder, especially when the person is in acute phases of instability.
Anxiety & Depression
Life is filled with life stressors that are biological, psychological, emotional and relational. How we respond to those stressors is driven by genetic, biological and environmental factors. There are evidence-based treatments and strategies available to help a person struggling with depression and anxiety including medications and psychotherapeutic interventions.
Bipolar disorder used to be known as manic depressive disorder. It is easy for the disorder to make affected individuals feel out of sync with their moods; making friends with the disorder and steering towards healthy choices helps clients manage symptoms, minimize mood cycling, and feel more in control.
Service providers working with people who have cognitive impairments and cognitive decline may have questions about their role in supporting their clients to live as independently and safely as possible. Learning the difference between cognitive impairment and cognitive decline, and knowing how to "screen" for cognitive issues will assist in managing clients experiencing these issues.
Grief and Loss
Bereavement - sustaining the loss of someone or something - is a fact of life, and how we grieve those losses matters. Unpacking the physical, cognitive, emotional, behavioral, social, cultural and spiritual dimensions of bereavement helps when dealing with someone experiencing a loss.
Intimate Partner Violence
Intimate Partner Violence is a silent epidemic and statistics suggest that it is more prevalent year after year. Working with individuals who currently are experiencing or have experienced intimate partner violence carries with it its own unique set of challenges. When a victim is experiencing Intimate Partner Violence or recovering from their experience they are in a vulnerable state and critical decision-making point in their life.
Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is much like addiction - it is stigmatized as a personal choice of behavior. Many believe NPD to be self-serving and within a person's ability to control; a person with NPD often appears to be self-centered and lacking in empathy, while having a great need for attention and recognition.
Personality disorders are typically a long-standing impairment of mental health, identified by maladaptive thoughts and behaviors that arise during adolescence or early adulthood. These emotional disturbances can cause significant and pervasive distress to the whole person if left untreated.
PTSD & TBI
Anyone can get PTSD at any age. This includes war veterans and survivors of physical and sexual assault, abuse, accidents, disasters, and many other serious events. Traumatic Brain Injury will almost certainly result in PTSD. But not everyone with PTSD has been through a dangerous event. Some people get PTSD after a friend or family member experiences danger or is harmed. The sudden, unexpected death of a loved one can also cause PTSD.
It's important for professionals to be able to interact with sex offenders in providing proper, appropriate care, with professionalism, standards, and ethics.
Suicidal ideation is not discriminatory; anyone regardless of age, gender, cultural affiliation, or familial context can struggle with suicidal thoughts. It is important, as professionals and allied service providers, to take any suicidal ideation seriously.
Calming the clutter in your life and making space for what truly matters to you helps to discover ways to organize your office so you can get the most done every day.
Emotional intelligence (EI) or emotional quotient (EQ) is the capacity of individuals to recognize their own, and other people's emotions, to discriminate between different feelings and label them appropriately, and to use emotional information to guide thinking and behavior.
While healthy boundaries can be subjective and consist of many different variables, defining healthy boundaries is imperative to the work we do, and allows us to gain a better sense of agency over one’s feelings, energy, and personal space. Setting healthy boundaries is a learned skill that, if done on a consistent basis, will allow us to form stronger relationships with our co-workers, clients and loved ones.
Relationships are a fundamental part of our lives as human beings. Often the focus in professional settings is recognizing and challenging unhealthy relationships. However, understanding the fundamental components of healthy relationships is key to building the client's skills to allow them to foster healthy relationships.
Relaxation & Introspection
We all know that too much stress is a bad thing and most of us would like to manage it better, but when we step into the chaos of our daily lives, the quiet voice of serenity in our heads gets a lot harder to listen to. Brain research shows how stress impacts a wide range of cognitive functions. Our clients have additional challenges that make it difficult for them to implement the changes we are helping them to develop. In addition, working with people in need can lead to secondary trauma and burnout.
When working with people who are in the midst of personal crisis, trauma, or emotional distress, it is common to eventually exhaust yourself from vicarious trauma (aka secondary trauma or compassion fatigue).
In this climate, the goal of building a powerful civic voice for disenfranchised constituencies and the nonprofits that support them takes on urgent importance. Nonprofit direct service providers can have a crucial voice in public policy campaigns, in particular on anti-poverty and state budget reform issues.
Human Trafficking is a global issue, but lately it has become a local issue that we are hearing more and more about, this heinous crime is happening in virtually every community in the United States. Described as a “Crime that hides in plain sight,” Sex Trafficking is difficult to detect and even more so, understand. These are topics that are hard to hear, grasp and for most individuals to even believe or accept to be happening so close to home.
Immigrants & Refugees
In the current political landscape, it is more important than ever to make sure that we, as service providers, are re-evaluating the needs of our immigrant and refugee communities and are able to pivot to make sure that we are able to deliver the best level of services to our community members. With more fear, risk, and changes given the constant changes in rules, regulations, and lived experiences, the need to gather and disseminate information, update education for our staff, and evaluate what services we provide is critical.
Human Services Network of Colorado
PO Box 24788
Denver, CO 80224