Empower To equip or supply with an ability; enable
AIRS, STANDARD 1, QUALITY INDICATOR 1 Explore the inquirers own resources (e.g., friends, family, faith-based community) Suggest ways the inquirer can advocate for him or herself, when appropriate (empowerment)
Empowerment in action focuses on Participation Partnerships Education Critical reflection/consciousness Transformation of perspectives Competence Building Source: McDonough, K.E. & Davit, J.K., (2011) It Takes a Village: Community Practice, Social Work, and Aging-in-Place, Journal of Gerontological Social Work, 54, 528-541
TOOLS FOR EMPOWERMENT Supportive listening Setting boundaries Help client to develop Action Plan Options, skills, and resources theyve used before Ask the 2nd question! Clarify expectations
TOOLS FOR EMPOWERMENT (continued) Reality check (your rainy day is here) Clarify needs, prioritize needs Demystifying the process Identify strengths Treat client as an equal Follow-Up Working as a team
Some common difficult caller archetypes Empower this!
Image taken from The Flame Warriors by Mike Reed http://redwing.hutman.net/~mreed/ Chicken Little Chicken Little is the caller who calls in crisis mode because of something they may have seen on the news, or heard from friends. The threat is largely due to hysteria, but the actual threat to the client may be minimal. Examples of Chicken Little calls include H1N1 callers, Bed Bugs, Health Care Reform, Snow Storms, etc.
Image taken from The Flame Warriors by Mike Reed http://redwing.hutman.net/~mreed/ Hard head A genealogical cousin of the Yeah-but, this caller has difficulty understanding how the options that you are presenting are going to help his situation. No matter how you rephrase options, he doesnt seem to grasp the usefulness. For example, a caller is having problems with the high cost of prescriptions and likes to go to his local pharmacy. You explain that many times ordering thru the mail with a 90 day supply is cheaper. The caller admits that his physician has told him that but we still wants to support his local pharmacy and wants another way to get his meds subsidized. When you explain that there are no other options using his insurance plan, he hangs up saying, youre no help at all!
Image taken from The Flame Warriors by Mike Reed http://redwing.hutman.net/~mreed/ The Victim The Victim is a caller who is especially needy and sees themselves as the chronic target of everything. They are especially prone to dependency and either through simple lack of knowledge or the desire to have things done for them, they will be especially difficult to empower. This caller may not be able to stop crying long enough to tell you their needs. It is important to assess whether the victimhood is acute or chronic, and to not dismiss what may be legitimate bad circumstances.
Image taken from The Flame Warriors by Mike Reed http://redwing.hutman.net/~mreed/ The Cry-Baby The Cry-Baby is the more malevolent cousin of The Victim. Like The Victim, they may use tears, but they are far more manipulative. Over their lifetime, they have perfected learned helplessness and are generally capable of doing many things independently. However, they prefer that someone else do it for them. Of all the archetypes, they may well be the most challenging for empowerment.
Image taken from The Flame Warriors by Mike Reed http://redwing.hutman.net/~mreed/ Mass Confusion Mass Confusion is the caller that never clarifies exactly why theyre calling. Chances of them following up on any referrals (or even fully receiving referrals) are minimal. They can range from largely silent to perseverant in speech. Often, this type of caller may have a mental illness or age-related illness that limits their organizational skills. The fact that they were able to call you is actually a major victory for them.
Image taken from The Flame Warriors by Mike Reed http://redwing.hutman.net/~mreed/ Yeah, But…. The Yeah, But is the caller that calls with a problem for you to solve, but shoots down every solution the I & R Professional says, usually responding with Yeah, but…. and then giving reasons why that solution cant possibly work for them. They enjoy testing your knowledge and either already know the solution to their issue or know there is no solution.
The Hostage Taker The picture above is you. The Hostage Taker is the caller, who has something to say and refuses to let you go until they say what they have to say. Theyre not calling for a particular solution, because they usually already know the answer. They just have to blow off some steam, and unfortunately, youre their next victim.
Role Play What went right? What would you do differently? What specific empowerment techniques did you see in action?
To Summarize… Accept that you may not be able to help every client, and thats okay. Dont be afraid to utilize different strategies. Theres no universal empowerment tool
Thank you from the Land of Pleasant Living! Barbara Buchleitner, CIRS-A, 410-222-4257 x226, agbuch00@aacounty. org Christopher Moore, CIRS-A, 410-222-4257 x225, agmoor89@aacounty. org agmoor89@aacounty. org