The next step
Where are we heading with this youth? What are we trying to achieve? What is the aim of our intervention with this family? Young people and their families often find themselves far from the beaten track as they experience misfortune or neglect, as they struggle with loss, poverty, unemployment, addictions, or become involved in crime or violence. We usually meet them down one of the blind alleys where they find themselves, and its not always immediately clear where the next step should be.
We are easily seduced by the obvious solutions to the "presenting" problems. This person is scared so we offer protection, hungry so we feed them, short of rent so we find money, homeless so we accommodate them ... These solutions may or may not be the immediate priorities, depending on a dozen different variables, but it is important that good choices are made as to the next step ...
A helpful start is to take a compass bearing on the general direction we should take, the final destination we are aiming for. And most people would agree that the ultimate aim of our work is that people should get back on to the high road of development towards maturity, independence, self-determination, autonomy, adequate function.
So we have a guide. With each intervention we can ask ourselves "Is what I am doing now building maturity or is it feeding into immaturity? Is my action moving the person towards independence or is it creating dependency? Is this intervention encouraging self-determination or is it expecting only compliance with our ideas? Is our client resuming a degree of function in his or her own right or are we still doing too much of the work, too much of the decision-making and motivation?
Whatever our intervention, it must lead onward. Perhaps there will be some undoing and repair work to do, some retracing of steps and finding of new choice points. But then we will move on, to another stretch of the road towards the ultimate goal ...
The next step