“What I need isn’t just to come off drugs, quit alcohol and to get a job. I need to feel I’m worth something, then I might want to do those things.”
People told us about the focus of the services they received. They felt that the aim was to find out what the problems were and then set about trying to fix them without understanding that they weren’t ready to give up the things that were helping them cope. Many used drugs, alcohol or self-harming as ways to cope with traumatic experience. Some did so to keep in with their friends, forget about their situation or just get through the night. Without finding more positive things to replace them, they needed something to help them get through.
Often, it is difficult for people to move on positively from a place of shame, feelings of failure or where their experiences aren’t validated by someone significant in their lives.
We took action
We researched further and found that this is common. There was a body of evidence that identified that, by maintaining people in their area of weakness (their needs), minimal impact would be achieved. By harnessing people’s strengths, evidencing their previous successes, exploring what they can do and validating their experiences, people build on their own abilities and move toward more positive, sustainable life changes. Training staff on how people use coping strategies is a key part of this.