You play a number of vital roles during the change process, but you cannot play those roles forever. Engaging the community provides an additional source of reinforcement, support, and role modeling - case managers don't have to do it alone.
As a community corrections practitioner, you work diligently to replace offenders’ antisocial influences with a more prosocial network of friends, colleagues and associates. You discuss at length the importance of the environment and having good role models. While the client is in your care, you will support, provide empathy, give advice, inspire and prepare the client for their new lifestyle after supervision. It will take an army of people to replace the roles that you play. Literally. That army is the community. It is pastors and employers, mothers and coaches, colleagues and therapists. The work you do cannot be replaced by the work of one or even two people.
In the corporate world, succession planning is a big deal. Who will take over as the CEO when this one retires? Who will be the next Director of Sales? Who is being groomed to run the show? You cannot wait until the death or the retirement of a vital person to begin thinking about their replacement or at least the roles that he or she played. Similarly, who are you grooming to take over the roles you are playing in the client’s life? Who will ask the hard questions? Who will celebrate their successes? Who will provide timely advice? Who will be there for the “high five” for that promotion at work? What will replace the therapeutic environment that has enveloped the client? Sadly, if there is not a solid plan in place, the old playground and playmates will certainly welcome the return of a long lost friend.
There are few concepts all psychologists agree on. They call these the “happy-path” concepts, which include relationship power, environment as influencer and role modeling. The beauty of engaging the community in your efforts to help the client is that it provides all three: relationship, environment and role modeling. Grooming others to play your roles begins at the beginning of treatment, not towards the end.
The community will need your assistance too. Welcoming back offenders with open arms is not the community’s default position. Environment is the single greatest influencer of behavior; role modeling is the second. When people feel connected to a given group of people, they adhere to the norms of that group.
We've developed our software to help you engage each client’s natural communities and build a digital footprint of their interactions with your client during their supervision. Click on our software icons below to see how we've implemented the community principle in our software.