How Growing Well works – Staff Team Discussion October 2016

In early October the GW staff team met to reflect on how our work meets our social aims, namely developing emotional resilience, improving physical health and developing life skills.  Beren had previously written an article in the Transactional Analyst (Vol5 Issue3 Summer 2015) where he identified the environment in which GW works.  He proposed that this environment is one in which:

  1. Everyone is ok
  2. Change is possible no matter how poorly someone is
  3. Everyone is equally important
  4. Staff and participants will share decision making
  5. There is a ready supply of positive strokes
  6. ‘Game playing and drama’ will be confronted within a system of regular supervision for participants and staff

As a team, we discussed these elements; did we all agree that these were valid? What are humanistic ways of being? Are we thinking about what we’re doing? Are we engaging in reflective practice?

  1. We discussed the OK Corral (a TA concept). Transactional Analysis is a theory of human development. It aspires to describe what makes us who we are. The OK Corral is all about an individual’s perception of a situation.  We agreed to adopt the notion, ‘Everyone is ok’ and that noticing a psychological process is going on through the use of the OK Corral model.
  2. All staff agreed that change is possible no matter how poorly someone is and felt we should adopt this as a value/ descriptor of GW.
  1. All staff agreed that everyone is equally important and agreed the adoption of this value/ descriptor of GW. Discussion included: everyone has worth and value; everyone has the right to be heard; everyone has the right to have a voice; a person-centred approach is essential to meet this need and attending to people’s differing needs supports this notion.
  2. Staff and participants sharing decision making needs consideration. Future topics to discuss include: Categories (strategic / business / day-to-day decision making); How to make good communication links; how do we make decisions as staff, volunteers, in conjunction with each other? Who makes what decisions on what levels? … et al.
  1. It was discussed that positive strokes are a unit of recognition and that they are good to give and good to receive. Both conditional and unconditional statements can be positive strokes. All staff agreed that it was good to give constructive feedback and be mindful of consequences.

Conditional Stroke:

A conditional stroke is received for something you did rather than for who you are. Suppose you have just spent a considerable length of time completing a detailed report and your boss says, “Great job.” You have just been given a stroke but it was in exchange for something you did; it was conditional. (related to your ROLE)

Unconditional Stroke:

If someone tells you that you’re a nice person, an un-conditional stroke has been given for who you are instead of in exchange for what you did. Most people place a higher value on, and have a greater need for, unconditional strokes. (related to your IDENTITY)

 Psychological Stroke Counter – make a goal to increase the number of strokes that you give to people.

  1. ‘Game playing and drama’ are TA concepts that relate to the way an individual respond to a situation. This response usually adopts a childhood response in the form of: I’ve always done this; a destructive pattern that perpetuates; playing out the same scenario repeatedly; repetitious way of responding. Discussions took place around the perceived loaded terminology ‘game playing and drama’ – whilst in TA they are neutral a member of staff highlighted concerns regarding how there is room for misinterpretation if this terminology was used for GW.

The team also discussed reflection – a personal process that staff engage in, which aids the development of: confidence, emotional resilience and effective working with volunteers. We talked about the importance of building in a reflective process for all staff members; people’s opinions really matter; different types of reflection (group supervision, role supervision, line-manager supervision, volunteer supervision and personal reflection).