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It takes a team

Pathways utilizes hospitality as its philosophy, an element of our foundation. This is an indication that we treat our clients with respect and dignity.

Many of the women and families we serve come into our program in “crisis mode,” reluctant to work with the guidelines as well as case-management activities. It becomes more difficult for both client and employee to avoid the frustration that may develop. From frustration employee and client sometimes participate in a power struggle; as the client “pulls” to be independent, the employee “pushes” them to comply. This is true despite the fact that the client and the employee often want the same outcome, for the client to move out successfully into housing.

The social work staff uses an effective case-management tool that is “task driven.” This is a strategy that assists clients with goal attainment activities. However, the relationship aspect for all employees is expected to be client focused. Interactions with clients, and judgments made concerning clients, are decided based on what is best for the client as opposed to the employee’s needs.

The client-focused method helps a great deal in building relationships between employees and clients. Relationship building is a major piece in being able to gain the trust and cooperation of clients.

A team approach is most useful in making all of this work. The impact of each employee under this system is valued. The employee is expected to participate in carrying out her duties and responsibilities in order to maintain smooth operation. Pathways employees take pride in their effort to provide a framework of collaboration and support of each other in order to provide consistent and responsible services to clients. What we do is either directly or indirectly based on client support and need.

Our philosophy of hospitality is greatly enhanced with use of both the client focused and team approach. An enhanced philosophy is not only an indication that employees treat clients with dignity and respect, but that clients experience dignity and respect while in our program.

Carolyn Johnson is a social worker at Pathways.