Professional & cultural exchange program for social workers and youth workers

Council of International Fellowship-United States of America

The lecturer, Dominique Depenne (PhD in political sociology), describes the importance of keeping ones “humanity”, especially when each of us in the field are oftentimes barraged with formal rules, regulations and other ‘mandated’ requirements. Thus, in the age of electronic mechanisms and formats, limited resources and overwhelming numbers, we can lose our way as to what may truly help this person. We can forget to see them and their situation; to ask with compassion: what do they need, when and how might we provide this service?

integrity and connection

by Nancy Sprynczynatyk, LPC-MH
CIF USA-Vice President

Where can you find your CIF countryman? In another country, of course!

At least this is a truth for the USA CIF membership branch that I pleasantly stumbled upon. (I had the luxury of many first face-to-face visits with several of my USA folks at the CIF conference in St. Malo, France this summer.)  This year’s international CIF conference in St. Malo, France certainly provided this benefit as well as a multitude of other gems.
Besides meeting, greeting, and reuniting our CIF ties, a particular lecture stands out as equally valuable. Specifically, on day two (Tuesday, July 2), the lecture titled: “Ethics of Accompaniment and Criticism of Technicism” continues to resonate with me. The main thread that was discussed, and also woven into other pieces of the conference, is telling of its significance.

Our compassion and creativity can be desensitized and diminished easily in these fields of helping and times of ‘requirements’ and ‘technology’.  The outcome is too often sticking to the formal rules, regulations and other ‘mandated’ requirements without providing to the humanity at hand. In the book, Trauma Stewardship by Laura van Dernoot Lipsky she shares a story from Deadria Boyland of Seattle, Washington, who serves as a manager at a domestic violence center.  Deadria says it perfectly:

It matters because people who are in need are coming to us for services, and we have to be ready for whatever they’re about to say, and I think the healthier we are the better we are, the better we are able to provide supportive services. If a woman comes in and says, “I’ve been held in my house and I wasn’t able to leave, and my child was sexually abused and I don’t know what to do,” I know at this point that this woman, one, needs to talk; two, needs some counseling; three, needs help to attend to her child. I’m able to give her the appropriate support and not just refer her to another office because she’s not just a number to me.

Further, on day three (July 3) of the CIF conference, the film Moi, Daniel Blake, accentuates this same point throughout. We must not hid behind the standards and regulations, nor forget our decencies; be so bound that we fail to provide a simple glass of water and chair (as in the film) while we explain the necessary steps.

In sum, great job CIF France in your preparations and delivery of the CIF International conference. These gatherings allow connection, sharing, and brainstorming with all CIF (creating new ties and rekindling the old) and also provide meaningful topics forward to learn and bring into our practices.

Thank you to all and be well.