Building a good foundation – Support Coordinator Reflection

One of our coordinators considers how listening and encouragement were crucial to provided support.

As soon as I started working with Nancy, I could see that, like many survivors, she expected to be let down or rejected by me. I knew that we had to slowly build trust with one another and so we spent the first several meetings just talking and listening. 

I had been under the impression she needed practical support from Future Pathways due to a health issue, but it became clear she was not quite sure what support she wanted or needed. We ended up talking about many other things other than her health issue, including her interests and ambitions.

I knew that we had to slowly build trust with one another.’ 

I noticed that Nancy swore a lot, but this never phased me. This could sometimes create barriers for Nancy when she tried to communicate with other services, but it quickly became something
we joked about together. It was important that Nancy never felt judged by me, and this was part of us developing an equal relationship in which she felt comfortable expressing herself in her
own way.

After getting to know each other, Nancy told me about a dream that she had always wanted to accomplish, and I listened carefully to what it would mean for her to achieve this. I also connected personally to her goal, sharing my own experiences, which heightened her curiosity and may have helped her realise that her dream was more within reach than she had previously believed. We talked through what had been holding her back, and I took her worries seriously. It was important never to invalidate her concerns but to acknowledge them and encourage Nancy to consider how these could be overcome.

It was important that Nancy never felt judged by me.’ 

‘I encouraged Nancy to think of this goal as worthwhile even if she was the only one who ever knew about it.’ 

We talked about reducing some of the pressure around this goal and considering it to be worthwhile to try just for her, even if she was the only one who ever knew about it. Reducing the pressure around this dream made it possible to move away from thinking about it in ‘all or nothing’ terms and allowed Nancy to start taking steps towards her outcome.

‘I encouraged Nancy to think of this goal as worthwhile even if she was the only one who ever knew about it.’ 

This basis of trust, encouragement and equality which we developed gave us a good foundation for working on Nancy’s outcomes. When working with Nancy, and many other survivors, it was vital to ensure that decisions came from her, rather than from me, so that she never felt she was being pushed or told what to do. This is crucial to maintaining a dynamic in which we are working on survivors’ outcomes side by side, as a team. Taking an authoritarian approach can cause survivors to reject support, so I encouraged Nancy to make decisions for her so that she felt fully in control of this process.

Read more

Register with us today

It’s easy to get in touch – either by phone, email, or you can fill in this simple form to register your interest or find out more.