Justice doing in community work & therapy: from ‘burnout’ to solidarity by Vikki Reynolds

Posted by on Aug 18, 2014 in Friday Afternoon Videos | 4 comments

Justice doing in community work & therapy: from ‘burnout’ to solidarity by Vikki Reynolds

In this talk, Vikki illuminates her stance for an ethic of Justice Doing as a frame for community work and therapy, and consider the intersections, tensions and affinities between community work practice, therapy and social justice activism. Vikki’s stance for Justice Doing in therapeutic and community work encompasses centering ethics, doing solidarity, addressing power, fostering collective sustainability, critically engaging with language, and structuring safety. Justice Doing opens our work to transformations for ourselves, the people we work alongside and our communities and society.

Providing alternatives to concepts of ‘burn out’ and/or ‘vicarious trauma’, Vikki conveys how our collective Justice Doing sustains us, nourishes our hope, invites us to honour the resistance and strength we witness in the people we work alongside, and allows us to work congruently with our ethics.

Vikki is a community activist, instructor and therapeutic supervisor, whose experience includes clinical supervision and therapy with refugees and survivors of torture, mental health and substance abuse counsellors, community activists, anti-violence counsellors and working alongside transgendered and queer communities.

 

 

See also:

Vikki’s website www.vikkireynolds.ca

Published on January 24, 2013

4 Comments

  1. A great presentation Vikki there is so much in what you say. So answering “How can we move from individualist understandings of ‘burnout’ and ‘self-care’ and towards considerations of solidarity and ‘collective car’? the most powerful line in Vikki’s communication was understanding sites of connection and the fluidity of imperfect allies. Being a blade of grass in the interaction and accepting the points of connection that are created in the interaction. Resisting empowering self-ideologies that cause injurious division and dignifying the innateness of the other persons experience. Providing options for the clients humanity, looking for collective ethics of the other by “leaning in” to their experience. With collective accountability we can hold onto privilege and power in our own experience while fostering sustainability in ongoing aliveness and genuine connectedness with people. Critically engaging in language that empowers innateness of the persons experiential schema and contesting of normalized language that segments, isolates, shallowly quantifies a persons being.
    Excellent understanding Vikki and thanks

  2. Hi Vikki,
    I am deeply touched by Joe’s story, and want to thank you for your delivery of such a powerful example of solidarity. Thank you for contesting the theories, the blame, and the structures that so commonly divide us and spiritually hurt us. It is not Joe who hurts us. From your attached article, I was struck by the following quote:

    I wonder about the difference it might make for
    clients to know that they change us too. I believe
    that clients contribute to our lives, whether we
    acknowledge them or not. We are transformed in the
    work, and that’s not just acceptable, it is desirable,
    as it fosters our collective sustainability. We need to
    continually find ways to accountably tell clients that
    these relationships matter to us, and that they
    change us!

    Celebrating Imperfect Solidarity,
    Shelly Bonnah

  3. Hi Vikki,

    Thanks very much for your presentation. I am very moved, despite is not at all the first time I’m in touch with your work, with these ideas of justice, solidarity and practice.

    But I’m not just moved, I’m inspired, I’m drawn into, I’m again thinking how much we have to do to make these ideas and theory available for practitioners for them (us) be able to translated them into practice.

    I think I got moved by these cos here in Latin America, specially in Chile were I live, there is a great need to justice and to me our therapeutic work (that’s my realm of work) should be informed be different ideas from the dominant ones. That’s why I work through stories and narrative practice, but I reckon it should be more discussion around this themes involving justice and their implications for work.

    I’m not sharing to much here this time, but found very important to say: “thanks, this work is impacting my practice, and hope my practice is impacting people’s lives… I’m trying to try my best”.

    In solidarity,
    Ítalo

  4. Hey Vikki – I enjoyed watching your presentation very much. You frame the issues around doing social justice work brilliantly I think. I liked your analysis of how certain words / notions (e.g. ‘burnout’, ‘suicide’, ‘trauma’) often work to individualise the issues & debate, & thus hide political / social / historical sources of injustice. As you point out, such ‘individualising’ (& subtly blaming) language practices are everyday ones, & hard to resist I think. You do a great job of drawing attention to (making visible) the ethical, social, historical, political contexts of issues like ‘suicide’ & ‘trauma’.

    I also really liked the fact you made use of the notions of ‘revolutionary love’ & ‘the social divine’, & that you noted how little these are talked of in therapy & social justice work. I thought the story of how you rang the detox worker Julie to tell her that she had helped keep Joe alive seemed to me to show this ‘revolutionary love’ in action. Making these events & experiences visible is important I think. I wonder if using more often a language that included notions such as ‘revolutionary love’ & the ‘social divine’ could be useful counterweights / resistance to the awful & impoverished language of ‘outcome measures’, ‘risk assessment’, ‘quantifiable metrics’ & so on? Maybe such ways of speaking can make visible aspects of practice / interaction / connection otherwise buried or lost, & can perhaps wrongfoot & disrupt dominant ‘individualising’ assumptions? Thanks, Ian (apologies for all the mixed metaphors!)

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