Monthly Archives: October 2010

Omaha – Human Services Strengths and Weaknesses


The Omaha community, comparatively speaking, is rich in resources and opportunities for people who are seeking out community support. Foremost among those organizations is The Salvation Army. Last year, The Salvation Army Omaha served more than 170,000 people. (“TSA”, 2010) They provide services that include homelessness prevention, developmental services for families and children (low-income head start, for example), senior services, disaster relief, and they operate a fully functional adult rehabilitation center for me despairing from drug and alcohol addiction. The Omaha Area Salvation Army is currently my community charity of choice.  One program I was interested in is the Telephone Reassurance Program (TRP). Basically, volunteers make a phone call or a personal visit to a home bound senior citizen once a week.

Also among leading organizations in the Omaha community is the United Way of the Midlands. The United Way financially supports more than 150 vital Community Care Fund programs in partner agencies across the metro area. Although this list is by no means exhaustive, they support local health organizations including HELP Adult Services, Heartland Family Service Senior Center, Child Saving Institute-Emergency Shelter for Youth, Lutheran Family Services Building Families and Children program, and the Lutheran Family Services Mental Health Care and Counseling program. (“UWM”, 2010)

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Despite best efforts, there is great opportunity for continued improvement in the overall quality of life for the people of Omaha. One area that is of specific need is public transportation. For example, Omaha is currently considering building a $700-800 million beltway system that will focus on transportation needs outside of the city, rather than in it. VOICE (a non-partisan group dedicated to creating a more inclusive, just, transparent, sustainable, and culturally vibrant Omaha) has an active working petition to pressure civic leaders to stop the beltway effort and provide citizens with a transportation plan that is more equitable. (http://voiceomaha.org/) This petition is also supported by a number of different organizations, including inCOMMON Community Development. (http://incommoncd.org/)

Another implicit need in the Omaha area revolves around child welfare reform and the foster care system. Currently, agencies are consistently asked to render the impossible, provide better outcomes with increasingly inadequate resources. Specific criticism includes both lack of insight and funding. (Helvey, 2010) Recent action on the issue includes CEDARS Youth Services (one of the five lead agencies in the Child Welfare and Juvenile Justice Reform Contract) determining that the contract was “not financially feasible and that the cost to provide the services required by the contract was higher than anticipated and exceeded the amount funded by HHS.” (Helvey, 2010)

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References

Helvey, S. (2010). Inadequacy of state child welfare contracts put nebraska children and agencies in jeopardy. Retrieved from http://www.neappleseed.org/docs/pr040210.pdf

Helvey, S. (2010, Friday April 23, 2010). Midlands voices: Child welfare reform needs restructuring in Nebraska. Omaha World-Herald. Retrieved from http://www.omaha.com/article/20100423/NEWS0802/704239988

Results you can see. (2010). Retrieved May 14, 2010, from http://www.uwmidlands.org/results-you-can-see.html

Services & programs. (2010). Retrieved May 14, 2010, from http://www.givesalvationarmy.org

Supervision: Professional Disclosure Statements


Cobia and Boes (2000) advocate the employment of both professional disclosure statements by supervisors, as well as the development of formal plans for supervision.  The intent is to minimize the potential for ethical conflicts regarding informed consent, supervisor competence, due process and supervisee competence, confidentiality, and dual relationships.  Ideally, “the strategies increase the opportunities for learning the skills necessary for professional collaboration; establish an environment conducive to open, honest communication; and promote the development of rapport and trust in the supervisory relationship.”  (Cobia & Boes, 2000, p. 293)  It has been suggested that the document contain the “supervisor’s background, methods to be used in supervision, the responsibilities and requirements of supervisors, supervisee’s responsibilities, policies pertaining to confidentiality and privacy, documentation of supervision, risk and benefits, evaluation of job performance, complaint procedures and due process, professional development goals, and duration and termination of the supervision contract.”  (Corey, Schneider-Corey, & Callanan, 2007, p. 367-368)

In my view, the ideal supervisory relationship is much like the ideal therapeutic alliance between a counselor and a counselee… it is a bi-lateral relationship based on trust and mutual respect.  The professional disclosure statement effectively sets the expectations, as well as defines the mutual rights and responsibilities of the parties involved.  The supervisee stands to benefit by making an informed choice regarding a supervisor, perhaps leading to a more fulfilling and professional growth oriented experience.  The supervisor themselves benefit most by the limitation of potential liability.  Risk management, on the part of the supervisor, is integral in the process of developing a professional disclosure statement.

In any event, I agree with the authors that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” despite the fact that even the most diligently planned supervisory relationship will not be sufficient to prevent all of the potential ethical dilemmas.

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References

Cobia, D. C., & Boes, S. R. (2000, Summer). Professional disclosure statements and formal plans for supervision: Two strategies for minimizing the risk of ethical conflicts in post-master’s supervision. Journal of Counseling and Development : JCD, 78(3), 293-296. Retrieved from http://ezproxy.bellevue.edu:80/login?url=http://proquest.umi.com.ezproxy.bellevue.edu/pqdweb?did=56614181&sid=1&Fmt=3&clientId=4683&RQT=309&VName=PQD

Corey, G., Schneider-Corey, M., & Callanan, P. (2007). Issues and ethics in the helping professions (8th ed.). Belmont, CA: Brooks/Cole.

Drawing the Line between Supervision and Counseling


“When personal concerns are discussed in supervision, the goal is not to solve the trainee’s problem.”  (Corey, Schneider-Corey, & Callanan, 2007, p. 392)  The goal, simply stated, is to challenge trainees to address personal issues that could be potential counter-transference issues in their counseling relationships.  The supervisor is not meant to serve as a personal counselor, but as a mentor that can help identify how personal dynamics influence work with clients.  Generally speaking, this exploration should take place “in the present tense” and relate specifically to the supervisee’s case load.  All “past tense” issues that arise should be referred to a 3rd party counselor for individual therapy.

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Reference

Corey, G., Schneider-Corey, M., & Callanan, P. (2007). Issues and ethics in the helping professions (8th ed.). Belmont, CA: Brooks/Cole.