‘Suit and tie’ by Susanne Hartfiel

January 6, 2012

Hartfiel, S. (2008). Suit & tie. The SRV Journal, 3(2), 26-37.

This article recounts a significant part of the life story of one significantly societally devalued person, a homeless alcoholic man, and provides an SRV-based analysis of lessons the author drew from reflecting on her relationship with him. Some Social Role Valorization themes discussed in this article include: the devastating impact of wounding; the power of expectations and how these are conveyed through personal appearance, physical environments and modeling; the importance of interpersonal identification in fostering positive relationships between valued and devalued people; the power of valued roles and valued people in serving as protection from many bad things in the face of heightened vulnerability; difficulties people may face when trying to leave their devalued identity and fill more valued roles.

People interested in Citizen Advocacy might find this article relevant, because it shows how unpaid personal relationships can be the means to higher expectations, valued opportunities and more valued social roles. It also illustrates how a group of people one might not have readily expected to be allies of a homeless person were able to bring at least some positive change and greater access to the ‘good things in life’ for this man’s, even saving his life during a critical time, while human service professionals who were paid to be of service to him were largely not. As much of the story takes place in and around a downtown church parish, it might also be of interest to people who are trying to find positive ways to integrate devalued people into their faith communities. Finally, the article draws upon some basic strategies of hospital protection which proved to be helpful in saving vulnerable people’s lives.


‘Chronic criminal disease: An SRV-based critique of drug addiction services’ by Susanne Hartfiel

October 6, 2011

Hartfiel, S. (2006). Chronic criminal disease: An SRV-based critique of drug addiction services. The SRV Journal, 1(2), 7-24.

full text PDF: chronic criminal disease.cwk (WP)

This article analyzes methadone programs, set up to treat heroin addiction in two major German cities, using the SRV concept of service model coherency as its analytical framework. It describes: the people served by such programs, typical assumptions underlying methadone treatment, and the various services provided. The author shows what impacts methadone programs tend to have on recipient’s: overall drug use patterns, health, perception by others, and their ability to leave devalued roles and enter more valued ones. It describes harmful service practices as well as some that are more beneficial to service recipients. The underlying medical model of service is analyzed, including its faulty assumptions from which most other problems flow.

The article concludes that methadone treatment comes with numerous problems and only few benefits. Methadone programs are shown to be extremely incoherent largely because they are based on wrong assumptions of what drug addiction is and thus do not offer in their contents and processes what recipients really need. Lastly the question is asked, who benefits from such incoherent services, if not the service recipients for whom the programs are said to be offered.

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