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Insanity of Social Work

Each week, LA Progressive’s editors pick what they regard as a particularly insightful comment from one of our readers, both to draw attention to one particular reader’s thoughts and to encourage more readers to weigh in with their opinions. This week’s pithy "Feedback Friday" response comes from Brian Lee Hanson, who commented on the article by Paul Haeder, "Insanity of Social Work as Human Control.

I am 38 years old, a Marine Veteran with four years of service. The most compelling thing about my military experience was the training to function effectively under extreme pressures. To serve my country with love and gratitude. And to be part of a very select group of men and women across the history of America.

1. Toughest aspect of those veterans current state of being “homeless veterans”?

The most difficult aspect for “homeless veterans” to face is the isolation. Regardless if it is social isolation, economic isolation, moral isolation…In the military you are taught, conditioned more accurately, to trust the guy next to you. However in the civilian world, that is exactly the person that most often turns away from the veteran.

2. What does the concept of social services/social worker mean to you in this current state of struggling these veterans who are homeless are going through?

From public perceptions, to directorial decision making, the one person who does not get a say in the way they are viewed, is the veteran.

From my interactions with social workers and my own career, I have seen a great divide open between clients and workers in recent years. Many workers have a strong desire to do what ‘they’ think is right for their clients. In fact, many training courses and even interview questions for social work jobs center on a providers ability/comfort with convincing others to follow best practices. This is another form of conditioning that military veterans are especially susceptible to and a massive violation of trust for any participant that encounters it. It is a counterproductive practice and a damaging dichotomy. Where the provider, believing in their own values or ethics, chosen by the state or self imposed, inserts those values into the life of their client.

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3. How is it that when someone, a veteran like yourself, is “down and out” that the powers that be at the Salvation Army and VA seem to inflict a sort of controlling and dictatorial relationship with you as a demographic?

Being a veteran comes with a sense of brotherhood, it also is a quickly identifiable characteristic. From public perceptions, to directorial decision making, the one person who does not get a say in the way they are viewed, is the veteran. This creates even greater strain and stress on all ready battle wounded Veterans. Research indicates that Stress is the number one contributing factor in just about every single diagnosis in the current DSM-V. And the places our Veterans should be calling home are pilling more and more stress on these heros? It is sickening and this is from self-styled professionals.

4. Why do veterans become homeless? This answer is for generals and politicos who have their own beliefs not so pleasant?

Veterans become homeless primarily because they have been either completely disregarded by all members of their family/community/country or because they are continually used by the very same groups. Whether it be as martyrs for the military industrial complex media, to guinea pigs for military and private corporate testing. Pharma addicts created by the very same psychiatrists they are told will help them. Zombified bravado glory hounds protesting in the streets. Veterans become homeless because they are used up and thrown away. Period.

5. How better can vets at this transitional center be served?

Strengths based models or treatment have excellent results. Least restrictive interventions are supposed to be the primary model. Client centered, yada yada gibberish. Linguistic tools utilized by educated individuals to justify misappropriation. Veterans in transitional centers need the ability and assistance to become productive. On every level. The veteran needs to be able to build themselves a home, not continually be treated as a revolving door paycheck from the federal government. Most facilities I have visited over my career practice one central tenant above all others, but they never say it to anyone they can’t control. “Always have full beds.” Regardless if a veteran needs the service or even wants it. When we change this mindset to one of increasing a veterans productive capabilities the overflow spills into realms of social productivity, community productivity, mental health productivity, and on and on.

6. Any comments regarding my article, part one and two in my series?

What happens when a bankrupt system, staffed/directed by morally bankrupt individuals is exposed by and to the masses? Do people even care about the harm they allow their ignorance to cause? Or do you gotta go get that new iphone today? Wake up social service providers, your asleep at the wheel!