E1142Mental Health7 Recovery and self advocacy7.2 Self-advocacy7.2.1 Defining self-advocacySelf-advocacy puts people firstAdapted from:peoplefirstofcanada.ca, 2016.There are many different models of self-advocacy for individuals and for groups (Pearson,2008). It is important for workers to fully understand the range of options and issues in orderto review and provide information on self-advocacy.Self-advocacy encourages “people speaking for themselves and asserting their rights, individuallyand in groups which share a common interest or face particular difficulties, for example, stigma”(McNally, 1999, p. 47f.).Clare (1990, cited in McNally, 1999) identifies four core components of self-advocacy which are:| Topic – 2 / 10© Open Colleges Pty Ltd, 2020.being able to express thoughts and feelings with assertiveness if necessarybeing able to make choices and decisionshaving clear knowledge about rightsbeing able to make changes.Supporting consumers with self-advocacy means that workers should actively encourageconsumers to become engaged with these core components. The first step towards this goal canbe to assist the person or group to identify their own needs and to determine if their rights arebeing infringed upon or their needs are not being met. This should then lead to an evaluation andnegotiation of advocacy options. Consumers should be encouraged and supported to expresstheir thoughts and feelings and to make choices, decisions and changes as required. Becausemany consumers might not have sufficient understanding of advocacy issues, it can also beimportant to apply strategic questioning to seek clarification and to identify any breaches ofconsumer rights.Self-advocacy can however also be seen in a wider and more philosophical context which includesan expression of values with which to work with consumers. Pennell (2001) explains that selfadvocacy means helping people understand that we are all ‘able’ and empowering people to takecontrol over their own lives to make decisions and take the consequences.Self-advocacy is a process – a way of life that is an ongoing learning experience for everyoneinvolved. It means taking risks and going after your dreams. It means making mistakes andlearning from them. Self-advocacy is a revolution for change, to enable people with and withoutdisabilities to live in harmony. Self-advocacy is founded on the belief that together, we can createthe spark to light the fire of a better life for all of us.Working with this wider definition of self-advocacy requires workers to reflect on their own valuesand identify whether they can adopt the values proposed in this definition. Inclusiveness andacceptance of difference is seen as a potential seed of a change for the better, not just forconsumers but for everyone. This approach honours the connection of self-advocacy to humanrights which are applicable to every person no matter what their circumstances might be.A more unorthodox way of defining self-advocacy is by stating what it is not and to contrast it withother approaches. When working with consumers, professionals are required to take on a rangeof tasks to meet consumer needs which bear a resemblance to working towards self-advocacy| Topic – 3 / 10© Open Colleges Pty Ltd, 2020.but are in fact not the same. It is important for workers to understand the differences betweenother tasks such as advocacy, negotiation, mediation, facilitation and conciliation and how they areused which will hopefully increase the awareness of the nature of working with consumerstowards self-advocacy.AdvocacyAdvocacy is defined as “the process of standing alongside an individual who is disadvantaged andspeaking out on their behalf in a way that represents the best interests of that person” (Institutefor Family Advocacy and Leadership Development Australia, 2016). Advocacy is a key task forsupport workers, especially when the person has not yet found a way of assertivelycommunicating their needs and asks for the support of a professional to speak on their behalf.Whereas the provision of advocacy is certainly valuable, the ultimate goal should be to empowerthe person to speak on their own behalf and to become confident and competent to selfadvocate.Adapted from: www.wvpti.org, 2015.NegotiationNegotiation is a method by which people settle differences. It is a process by whichcompromise or agreement is reached while avoiding argument and dispute.“| Topic – 4 / 10© Open Colleges Pty Ltd, 2020.The ultimate goal of negotiation is to reach an agreement with a win-win outcome for all thoseinvolved.Successful negotiation can require a set of skills, including:effective verbal communicationactive and reflective listeningconflict management skillsrapport buildingproblem-solvingdecision-makingassertivenessdealing with difficult situationsawareness of ethics.Support workers might be required to negotiate win-win situations with and for consumers,especially in cases of dispute. Negotiation isn’t appropriate when dealing with human rightsissues and should only be used in the wider context of advocacy; for example, when trying to findsolutions for complex issues in service provision, including those requiring negotiation regardingduty of care considerations and dignity of risk.MediationMediation is the “art of changing people’s positions with the explicit aim of acceptance of apackage put together by both sides, with the mediator as listener, the suggester, the formulatorof a final agreement to which both sides have contributed” (Alper and Nichols, 1981). Mediationskills are similar to negation skills: in this case the mediator also needs to have the ability toSource:skillsyouneed.com[http://www.skillsyouneed.com/], 2015, viewed 31 March 2016| Topic – 5 / 10© Open Colleges Pty Ltd, 2020.remain neutral in order to support all the people involved in a conflict to reach a clear and positiveagreement to manage the conflict.Additional skills can include:identifying issuesexploring optionsagreement formulation.Again, mediation is quite different from any activity relating to advocacy. Whilst there might be aconflict present, workers should assess whether the conflict is personal in nature or whether it ispart of an infringement of rights. Mediation should only be used in cases where rights and needsare not being infringed upon by the needs or requirements of service provision.The role of a mediatorMediators facilitate discussion so that the parties in a dispute may:have their views heardhear the other party’s view(s) more accuratelygain clarification as to what the issues arebrainstorm ways to improve the situationparticipate in drafting an agreement using words with which they can agree.A mediator does not:take sidesimpose his or her ideas for a solutionoffer legal advice or counselling.Source: Niki Hannevig (2013)slideshare.net[http://www.slideshare.net/], accessed 21/03/2016.| Topic – 6 / 10© Open Colleges Pty Ltd, 2020.FacilitationA facilitator “enables groups and organizations to work more effectively; to collaborate andachieve synergy. He or she is a ‘content neutral’ party who by not taking sides or expressing oradvocating a point of view during the meeting can advocate for fair, open and inclusiveprocedures to accomplish the group’s work” (Doyle, 2007).Facilitation skills are often used alongside group work skills and bear similarities to the skillsneeded in negotiation, including communication, listening, rapport building and managing conflict,but also include skills such as managing group dynamics, confronting and planning a facilitationsession.The definition of the role of facilitator highlights that it is inappropriate to advocate for one sidewhen facilitating a process, but rather work towards procedures. Advocates on the other hand,need to be able to fully take the side of the person they advocate for in order to speak on theirbehalf. When working towards empowerment and the ability of a consumer to self-advocate, it isalso important to become partial to the person’s plight to have their rights met and to worktowards equity.ConciliationConciliation is “the practice of bringing together the parties in a dispute with an independent thirdparty, so that the dispute can be settled through a series of negotiations” (www.businessdictionary.com[http://www.businessdictionary.com], viewed on 31/3/2016). Conciliation is often used in legal settings but can also be used in othercommunications environments and it differs from mediation because conciliation “seeks to identifya right that has been violated and searches to find the optimal solution” (Sgubini et al., 2004). Theconciliator is seen as the ‘peacemaker’ and takes the role of mediator and negotiator which alsomeans that the conciliator needs to have the same skills as the other two.Problem solving options:| Topic – 7 / 10© Open Colleges Pty Ltd, 2020.conciliation: neutral 3rd party assists disputants by acting as a ‘go-between’arbitration: neutral 3rd party acts as a ‘judge’negotiation: parties confer to arrive at a mutually satisfactory solutionmediation: neutral 3rd party assists parties in their own negotiationsfacilitation: neutral 3rd party assists in group discussions.Source: Mahmoud (2010),slideshare.net[http://www.slideshare.net/]accessed 16/2/2016.Workers might use some or even all of these approaches in their work, depending on thecircumstances they are faced with when supporting consumers.When determining which approach to use, a couple of simple questions can be used to establishwhether self-advocacy is the best option:| Topic – 8 / 10© Open Colleges Pty Ltd, 2020.Has a right been violated?No: mediation, negotiation, facilitationYes: conciliation or advocacy/self-advocacyIf yes:Does the task require me to be neutral?Yes: conciliationNo: advocacy/self-advocacyIf no:Is the person willing and able to speak for themselves and assertively communicate their needs?Yes: advocacy/self-advocacy (and support the person to do so)1 2 3Self-advocacy in its purest form is to give voice to those previously voiceless, to empowerthe client to reach their full potential through insight, responsibility and personal control.“| Topic – 9 / 10© Open Colleges Pty Ltd, 2020. Reading 44588AdvocacyThe appendices to this report,Research of the Models of Advocacy Funded under the National Disability Advocacy Program[https://www.dss.gov.au/sites/default/files/documents/05_2012/rmaf_finalappendices.pdf]describes models of advocacy funded under the National Disability Advocacy Program.ACTIVITY 44588 TYPE ReadingSCENARIO Advocacy| Topic – 10 / 10© Open Colleges Pty Ltd, 2020.
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