Community Values (Part 2)

Posted on April 13, 2011

Julius Lanoil
Consultant, Education and Wellness, Fountain House

Swedish social work researcher Magnus Karlsson asked me, "What are the values that underlie the Fountain House working community?" Below is the second half of my list. (Read the first half here.)

  1. As the individual moves from simple to more complex activity, he or she experiences a better and more accurate sense of self.
  2. The concept of membership implies some level of participation.
  3. The principle of growth from simple to more complex activities, based on successes, is the primary helping modality at Fountain House and informs Bandura’s concept of self efficacy. In the client-centered therapies of Rogers, Maslow and others, the empathy that stimulates a client’s realization of strength occurs in an office setting. At Fountain House it occurs in a real work or play situation in real time.
  4. The idea that all people have the same human struggles comes from a “dimensional model” of behavior which assumes that all behavior is on a continuum. Psychological problems or problems in living are merely extreme variations of normal phenomenon. Therefore classifications based on these exaggerated behaviors are not helpful in our community.
  5. Motivating people who have been inundated by unexplained failure is often what is needed to help them initiate and sustain participation.
  6. People will live up to or down to the expectations you have of them. This phenomenon is known as the Pygmalion Effect or the self-fulfillment prophesy.
  7. Strengthening a person’s strengths weakens his weaknesses. Our function is to help facilitate the movement toward self actualization by strengthening the existing strengths.
  8. People are not their illnesses or disabilities.
  9. When the leader interacts at the level of the group, his/her power can be magnified rather than dissipated.
  10. It is not so much the occupation of the group but participation in the group activity which is the curative factor.
  11. Responsibility sharing and mutual self-help lead to a decrease in passivity and dependence and to the abandonment of the “sick” role.
  12. Reciprocity and authenticity are key elements in any helping relationship.
  13. We reject blind submission to authority.
  14. Empowerment is the key to eliminating self stigma and structural stigma.
  15. We believe in reaching out to members of our community.
  16. Community support and supportive networks triumph rugged individualism in describing the human condition.
  17. Withdrawal and isolation are the true enemies of recovery.
  18. Every person has a core of strengths which need to be recognized, emphasized and utilized.
  19. Before the person’s need to be needed can be satisfied in the Fountain House working community, that person must accept the above listed Humanistic values

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