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News and Updates:
-3 Working Models to Enhance Engagement and Dialogue can be found via the Ways of Helping page – HERE
-National Health Care for the Homeless Council (NHCHC) Webinar on Homeless Outreach and Pretreatment –
~Celebrating the new book~ Cross-Cultural Dialogues on Homelessness: From Pretreatment Strategies to Psychologically Informed Environments
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During the summer of 2018 I had the honor of visiting my friends and co-authors from the UK. They are: Robin Johnson, John Conolly, Ray Middleton, and Suzanne Quinney. Together we had recently completed a book project entitled-
Cross-Cultural Dialogues on Homelessness: From Pretreatment Strategies to Psychologically Informed Environments.
As you may have surmised I live and work in the States, so in many respects the whole project was a transatlantic dialogue on homelessness. However, upon digging a little deeper it became evident that the dialogue that I sought was actually occurring on many fronts that included, but also transcended transatlantic considerations and really spoke to different cultures, roles, types of relationships, identity, power dynamics and so on.
Cultural divides in need of crossing existed between workers and clients, clients and different systems of care that we had hoped to access, Peer and non-Peer workers, the different sub-groups of clients and workers – young and old, male, female, LGBTQ, across the whole spectrum of religion, race, and varied ethnicities, etc.
So, this became a study of how to both respect and bridge differences by fostering effective and meaningful communication. As I like to say (Levy, 2013), “We are interpreters and bridge builders. Engagement is the foundation of our work and our main tool is Common Language Construction.”
The quest toward ‘productive dialogue’ is critical to building the person-centered relationships* that both PIE and Pretreatment approaches value and defines as an essential part of our practice.
*Relationships are central to the PIE 2.0 framework and more information can be found HERE.
Our latest book project Cross-Cultural Dialogues on Homelessness delves further into some specific methods of dialogue paired with numerous narratives that demonstrate how cultural divides can be crossed in order to promote person centered relationships.
Transatlantic Dialogues on Trauma and Homelessness
Our hope is to share and encourage transatlantic dialogues on homelessness that includes our narratives, challenges and successes in order to promote mutual learning and communication, as well as a more informed practice.
We have crossed the cultural divide in our work with colleagues at various conferences (e.g. International Street Medicine Symposium), sharing insights from around the globe. Of course this is not limited just to conferences, as cross-cultural perspectives on homelessness flow via journal articles, books, University coursework, staff trainings, and easily accessible podcasts, as well as through a variety of websites such as the PIElink that offers interviews and library materials on transatlantic homelessness issues. In fact, I recently taught the first graduate studies course on PIE and Pretreatment, utilizing multi-media resources from PIE-Link, with college students in the US. These forums, as well as the exchange programs between the US and UK, provide the opportunities to share insights from PIE and Trauma Informed Care approaches to homelessness.
Robin Johnson, the founder of PIE, developed a dedicated section on Transatlantic Dialogues that can be found via PIELink. Check out the following menu items that Robin has highlighted for further exploration:
-Recently returned from the National Health Care for the Homeless Conference (NHCHC) featuring the latest research on homelessness, housing and healthcare.
Thus far more than 33% of book related profits ($3894.50) have been given to national (U.S.) charities that support the goal and ideal of ending homelessness. Please see Donations page for more details
-Very positive review by Matthew Bennett in the Journal of Social Distress and the Homeless – 27(2), 2018. It is entitled Shifting perspectives and finding gold: a review of Cross-Cultural Dialogues on Homelessness – An excerpt of the review can be found here
-In Cross-Cultural Dialogues on Homelessness, Jay Levy and co-authors provide the conceptual tools, the hitherto “missing language”, needed by practitioners and policy makers working with excluded individuals. This well-written and insightful book outlines the psychologically informed approach that has been successfully used in the US, UK and other countries to re-integrate people who have experienced homelessness, severe mental illness and, frequently, other traumatic life events. This book has been informed by the authors’ practice and should come with a warning: it will revolutionise how you work – irreversibly and, undoubtedly, for the better.
Clíona Ní Cheallaigh, MB, MRCP Consultant Physician and Clinical Lead, Inclusion Health Service Pilot, St James’s Hospital, Dublin
Faculty, Global Brain Health Institute
-Jay Levy and colleagues’ “Cross-Cultural Dialogues on Homelessness: From Pretreatment Strategies to Psychologically Informed Environments” provides wonderful insight into the profound relationship-building that is the core of street outreach to the unsheltered homeless. Jay distills many decades of his own street experience, and by cross comparing his brilliant schema of Pretreatment with the British model of Psychologically Informed Environments (PIE), he reveals the underlying common processes of effective street engagement. Essentially, Jay shows us how to compassionately embrace the reality of those who fall within the underwater portion of the “pre-contemplative” iceberg of behavioral change. As a long-time practitioner of street medicine, I recommend this book to anyone who seeks that sacred place on the streets where healing begins.
Jim Withers, MD (Pittsburgh, PA)
Founder and Medical Director
Operation Safety Net and the Street Medicine Institute
More information on the International Street Medicine Symposium can be found HERE.