|Beyond the One-Way Mirror - Page 7|
In Family Therapy Techniques, Minuchin and Fishman write that joining occurs when the family and the therapist enter therapy with the same goals, but the family must first invite the therapist to enter their system if they're going to work together to make systemic changes.
In the same way, I realized, the public agency needed to invite me into their system if my model was to be successfully transported. To achieve this, I'd need to persuade the stakeholders at various levels of the system—therapists who'd be implementing the model, clinical directors who'd be supervising the therapists, and administrators who'd be funding the program—that my goals were beneficial to them. I soon got my chance to put these ideas to work within a complex mental health community in a large Southern state.
Responding to an invitation from the state Department of Juvenile Justice, I started off identifying the four levels of "clienthood" involved in the consultation: the state funding agency that was behind the invitation for using PLL, the local public mental health agency service provider, the community of other agencies that would be supplying the referrals, and the frontline therapists who were to be the primary focus of the training.
In the past, whenever I'd secured funding from the local or state agency before the training, I'd met the therapists and community stakeholders only on the first day of training. This time, even though the state juvenile justice system had given a green light to the project, I now realized that the community and agency had to invite me into their own system, and that they had to take responsibility for the program with me if the implementation of PLL was to "take." So I was careful to tell the mental health agency and the therapists upfront when I went to meet them before the scheduled training that they could still choose to reject the model.