Moving towards a knowledge-guided, knowledge-creating framework for systems advocacy

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Cole, Darrell W.
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As a worker employed in a variety of sectors and settings within the field of social services over the past thirteen years, the author was consistently struck by the contrast between the responsibilities that workers undertook and the work that workers wished to undertake. More specifically, many workers believed the work that they were undertaking on behalf of the people they served was superficial and symptom-focused. Their work did not address those conditions which workers felt were creating the problems which people were experiencing. This frustration was exacerbated by the workers' perception (real or otherwise) that few, if any, individuals or organizations within the field were addressing these conditions at a more fundamental level. This situation, left unaddressed, often led to feelings of fatalism, professional failure and ultimately, burnout, among social service workers. This state resulted in negative impacts to the worker, her or his organization and ultimately, the people they served. The practicum intervention endeavoured to address the stated concern through the construction of a theoretical framework for guiding systems advocacy efforts at the intervention site, The Canadian Mental Health Association-Winnipeg Region. (Abstract shortened by UMI.)