Sentences to ponder: the roles of professionals and community

…I do want to suggest that something got lost along the road to professionalization. What got lost was a relationship between two people that transcended the roles of counselor and client. What got lost was our deep involvement in the community and in local communities of recovery. What got lost was our recognition of the power of community to heal and sustain people. John McKnight in his recent book, The Careless Society: Community and Its Counterfeits, argues that compassion shifted from a cultural value to a job description as paid helping roles replaced functions of families, extended families, neighbors, co-workers and friends. He argues that we don’t need more agencies or larger agencies, but that we desperately need more community. In medicalizing alcohol and other drug problems in hopes we could escape its social stigma and moral censure, we turned our backs on the power of community and created an ever-growing distance between ourselves and those we are pledged to serve. Perhaps it is time we went back and discovered what was of value along that road we didn’t take.

White, W. (2003). The road not taken: The lost roots of addiction counseling. Counselor, 4(2), 22-23.

(Photo credit: “a fork in the road” by pipiwildhead is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.)

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