Empathy is about finding echos of another person in yourself.
Hello community members!
I’m Carrie, the Community Case Manager here at the Community Caring Council & I’d like to take this opportunity talk about something that’s recently left me with a lot of emotions. I’ve been a case worker for almost 5 years and I’ve worked with a diverse group of people.
While in college, I learned about something called “person-in-environment” AKA: PIE. As a case worker, this means that it’s imperative to remember that our clients are people who are affected by many different parts of their environment. They may have friends, family, employment, church, school, social services impacting them in one way or another. It’s easy to forget that there’s always more to a person than what we can see.
Recently, I’d been working with a client for several weeks. This client was 8 months pregnant & trying very hard to secure housing for her and her unborn child. Working closely with this client, she was able to secure housing & bring her daughter home a few short weeks later. This client had overcome some tough barriers in life but she had gained child care & steady income. She was well on her way to self-sufficiency, a goal she’d made for herself. During all of her progress, a road block popped up! The client was faced with a very large bill due to a company’s policy which was completely out of her hands. With a lot of work & luck, the issue was resolved but that’s not always the case.
This client’s situation reminded me that we all face road blocks & barriers within our own community, that are no fault of our own. Sometimes life just happens. Many times, we tend to misconceive those who are seeking assistance. We all to often assume the person needing help has made a poor decision, or they are to blame for their situation. We don’t usually to stop and think about “PIE” or Person-in-Environment. We don’t normally try to understand the individual in the context in which that person lives & acts. We don’t pause to think what effect their environment or as in my example, a company could have on an individual.
As a community, we should be supporting one another. I believe that taking a closer look at ourselves, as well as companies taking a look their potentially arbitrary policies can help make huge strides in tearing down the massive barriers for individuals so that they too can gain self sufficiency.