Why a Collaborative Systems Approach
State licensing boards and accreditation organizations such as CARF require that behavioral health agencies have a behavior management plan in place. Having such a plan is good clinical practice any way. I have been a part of at least three different behavior management programs over the past thirty years. One thing that they have had in common is that organizationally, the programs were there because they were required and there was not a total buy in on the part of management and subsequently of staff. When that occurs, parallel processes trickle down throughout the agency including to those served. Behavioral management and interventions are just something else you do because you have to and are part of the policies and procedures that are not read very carefully if at all and are not practiced.
There is a movement towards collaboration in mental health. Those who get services are the experts on what they need with service providers giving their input and expertise in areas of coping, decision making, and other life skills. The team consists of the client, concermed others, and the clinical and support staff. This collaborative approach is also prevelent in organizations such as Google, IDEO, and W. L. Gore. Collaboration sparks creativity and innovation, which is well documented in the work of Keith Sawyer at Washington University - St. Louis. Collaboration is also widespread in software development with open source development enhancing access for all. We will use this approach here as well, so that all our users will have a stake and a part in ongoing development and so that each user will have a program that best meets their needs and that also teaches others. We also want this to be something that is fun for users and that they look forward to, and not that "training that has to be done every year."