DVD with ten interactive scaling masters and a booklet of suggested uses
keâ€™s . Lu St
DVD with ten interactive scaling masters and a booklet of suggested uses
Booklet: Russell Deal Foreword: Di Oâ€™Neil Illustration & design: Tim Lane DVD & interactivity: Greengraphics
keâ€™s . Lu St
ke’s . Lu St
This kit was published in 2007. Reprinted in 2010 and 2011. Digital version first published in 2013. Some of the line drawings used in the scaling pads were first published by St Luke’s Innovative Resources in Scales (1996) and Scales II (1999). These images have been re-drawn, and new images added for this kit. St Luke’s Innovative Resources 137 McCrae Street BENDIGO Victoria 3550 Australia Ph: 03 5442 0500 Fax: 03 5442 0555 Email: email@example.com www.innovativeresources.org ABN: 99 087 209 729 © St Luke’s Innovative Resources 2013 All rights reserved. Innovative Resources is a not-for-profit publisher. All sales support the child, youth, family and community services of St Luke’s Anglicare. ISBN: 978 1 920945 22 0
Foreword ‘At its core, the strengths approach is about sharing power and knowledge in ways that increase people’s capacity to be self-determining.’ Scaling is one of my favourite techniques. It is so accessible, versatile and user-friendly. The Scaling Kit brings together a set of 10 scales, some previously published by Innovative Resources, some new. They are uncomplicated sketches but visually very memorable; the image of the tank, the ladder, the pendulum or any of the other illustrations, stays with you. Innovative Resources is the publishing initiative of St Luke’s Anglicare, a family services agency located in Bendigo, Australia. St Luke’s is committed to a ‘strengths-based’ approach to working with people. Pivotal to this approach is the recognition that everyone has strengths. The strengths approach is not about solving problems. At its core, it is about sharing power and knowledge in ways that increase people’s capacity to be self-determining, to be focused on what works and to be motivated to address barriers that constrain positive change. The most useful processes and techniques that a facilitator or therapist can use are those that the participant or client can then take away, adapt if they wish, and apply for themselves at any time. In this way, the person leaves with a flexible and useful resource for their own critical decision-making. Scaling is one such process. For this reason I see it as a genuine capacitybuilding tool. It is a simple, easily understood technique that everyone can learn to use. You do not need expensive equipment. You do not even need paper to create enduring ways of knowing, measuring and reflecting on how things are going. Once you understand the concept you will not need a facilitator to help you! Scaling can be used for the more obvious things like noticing what works; noticing what helps and what hinders. It can also be used to develop an
understanding about structural and personal constraints to change. But when used as part of a strengths approach, it can also be used to build aspiration and motivation—two key ingredients of sustainable change. As with all Innovative Resources’ products, the application of the scaling images is limited only by your imagination. To access their full impact and influence, the visual metaphors (the tank, the ladder, the circle, the rating wheel, etc) need to be accompanied by curiosity. This booklet contains suggestions for activities that may spark your own creative imagination. It also contains many useful questions to encourage exploratory conversations. The questions and suggested activities are intended to complement the visual images—together they reinforce the potential of The Scaling Kit for the direct engagement of the client or participant in their own scaling activities. The tool becomes even more valuable when there is a good match between the client’s understanding of the situation and the visual metaphor that is chosen for the scaling activity. The client’s language will often provide the lead. For example, if the client is speaking about their ‘journey’ then the pathway scale might be a very appropriate one to try. In this way, the metaphor used for scaling develops around what makes sense to the client or participant. This increases the accessibility of scaling as an ongoing tool for the client to apply in ways that are useful and meaningful for them. My continued thanks and congratulations to the team at Innovative Resources for their boundless energy and capacity to produce quality tools that support self-determination and sustainable growth. Di O’Neil - Executive Officer, St Luke’s Anglicare, Bendigo, Australia (at the time of first publication)
The Scaling Kit goes digital
The Ancient Art of Scaling
Using the Kit
Sun up/Sun down
Ups and Downs
Tank Scale A Story
About St Lukeâ€™s
About Innovative Resources
Seriously Optimistic Workshops
The Scaling Kit goes digital In 1996 St Lukeâ€™s Innovative Resources first published Scales: Tools for Change as a set of 6 hard copy pads with tear-off sheets. Each pad featured a simple line drawing that could be used as a visual metaphor to record parts of any change process. The simplicity of the images had great appeal to many people, especially those with a visual learning style. The Scales pads were readily adopted as a tool by counsellors, therapists, children and family workers, youth workers, teachers, supervisors and others in diverse professional roles because they can be used to plot change very easily. A new edition of Scales was published in hardcopy in 1999 and in 2010. And now, the 10 master images are available in a digitally interactive format on DVD. Once the DVD is purchased, these masters can be used and printed to help people evaluate their progress and describe their life journeysâ€”their goals, struggles, successes and steps along the way. We hope they will appear on kitchen fridges and notice boards, in client files and journals, and in many other places where change is noticed and celebrated.
The Ancient Art of Scaling Scaling may well be one of the oldest tools used by humans. Recording the passing of days, seasons and years and noting astrological changes are characteristics of many preliterate societies. All of these simple measurement tools are examples of how change has been noticed and calculated for thousands of years. In this context Stonehenge might perhaps be described as one of the grandest scaling tools ever constructed! Scaling enables human curiosity to be enacted in countless ways. It underpins science and medicine and has been used for generations in education, psychology and social work. The use of scaling evident in ancient structures makes these applications seem positively recent. However, arguably, it has been the post-modern approaches to human service work that have enabled scaling to be recognised as a powerful source for creating and noticing change in human behaviour. Narrative, solution-focused and strengths-based approaches all emphasise the importance of a person’s own understanding of the changes that are occurring within them and around them. Scaling fits comfortably with the inherent optimism of these therapeutic approaches as well as those of the positive psychology movement. It helps create a picture of hope by suggesting that change is possible. It challenges the fatalism that so often accompanies the problem-saturation of deficit-based approaches.
Scaling is such a simple yet powerful tool for noticing change that it deserves to be in the repertoire of every human service worker, irrespective of their role or theoretical framework. Scaling does not suggest, in a ‘Pollyanna-ish’ way, that change will be easy but it does provide a way of breaking down the overwhelming nature of many challenges into more manageable pieces. In short, scaling provides a concrete way to operationalise the maxim ‘a long journey is made up of many small steps’. Scaling is a way of: • anticipating • noticing • describing • recording • managing • celebrating, and • evaluating learning, change and growth. Scaling can be done verbally by using words to create mental pictures, for example: ‘Imagine yourself as an engine that needs energy or fuel to keep it going. How much energy do you have in your fuel tank? What is your gauge showing? Are you close to empty? What is one thing you can do to put more energy into your tank?’
Some people are great at creating word pictures in their minds while others prefer to actually see or draw a picture. For this reason scaling is often constructed around a simple sketch or diagram created by the teacher/worker/facilitator or the student/client themselves. The simple, interactive illustrations make the scaling concept more concrete and accessible, particularly for people who have a preference for visual styles of learning. In addition, the act of filling in or marking these images on the spot gives them an immediacy and an idiosyncratic style that can help people engage with the processâ€”it can help people really become involved in the change process. It is true that a picture, however simple, can have more power than words alone.
Using the Kit Certainly, there are advantages when people create and draw their own metaphors. But there are also many times when it is useful to offer people a choice of ready-made visual metaphors. The ten visual metaphors (or ‘scales’) used in the pads that make up The Scaling Kit are: • Balance • Circle • Ladder • Pathway • Pendulum • Rating Wheel • Sun up/Sun down • Thermometer • Ups and Downs • Water Tank There are no rules or instructions to follow when using the scales in this kit; their use depends entirely on the curiosity, creativity, purpose, passion, respect and imagination of the user. However, a strengths-based approach would suggest that scaling should only be introduced where there is: • an open, respectful and trusting relationship • agreed understanding about privacy and confidentiality
• confidence that the time is right • space for listening, free of interruptions • choice in the alternatives given • a focus on the client’s own learning preferences and skills. As with the use of any tool, there is always an element of risk; the conversations that emerge or the feelings that are uncovered can be unforeseen and highly-charged. The principle of respect suggests that scaling should be used with an awareness of the impact that the discoveries might make. The visual images in this kit are purposefully minimalist. Their intent is to celebrate the skills, strengths and creativity of the client. It is the learning, awareness and enhanced understanding of the client that is to be celebrated, not the cleverness of the facilitator or the design of the tool itself.
BALANCE The balance scale uses the image of a set of classical gold scales as a way of picturing the ‘weighing up’ of competing interests. Achieving balance is perhaps a universal quest, whether it be in lifestyle, finance, family and work commitments or health and diet. • What does a balanced lifestyle mean for you? • How do you achieve it? • What are the different (competing?) components that you have to weigh up? • Do things ever get out of balance? When does this happen? What causes it? • What help do you need from others? • Can you use the balance scale to list all the things you need to take into account to achieve balance? • What are you likely to be doing when you are in balance? What will others see you doing when you are in balance? • Is feeling balanced something that you commonly experience or is it an unusual experience for you? • Are there small things in your life that are disproportionately ‘heavy’ and that can throw you off balance? As well as providing a way to build conversations around being in balance, the balance scale can also be used to talk about making balanced decisions when faced with a choice. We commonly talk
about weighing up the pros and cons, the positives and negatives. When there are competing interests or incompatible factors it can be helpful to compare the merits of each: • Thinking of a hard decision you have had to make, were you conscious of weighing up the positives and negatives? • Have you ever sat down and compiled a written list of pros and cons? • Thinking of a choice you are facing at present or will face soon, can you list the different competing factors at the bottom and the lighter factors towards the top? • Does this help describe or clarify your choice for yourself or others?
CIRCLE The circle scale is another scale that lends itself to a number of possible metaphoric interpretations. Initially conceived as a clock with 12 segments, it can be used to represent one hour, 12 hours or it can work as a stopwatch. As a clock it can be a time management tool: • How much time have you allowed for this task? • As you only have finite time available, what are the component parts of the task and how much time should be allocated to each? • Would it be useful to mark on the circle (clock face) how much time you imagine will be required and then mark how much time is actually taken?
categorised or measured can be converted into a pie chart by working out proportions. This a great way to engage children in noticing processes of change. • How do you use your leisure time? • How much time in a week do you spend sleeping? • How much time do you spend watching TV? At your computer? • What things do you spend the most time doing? • Are these the things you enjoy the most? • How is this pie chart different from the one you might have done at this time last year? • Look at how you spend your time. What would you like to be different?
As a stopwatch the circle scale can be used to record how long an activity actually takes – getting children to bed, for example, or music practice or homework or coffee break time. Times spent in a particular activity can be compared and the accumulated time over a week calculated.
Another innovative application can be to use the circle scale like the sawn cross section of a tree trunk. We all know that a skilled botanist can look at the number of rings to determine the age of the tree. Further, they can often work out the best years for growth, the wettest years, the dry years and even natural calamities like a volcano erupting in the vicinity of the tree. Imagine that your life is able to be read like a tree trunk: • How many rings would you draw to show your age? • Do any rings stand out as different? • Have there been good years with lots of growth? Have there been any bad years? What brought these about? • Are there any patterns that emerge as you look at the years of your life in this way? • If we made up ‘tree trunks’ for other members of your family how would they look? How would they be similar and different to yours?
An alternative use for the circle scale is as a pie chart—a common way of visually representing proportions: • Where does your weekly income go? • What proportion is spent on food, clothes, rent, entertainment, etc? • Does this feel right? • Do you think you need to change your expenditure pattern? Children often enjoy the discoveries that can come with a visual means of recording data. Just about anything that can be counted,
LADDER The ladder provides a very simple metaphor for growth and progress towards a goal. Of all the visual scales it perhaps provides the most clear and direct means of talking about change as being incremental; in small stages, one rung at a time. Even very young children understand this metaphor—that it is difficult, even impossible, to jump to the top of the ladder in one giant step. If the goal (getting to the top) is to be reached, the only way, or at least the safest way, is to progress rung by rung. The ladder scale can help break a challenge or a problem down into segments. The goal to be achieved can be recorded at the top of the ladder with the bottom of the ladder being the starting point or the current situation. The tasks required to accomplish this goal can be recorded in a sequence. • How many rungs do you think you will need to reach your goal? • What is the first task, the first step to take? • Why don’t we list them in order? • How long do you think you will need? • Do you think we can write a completion date against each task? If appropriate, a tick and possibly the date can be placed next to each task as it is accomplished.
It is not difficult to think of complex goals that can be broken down into small steps in this way: • Obtaining a driver’s licence • Flying overseas for the first time • Preparing a child for their first day at school • Getting married. As well as ‘partialising’ the challenge or problem and recording progress, the ladder metaphor suggests a range of other questions that can reinforce the processes of learning, change and growth. • Do you think it will be exciting to reach the top? • How will you know when you are there? • What do you think the view will be like? • How do you think you will be feeling? • How do you plan to celebrate your success? • Who are the people who can help you climb each step? • Who can you ask to hold the ladder steady? • Does it matter if you sometimes need to go back a step? • Is there a task that is particularly daunting? • From where you are now, can you look back and see the progress you have made already? • Which rungs have been the most difficult? • Which have been the most satisfying?
PATHWAY The pathway or ‘journey’ scale comprises a metaphoric map of a road or a river. Because the notion of a journey resonates with so many people it continues to be one of the most popular scales. It can be used to talk about progress towards goals whether these are short-term objectives or life goals. Successes, struggles, challenges, milestones and learnings can all be recorded. The scale is designed so that either the horizon or the foreground can represent the goal. One’s present position on the journey can be plotted anywhere along the road or river. If plotted midway, the scale can be used to describe events in the past as well as events anticipated in the future. Answers to questions can be jotted on the scale: • What goals you are striving for? • Do you feel you are just starting out or are you close to achieving your goals? Is the end in sight? • How will you know when you have achieved your goals? • What has been the most difficult part of your journey so far? • Have you ever despaired of reaching the end? • Have you ever felt you have been carrying a load on your journey? • Did you find a way to lighten it? • Do you feel satisfied with the progress you have made? • When this journey finishes what will be your next one? • Looking back on your journey what would you now want to do differently?
• What have been the highlights? • What are the most important things you have learned? • What skills, strengths and resources kept you going? • Were there other people who helped you in your journey? • Were you able to help others? • Have you ever stumbled or been sidetracked? How did you get back on track? • Were you aware of any dangers that were lurking? • What do you think lies just around the next corner? • If you are feeling stuck what is something you can do to go another step? The journey scale combines well with a staff development activity known as the ‘river of culture’. The history of an organisation is likened to a river whose nature changes over its course, while it always remains the one river. Often the picture we have of the organisation (or river) is largely determined by how it appeared when we first joined it. Was the organisation (river) turbulent or in the doldrums? Was it youthful, vibrant and energetic? Was it moribund? Or was it full of hidden snags? The ‘river of culture’ activity invites members of an organisation to identify when they started with the organisation and what was happening at the time. When done sequentially according to time served with the organisation it provides a unique way of scanning an organisation’s cultural history.
PENDULUM Everyone experiences cycles in their lives where there are fluctuations around a norm. For most of us the ideal can be expressed as a mid-point, an average or a place of balance. For parents, the mid-point for their children might be conceived as somewhere between the extremes of over-excitement and lethargy. For the business person there may well be a mid-point between having nothing to do and being frenetic. A performer or sportsperson might struggle to find the balance between anxiety and excitement. Many people experience mood swings. When extreme, these swings can be severely debilitating and dangerous and are commonly labelled as bipolar disorders. And of course, diseases such as diabetes require monitoring to maintain blood sugar levels within a safe range. When approached in this way many of our thoughts, feelings and physiological responses demonstrate fluctuations around a norm. The image of a pendulum provides a simple and effective visual metaphor for imagining the swings on either side of such an ideal state. It contains suggestions of fluctuations and equilibrium, movement and stillness, variation and balance, extremes and centering.
The pendulum scale can work as a readily-useable, self-monitoring tool for measuring and comparing fluctuations around a norm depending upon the issue or the focus of observation. • Are there times when being out of balance is a problem for you? • What is the ideal balance you would like to achieve? • When have you been able to achieve this? • How have you done it? • Are you ‘in balance’ most of the time or is it an exception to the rule? • On the pendulum scale can you draw your ‘comfort zone’? What happens when you begin to move out of this zone in either direction? • When do you start to become concerned that your fluctuation from the norm might be dangerous to yourself or others? • Can you list the things that happen (in order) as you move away from your centre of balance or midpoint? • Are there points on the scale where you need the help of others to regain equilibrium?
RATING WHEEL The rating wheel is a common scaling tool that allows ready comparison of changes over a number of variables. This is a great scaling tool for handling more complex multi-dimensional concepts. The rating wheel in this kit consists of 8 segments—allowing for up to 8 dimensions to be visually compared and contrasted. For example, an organisation or a group may want to canvas members’ perceptions of the group’s teamwork skills. The first step is to identify the key components of good teamwork which itself may create rich and fruitful discussion. Each component of teamwork is then named and recorded beside a segment on the wheel. Each group member then rates the group on how well that particular variable is enacted by filling in a portion of the triangular segment; ‘poor’ is a small wedge close to the centre, with excellent being a large portion of the triangle filled in close to the perimeter. The segment can be coloured or shaded giving a quick visual overview of the different perceptions. If such an evaluation is completed on a number of occasions, a succession of rating wheel exercises can provide a longitudinal view of how perceptions have changed over time. Another example might be working with a family to monitor their strengths or skills. These can be listed around the perimeter of the wheel and rated by individuals or the whole family.
Or a psychiatric support worker may have a client with mental health issues who can use the rating wheel to identify and rate their progress on those strategies that keep them well. Any goal that can be broken down into its component parts can be adapted for a rating wheel: • Can you list the 8 most important things you believe you need to do to stay healthy? (You may wish to use some of the cards from Growing Well, a mental health self-assessment kit published by Innovative Resources, to assist with this.) • Write each item outside each segment of the rating wheel, then colour in the segments to represent how well you believe you are doing on each one at present. • What are 8 key strengths of your work group or team? Once again, write them on the perimeter and shade them to give them a rating. How does your rating wheel compare to others in the group? • Select 8 cards at random from either Strength Cards, Strengths in Teams or Strength Cards for Kids. Write these around the perimeter and colour in accordance with how well you believe you possess each strength. Which are the strengths you rate yourself highest on? Why? Which do you rate yourself lower on? Are there any changes you would like to make, or actions you would like to take to enhance any of these strengths?
SUN UP/SUN DOWN The sun scale works as a simple planning and time management tool. The metaphor of the scale between sun up and sun down can represent any time period, but most naturally fits the day from dawn to dusk. It can be used as a reflective tool for reviewing the events of a significant day or it can be used to anticipate an important day ahead. The sun scale can be built as a reflective tool by asking and recording the answers to such questions as: • What were the key events that happened on this day? • What was their sequence? • Who was involved? • How were you (and any others) feeling as the events unfolded? • What strengths did you use to get through the day? • What could you have done differently? • What will you do differently next time? • What were the best, worst and funniest events that happened during the day? As a planning or time management tool that looks ahead to a forthcoming day you can ask: • What will be your priorities for this day? • What do you need to do first? • Are there any deadlines you need to stick to? • Which things should be done early on, say in the morning? • Which things can, or must, wait until later?
• Are you a morning, afternoon or an evening person? At what time of the day are you most energised? Do you plan your day with this in mind? • When in your day will you take time to refresh yourself and replenish your energy? The sun scale can also be used to consider long-term plans and goals: • How far advanced are you on the project you are working on? • What was it like when you were starting out? • What have been your achievements to date? • How far are you from achieving your goals? • What has to be done next? • How will you know that you have finished? • How will you celebrate your success? • When you look back what will have been the highlights?
THERMOMETER The thermometer was one of the first visual scales used by St Luke’s social workers. They used the thermometer scale as a stress management tool in their work with struggling families. Metaphorically, there is a nice fit between the idea of a fluctuating temperature and the fluctuations in the emotions we all experience – anger, happiness, tension, calmness, anxiety, contentment, etc. The thermometer scale has a whole range of applications for reflecting upon, and taking control of, any number of feelings. For example, it can be used as an anger management tool: • Have you ever hit boiling point (the top of the scale)? • What was it like? What happened? • How did this affect others? • How did you manage to cool down? • Does hitting boiling point happen often? Too often? • Is your experience of anger one where you are aware of your temperature increasing? For example, if boiling point is a 10 at the top of your scale, how is this different from being a 6 or an 8? • Are you aware of different thoughts, feelings and actions as your temperature increases? • Have you ever been aware of your temperature increasing and made some changes to avoid boiling point? • How have you managed to exert control over your anger? • From your experience of anger could you match different situations with the 10 points on the thermometer scale? For example what situations might cause you to be a 5? What is likely to be happening
to you? What are you likely to be doing? What about at a 7? • Could you identify a point when you feel you begin to lose control? • When you have reached this point how have you taken control back? • At each point on the scale, can you identify something you can do to reduce your temperature (anger) one degree? For example could you visit a friend, go for a walk, put on your favourite music? What else has worked for you in the past? Because anger is often relational it can be reactive to our perceptions of other people and of course, our demonstrated feelings will affect others. It can be useful if each person in a significant relationship (eg. a couple, a family) has an anger thermometer. • What does the other person see when you are at different temperatures? • How does their temperature affect you? • What happens if one person is boiling (say at a 9 or a 10) when the other is calm and cool (at a 2 or a 3)? • What has happened when you are both ‘boiling’ at the same time? • Are you aware of the buttons you can each push to raise the temperature in each other? • What are your most successful tactics for decreasing the temperature together? The thermometer scale has a wide variety of applications and can be used to notice, describe and manage a wide range of feelings depending upon the creativity and curiosity of the user. For example, calmness, enthusiasm, passion or self-control might be identified as the aim and placed at the top of the scale.
UPS AND DOWNS This is another delightfully simple scale that makes the point that in so many areas of our lives, little stays the same for long. Effectiveness, enthusiasm, happiness, energy levels and feelings all fluctuate; all have their ups and downs. Staff at St Luke’s first started to use the ups and downs scale a number of years ago to help clients recognise how their relationship with their particular problems rarely stays static. The way we experience problems and respond to them changes. While the problem itself might be confronting us over a period of time, nevertheless, our feelings about the problem will often vary from one day to the next. Put simply, we all may have bad days— but we have better days as well! Recognising that the dominance of problems is never constant allows for the identification of better days—those days when the power of the problem is diminished. Exceptions provide invaluable glimpses of what solutions might look like. The ups are like hill tops where we can stand above the clouds and feel more on top of the issues we face. Our journeys of ups and downs, highs and lows, peaks and troughs are always unique. Sometimes, the ups or the exceptions might feel insignificant, almost imperceptible. But the understanding that problems don’t cause unremitting bleakness— that exceptions to sadness, turmoil and despair do occur—helps keep hope alive and helps with the noticing of progress.
The ups and downs metaphor is quite poignant and has been used as a tool for normalising (many others also experience this) and reframing (looking at things differently) with individuals, groups and organisations. • How might the ups and downs scale describe your journey with your problem? • Can you tell us a story about an ‘up’ time, when the problem wasn’t pushing you around as much? • What was different about this time than when you were down in a trough? • What were you feeling, thinking and doing that was different? • What was your best ‘up’ time like? • Have there been other ‘up’ times that have not been quite so good but still better than being dominated by the problem? • What do you think you might learn from these times? • Where are you on your journey right now—going up or down? • What is one thing you can do to go one step higher or avoid going down a step? The ups and downs scale is a powerful reminder to all human service workers that often we only see people in their down times, when the problem is in control. Strengths-based practice assumes that ups exist even if they are unnoticed and that it is vital that the glimpses or snapshots we get of clients’ lives include their ups as well as their downs.
WATER TANK The tank scale is one of our favourites at Innovative Resources and is one we like to use often in our workshops. In part, this is because of the status of the corrugated iron tank as an icon of rural and remote Australia. The corrugated iron tank symbolises the harsh realities of European settlement: the hope, joys, despair, back-breaking work, frugality, stoicism and resilience. It is always interesting to see how the tank resonates as a symbol, particularly with older Australians—even those who have never depended on a tank. The tank scale can work as a metaphor for any experience that can be described in terms of fullness and emptiness. It might be energy or passion, imagination or creativity, hopefulness or courage, happiness or security. The inlet pipe allows us to list those things that fill the tank, the overflow pipe allows us to identify what things may over-fill the tank, and the tap invites us to think about what drains or empties the tank. Because we talk a lot about creativity in our workshops, that is the example I will use here. Imagine yourself as having a tank of creativity: • What are you thinking, feeling and doing when your tank is full to overflowing with creativity? • What do people see when you are at your creative best? • What things stop you from being like this all the time?
• Are you aware of what things ‘turn your tap on’ and drain away your creativity? • Does your tank leak? • What do you do when you feel yourself being depleted of creativity? • How do you replenish yourself and fill up your tank again? • Can you mark the rung where you are right now? • What is one thing you can do to go up one rung? • What are the critical levels on your tank when you start to worry that your creativity has disappeared? • Have you ever reached the bottom rung when you felt really empty of all creativity? • What was this like? • What did you do to recover? • How does your experience of the fullness and emptiness of creativity help you to understand and work with others who may be going through similar experiences? May we all have enough water in our tanks of creativity to be able to wash our feet often!
Tank scale—a story
By Di O’Neil, former EXECUTIVE OFFICER, St Luke’s Anglicare
I love the tank scale because it is so versatile and topical. It a metaphor for capacity; for confidence, knowledge, hope, motivation. It provides the framework for wonderful therapeutic conversations. And what’s more, it can be fun and memorable. A grandmother, let’s call her Marie, was raising her 15-year-old granddaughter. She and I engaged in a great conversation using the tank metaphor. A lot was happening for Marie and her family but we were focusing on how secure she felt about letting her granddaughter, Jodie, join her friends in their social activities. I asked her to draw a line across the tank that represents how secure she felt. Then I asked her what was keeping the line that high. She said: • Jodie always rang to say where she was. • She knew one of the other parents and thought this parent would make sound judgements about what her daughter could do. • She felt Jodie was a fairly cautious kid who had seen a lot of bad things happen in her life. We then focused on the inlet to the tank and we discussed the things that increased her sense of security. She said she felt secure when:
• Jodie went out on planned activities • she went out during the day • she, Marie, was not tired and grumpy before Jodie went out • she knew who she was with. Our focus then shifted to the outlet tap on the tank. What drained Marie’s confidence? She said she felt her confidence draining away when she: • remembered what a devil she herself had been at that age • heard terrible stories on the news • recalled her late daughter’s suffering • sat around imagining possible dangers. We noticed how normal all these were then set about thinking about how she could create more opportunities for the inlet influences to happen. We talked about how she could take more control over how often and how far the tap would be opened. We came up with some simple plans and we acknowledged that unless there was a constant in and out flow of water in a tank it can become stagnant. Opening the tap a little gave room for taking justifiable risk. Knowing how to stimulate a top-up gave courage and motivation.
ABOUT ST LUKE’S St Luke’s Anglicare was established by the Anglican Diocese of Bendigo in 1979 to provide welfare services to children, young people and families throughout north central Victoria. It grew from a couple of residential units in the regional city of Bendigo (Victoria, Australia) to a large multi-program community service organisation employing over 270 staff. Now independently incorporated, St Luke’s continues a strong association with both the Anglican and Uniting churches. One of the hallmarks of St Luke’s has been the willingness of both its board and staff to think beyond traditional ‘band aid’ approaches to service provision. St Luke’s has received broad recognition for its commitment to community building and social justice campaigning as well as its quality direct care services. In part, this reputation is built on the strengths-based philosophy that it has attempted to articulate. For over a decade St Luke’s strengths-based training has provided a foundation for all new staff coming into St Luke’s. In addition, it has inspired and informed thousands of other human service workers in hundreds of organisations throughout Australia and New Zealand. Innovative Resources builds on this practice training by offering a range of hands-on, highly interactive workshops that explore ways resources can be used to create change-oriented conversations.
ABOUT INNOVATIVE RESOURCES Innovative Resources emerged in the early 1990s as the publishing arm of St Luke’s Anglicare. Its aim was to ‘value-add’ to St Luke’s considerable experience in the provision of quality community services throughout north central Victoria, Australia.
We welcome feedback about any of our publications. Please visit our website www.innovativeresources.org where you will find a catalogue of our resources. While you are there you may want to subscribe to SOON (our free Seriously Optimistic On-line Newsletter).
Innovative Resources’ charter was to publish ideas that grew out of, or were inspired by, St Luke’s distinctive strengths-based approach to service delivery. Many of those early publications were tools that workers could use directly with clients in their family work and other community service roles, or in their community-building activities.
Looking forward to hearing from you.
This focus on the creation of original books, stickers and card sets that reflect strengths-based philosophy remains central to Innovative Resources’ vision. While we originally intended to create social work tools, we soon discovered that these tools also have a clear relevance to other human service domains such as education, business and management. Innovative Resources is small and does not receive government funds to support its publishing. After wages, royalties, and the ongoing development of new resources, we return a modest yearly sum to St Luke’s for use in its community service programs.
SERIOUSLY OPTIMISTIC WORKSHOPS If you have enjoyed The Scaling Kit or any of Innovative Resources’ other seriously optimistic materials and would like to explore our hands-on approach further, why not consider hosting one of our workshops? Innovative Resources has a team of experienced presenters who have shaped our publications and are happy to share their learnings with others. Our well-known ‘Tools of the Trade’ workshops are regularly offered throughout Australia, New Zealand and in other countries whenever possible. These highly creative tools workshops can run anywhere from two hours to two days. Our workshop packages include ways for working with: • Tools—energising, fun, interactive ideas and resources for invigorating your work and tapping your creativity • Journalling, poetry and short story writing—creative writing techniques and resources for therapeutic practice • Schools—teachers, welfare coordinators, mentors, counsellors and careers guidance staff • People who work with children, young people and adults—fresh ideas and resources for building self-esteem • Girls (especially at puberty) or boys—building identity and awareness • Business and organisations—exploring shared leadership, team strengths, cohesion and change
• Melancholy—creative ways of working with the blues and navigating change • Grief and loss resources—building therapeutic conversations with children and adults about bereavement, loss and remembering • Client-owned recording—and other paperwork tools for clientdirected practice. www.innovativeresources.org
To use the Scaling Kit interactive tool, simply open the ScalingMasters.html file from the DVD.