Sometime in the first half of May, Bobby Sharpe and Stoyki Meyer, probably along with a couple more clinical staff and an administrator, will have another meeting with Gus and me. The purpose of the meeting will be to collaborate toward helping Gus get out of slavery. (I do know that's not how anyone but I would put it, but this is my blog.)
Bobby and Stoyki will approach the project as medical people, i.e., ultimately the way to free Gus will be some perfect combination of drugs to fine-tune his brain for being more social.
Some plantation staff will approach the project as coercive persuaders, i.e., ultimately the way to free Gus will be to present him with some perfect combination of threats and controlled choices to force his behavior into conformity with others' standards, and thereby piss off fewer neighbors.
A few might approach the project as one of changing Gus' mind about a specific pet principle or principles which they believe to be universally true and beyond all limits of value, e.g., "Love God," "Love thy neighbor," "The majority rules," or "Arrive first and strike a hard blow."
Personally, I see the project as one of real communication with Gus resulting in the accurate exchange of ideas between him and those who have influence over or interest in his freedom, so that the world that's real to Gus and the world that's real to others are closer to being the same.
Each of these approaches to the project of freeing Gus probably has some value. For May's staffing, I suggest the following procedure, to enable as much valuable input as possible:
1.) Each person who will participate in the staffing should receive in advance via email, and acknowledge receipt via return email, a copy of these 16 "Staffing Group Norms" -
a) We respect one another.
b) We use our time well.
c) We are fully present with our focus, intellect, professional acumen, emotions, understanding and humor.
d) We are open, candid, honest and direct. We are as truthful as we can be.
e) We strive to understand what others say, feel, and believe.
f) We listen.
g) We do not interrupt.
h) We ask questions.
i) We engage in orderly dialogue and discussion.
j) We remember that we attack only issues or differences of opinion, never individuals.
k) We take silence to indicate agreement.
l) We each endeavor to look at what is best for the recipient of services at EMHC as the institution exists, in the context of the court orders that are legally in effect, even when that may not align perfectly with our own personal approach to mental health or criminal justice.
m) We speak (in the staffing) as equals, without rank or title, status or pretense.
n) As a group, we seek relevant facts, and let go of rumor, hearsay or misinformation.
o) We expect to learn from each other and achieve practical consensus.
p) We take time to debrief after each staffing, to whomever should know about it.
2.) At the beginning of the staffing, each participant should read one of the norms, in sequence. (They should not be read to everyone else by the social worker or a host or leader of the staffing.) Everyone should participate in reading them aloud, and state his or her agreement.
3.) All participants should further agree that when any norm is violated, the violator should be called out by the participant who notices the violation, or ideally, by the violator him or herself. All participants are charged with maintaining the whole group's adherence to the 16 norms. (As an example here, I now call myself out, for my first three paragraphs above, which violate Staffing Group Norm a, by disrespectfully calling Drs. Sharpe and Meyer "Bobby" and "Stoyki", and by my analogy of EMHC as a slave plantation.)
The above is just my suggestion, but it's based on my friend's major success in relevant circumstances. I'd love any feedback from anyone!