Today is my 14th Wedding anniversary. The day when the veil was pulled back and “two lives joined together to become one.” I thought what more of a perfect day to remove the veil once more and post my first blog as a Certified Therap Trainer. Implementation of Therap reminds me of marriage. The foundational steps are keys to having years of bliss: 1. Pre-Marital Counseling; 2. Becoming One; and 3. Communication.
I remember the months leading up to the day of matrimony. I remember marriage counseling or shall I say the “training” for a life of doing things differently. The minister told us that we had to look at our past lives as simply experiences and that we must create a new life together under new rules and agreements. But the blessing is that it will be easier because we are working in a partnership. I remember the doubt as I was “me” and did not want to change; I just wanted the addition of marriage without any change in me.
It all makes me think about experiences that we had embracing Therap in Washington DC. Knowing that Therap was going to be a change, we had to schedule “marriage” counseling. It was a good idea to start to prepare the staff for the implementation of Therap because it is often difficult for the “two to become one.” The fact is that staff has been living the “single” life for so long…meaning they have been working with paper since the beginning of time. They have adapted their work behavior and systems around the use of paper and paper although annoying at times is more comfortable. Multiple training sessions and showing the staff that everything (all data) they are accustomed to seeing in paper will be fully visual and usable for them in Therap. In a sense, their paper has been THERAP-A-IZED.
I chuckle now when I think about our first apartment together where we spent hours if not days trying to figure out “where do I put my stuff” because the new system of residing together did not look like our old system where we owned all the space and didn’t have to worry about systems. This process of “Becoming One” is most challenging as it requires actual work and paradigm shifts. It is the expectation meeting the reality. When we started to roll out Therap, everyone was ultra concerned about “where do I put my stuff?” All comments and concerns centered around “I need this form; what about this form, it is or is it supposed to look like this, or where do I put this?!!” Of course these are real needs and should be addressed. In the same way that my husband and I solved our dilemma by assigning drawer space and who gets what side of the closet; we created a “map” that served a minimum of two purposes: Where to put stuff and How to find stuff. We call this map at St. John’s Community Services-DC the “Master Filing Document.” Additionally, it tells all staff how to name or file attachments so that everyone will know how to recall things once stored.
What keeps a union going? What is it that really defines its success? I think the final stage in our implementation of Therap is one that is continuous and ongoing. This would be communication. Communication is continuous “checking in”. We have regular staff meetings where we encourage the staff to openly communicate or express any problems that they are having with the system or how to do something. In this way problems are addressed quickly and are not allowed to linger and become the reason why electronic documentation doesn’t work. I know so many couples that stated that they divorced or separated due to lack of communication.
I am looking forward to many more years of marital bliss. I am also looking forward to our industry evolving, becoming more synchronized, and sharing information more readily thus improving our communication to better serve people. I know that they say men are from Mars and women are from Venus, but I know that there is one place where we can be united as one….Therap.