The Paper Exchange

Gagged lost in file

Something a bit different this post, which even surprised me when it came out this way…

I’m a label, a sticker, a scrawl on a file
A person lost in the paper mile
That runs from birth to right here now
You know me but you don’t and I’ll tell you how

My name spells trouble, it’s written ahead
In the assessments, the reports, the letters you’ve read
You know my circumstance, my life, my woe
But any deeper you just won’t go

Alls you see is an impression, a view of me
Without affording me the privilege of being free
Free to break from my past and start afresh
Cos you pegged me already before our first sess

You decided who I was and what I’m about
Neutered me, silenced me, labelled me ‘lout’
You didn’t listen, you didn’t enquire
And consequently threw me on the ‘unworkable’ fire

All I ask for is a slate, clean each time
So I’m not reduced to a pointless mime
Where you decide I’m a goner before I’ve begun
And I flick you the finger and break out in a run

And you write your report, your assessment, my life
Bound up with the string of the imaginary strife
That you thought I would bring to my sessions with you
That rendered useless our relationship glue

The glue that would have led to trust and to change
To breaking down strongholds and rebuilding again
But instead I am captive, folded in a large piece of card
Of my past, preconceptions and the fact I appear ‘hard’

And my name on that file circulates once more
It gets transported through yet another organisational door
Where another professional opens it up
And decides I’m impossible while they sip from their cup

It isn’t intentional, it isn’t malicious
It just has an end result that’s pernicious
That stops you from seeing me, listening, connecting
One of us hits the button, we end up ejecting

So please remember my file is just paper, words and views
Informing of facts and pertinent issues
But if you want to know me let me tell you my tale
That’s the view you’ve got to work with, if progress will prevail

So please stop shuffling the paper me around
And stop, talk and listen and then I might just be found
The person in 3D with feelings, with capacity to change
Just give me the time, the effort, the opportunity to exchange.

  • Stephan Friedrich

    Powerful stuff. I would urge all case managers, counselors and workers to print this out and stick it on the office wall!

  • Sara

    Your posts take my breath away… thank you for caring about kids who have been given a tough set of circumstances.

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  • Robert

    Very thought provoking amd the reason I only use risk assessments as history guidelines and not starting points for future working relationships

  • ParentontheEdge

    I am sorry but I could not read this blog. I started to cry before I got past. The second stanza. Very powerful, really important. Everyone should read it. For me it is just too close to the bone. My son was there not so long ago. Thankfully we were able to turn it around but it was an incredibly painful time for him and us.

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