Youth AOD services and practitioners strive to achieve integrity and authenticity in their dealings with young people. This involves more than the basic honesty and truth telling valued and pursued by all health and welfare organisations.
Young people are acutely sensitive to the importance of receiving honest and open communication from adults about issues that affect them so that they can begin to make decisions for themselves. Throughout their lives, many youth AOD clients have been subject to control by authorities such as Child Protection and Youth Justice Services that have made important life-shaping decisions on behalf of young people. While these controls and decisions are exercised in the best interests of these children, they are frequently regarded in a negative light by clients as they reach adolescence and begin to seek independence. As a result, many youth AOD can be highly mistrustful of government authorities and other social institutions due to perceptions that information relevant to their interests has been withheld, poorly communicated, or even manipulated by adults with authority over them. Re-establishing trust through relationships based on honesty, openness and transparency is essential to making an effective transition to independent adulthood that involves productive connections with social institutions.
Striving for honesty and transparency For example, consistent with our value of acceptance and respect, and the distinction between the person and the behaviour, we strive to be as honest as possible in communicating our views and concerns about behaviours that we consider harmful to the young person or the service environments that we are maintaining for the benefit of all clients.
At the level of interpersonal relationships, honesty in feedback about behaviour also helps demonstrate and reinforce our value of accepting the person despite unacceptable behaviour.
Authenticity and integrity, and its recognition by young people, is essential to the establishment of trust. This in turn is required to establishing a therapeutic relationship and creating the conditions for an open exchange of information.
Authenticity and integrity also has an organisational dimension. This is reflected in open and honest communication between staff members, transparency of decision-making within and between all of its organisational structures and in relationships with colleagues in other organisations.