Dependency to Dignity

ABOUT Vivienne Schultz

Vivienne Schultz



Have you ever battled and burned your fingers to help stagnant, entitled and disempowered employees, colleagues,clients,communies, loved ones and friends, to the point that you have lost the motivation,energy and power to fight the battle to create change? Are you passionate about managing change and inspiring motivation in others? This book aims to equip you with an in-dept understanding of the roots of the entitlement, dependency problem and provide easy-to -use tools needed to move those around you to higher occupational intelligence towards internal sustainability; from A-levels (dependent volitional levels) to B-levels (responsible and self actualisational levels)

It took Vivienne Schultz, who invented the A2B model, 17 years of studying different theories and models and implementing them in different blends in poor semi-urban communities in South Africa and sub Saharan Africa, before she could cultivate a perfect fit that could ignite a great burning human spark that led to sustainable human and community development. The A2B model is based on the schools of thought that argue that knowing and growing are inseparable from “doing”. It scientifically applies tasks, tools, materials, IT, people and situational challenges as powerful intervention tools to improve human volition. This leads towards a positive response, participation and performance that eventually lead to independence, self reliance and even to social entrepreneurship. The healing power of “doing” has been documented as early as 30 BC by the Roman writer Seneca. It’s from this early that the medical profession saw that activity is a tool for bringing healing. In fact the Greek physician Galen said in 172 AD, “work is natures best physician and essential to human happiness”. From this understanding the occupational therapy profession evolved as did the science of Occupational Science which studies humans as “occupational beings”. The A2B model also has its roots in a theory developed by Vona Du Toit in early 1970. Du Toit was South African occupational therapist (OT) who based her creative ability (MCA) theory on the work of Buber, Rogers and Piaget and the work carried out in Israel by an occupational therapist and a psychiatrist, Weinstein and Schossberger. MCA was developed as an assessment and rehabilitation tool for intervention with patients suffering from medical or psychological illnesses. It enabled the therapist to assess a patient’s occupational performance levels before and during the therapy process, to map progress and help plan intervention. Du Toit described the sequential development of a client’s response to tasks and defined seven developmental phases. She described each phase in terms of the differences in the quality of the clients responses to tasks and related these responses to volitional levels. She confirmed that activity is the catalyst for volitional development process to occur. Du Toit also found that a big factor inhibiting volitional growth is anxiety and that injury or pathology can cause regression on volitional levels. As OT, Vivienne was trained in MCA. Although it was a valuable model for assessment, monitoring and planning of human capacity building, Vivienne kept encountering large areas in socio-economic occupational functioning that this theory did not address. After graduating as an occupational therapist in 1986, Vivienne worked at Garankuwa Hospital and after that at Sebokeng Hospital in SA. These hospitals were some of the less popular choices for aspiring OTs in a country still under the Apartheid regime. Both were in remote, zero-resourced areas and perceived by most whites as unsafe and unclean. Vivienne rehabilitated previously disadvantaged clients who suffered from disabilities caused by spinal cord injury, strokes and burns. In this work she developed a passion for holistic empowerment and work rehabilitation. In spite of the apartheid era, where whites would not risk their lives in the “dangerous” black townships, Vivienne broke the rules. With good intentions, and as part of what she believed was her rehabilitative duty, she followed clients to their semi-rural homes to help them find solutions for activities of daily living such as toileting, bathing, cooking, sleeping, transport, and earning She discovered shocking realities and as a professional claiming to do holistic rehabilitation, it made her acutely aware of the inadequacies of performing clinical rehabilitation only during the hospitalisation phase. Inaccessibility of roads and home environments, lack of adapted transport, family ignorance of disability matters, weak educational structures, and poverty perpetuating cultural practices were some of the realities that annulled all her professional rehabilitative efforts.Ninety-nine percent of her clients lost their jobs ... forever. She found herself at the deathbed of people with spinal cord injuries who died of septicaemia caused by bedsores. Vivienne believed that these clients’ lack of purposeful socio-economic participation in occupation caused their holistic decline into death. The clients were stripped of their identity as occupational beings and the ensuing meaninglessness lead to a depressed and passive emotional state. This psycho-physical passivity led to the insufficient blood supply resulting in bedsores and ultimately their death. Vivienne also worked in communities in Malawi and Mozambique. Here she witnessed to a greater or lesser extent, the impotence of material hand-outs and vulnerability of skills development programs against the poison of the 5P”s discussed in part 1. New roads ended up with potholes and training certificates yellowed on walls while dependants remained dependent and in volitional deprivation ... even in the highest circles. In witnessing the sobering reality in the marginalised communities of Southern Africa, Vivienne became determined to develop indigenised grassroots programmes that could achieve sustainable socio-economical empowerment for disadvantaged people in Africa. In an attempt to bridge the intervention gaps, Vivienne studied and implemented every imaginable method and model from counselling, coaching, specialised therapeutic intervention, entrepreneurial training, accredited training, giving food and hand-outs, helping with free registration of companies and shop-fitting containers for start-up businesses, and finally to providing interest free start up loans. She came to the conclusion that the problem with all these methods and theories was that they were developed for eliciting change in First World or institutional settings where volitional development is not the main purpose or where circumstances are clinically controlled, sterile and where the 5P”s are not so viciously at play. In the early days of the development of the A2B model, the “filaments” that Vivienne tried sparked off only short to medium term light and her efforts and interventions did not burn long enough for the clients to keep the flame alive on their own. Her efforts were not sustainable and transformational enough to keep the lights burning. Once she exited the picture, most people’s lives went back to the darkness of dependency and waiting until a next external “spark” would come along. Despite all the help, it was not helping sustainably! Vivienne’s respect in humans’ abilities to heal themselves never seized, and she realised that her intervention strategy with clients needed to be the developed into receptive filaments and that clients needed a holistic spark far more potent than the spark of conventional person-centred rehabilitation, affirmative hand-outs and conventional skills training. They needed a power shift ! Many projects and lots of resources later, the A2B model of transformative intervention was born as Vivienne integrated all that she learnt and experienced over a period of 17 years. She finalised the model and called A2B after one client spoke in the media about his life change: ”Ma- Vivienne’s program has moved me from A to B in my life!

[2011/08/13 09:30:02 PM] Anonomous- professional working in a program for HIV children and adults : Reading the Book” dependency to Dignity” the book  was a shock to my consciousness!!!...

Wow!- I’m soberly realising, how I have also been a fly in the ointment of change, - not agreeing with all the in conducive cultural disempowerment going on, hurting me deep in my heart, but struggling with no tools despite all my professional qualifications –it's all theory! And empowerment is hardcore stuff, and this book gives it to us straight and truthful, based on proper experience. I so often gave over to defeat, yet I stayed in limbo because i had no alternative that was effective with the disempowerment level of the Africans.

And then shocked even more by the deep realisation that me being the high-energy expending practitioner,  has minimal sustainable outcomes... It's an amazing A2B scale to us efor all applications: it's an eye opener to realise that I’m on A levels in my own work tasks; A2 or maybe maybe only maybe occasionally A3 in some tasks of work – needless to say it’s true! – now I know why i have felt so ineffective, always felt there must be more to making change happen...- i knew I can’t be putting in so much energy for this little amount of results.... there needs to be more effectiveness and transformation!  This A2B book is the HUMAN EMPOWERMENT BIBLE! I keep it with me everywhere I go! It's a guidebook that saved me in the work I do! I have new hope for the disempowered!