Can you even a short-term, or a very short term service still be psychologically informed?

The simple answer is yes. Of course. In fact a short stay service may need it more than most.

Researchers will tell us that the people form judgements of each other in the first seven or eight seconds of meeting; and in a short stay service you need to use absolutely every resource at your disposal to create an atmosphere that encourages engagement and to begin to make a constructive relationship.

The way we use eye contact to validate someone’s existence; the way we use sound or touch; the lighting, the posters, the colour schemes,  the layout of the room and furniture - all of these convey a message which is instantly taken in by the eye and the brain; that’s how humans have evolved - to make such rapid judgements of safety and succour. The ways we use and think through all of these are among the key building blocks of a psychologically informed environment.

Whether a short or a medium or a long term service, the relationship skills - day to day, hour by hour - are central; and in a short term service or an encounter on the street, they may be the most valuable things you have. In a short term service, they may be almost the only things you have.

NB: For a thorough exploration of those immediate relationship and engagement skills with a person you may know nothing of, it's well worth a browse around the writings of Jay Levy on his pre-treatment approach.


Further background reading/listening/viewing

See also:

Ruth Franciska: Car, bus, tram or unicorn - why my car is a psychologically informed environment : HERE 

Dick Laban: Take a chance on me: on relationship building for those in the pre-contemplative stage of change : HERE

Genesis Housing Association, with Boex and Boex: Well-being by Design - the questions you might ask : HERE

A trauma informed design checklist: Design Resources for Homelessness, Florida : HERE

Claude Chevrier: The twinned meanings of 'welcome' and 'reception'  (L’acceuil) :  HERE

Kingsley Dawson: The Director of First Impressions (brief audio post) :   HERE

Stan Burridge: Three forms of identification and a letter from God : HERE

Robin Johnson: The eyes have it : HERE

Cockersell: PIEs Plus – more intensive services :  (Coming soon)


Plus there will be three practice examples from Scotland: Dunedin, East Kilbride, un-named  (Coming soon)


And all of the writings of Jay Levy on pre-treatment (PIElink Page HERE)