Holistic Fishing

Holistic fishing: What are holistic referrals?

By Ted Hanley (Originally written January 1997; updated September 2016)

What are holistic referrals? In simple terms, if a person is hungry and does not know from where the next meal will come or where to sleep that night, it is pointless, perhaps cruel to recommend education, employment, therapy or support groups until the more basic needs are met. Using common sense, doing first things first is kinder and more effective.

Toward the ever-popular goal of making people self-sufficient we are told, "give a person a fish and he eats for a day; teach a person to fish to eat for a lifetime." So, does one serve fish or hand out fishing poles? And given a world in which each individual is different in age, abilities and needs add in the cost of a fishing license, and let's face it, there are no simple answers. Or are there?

Seeking simplistic responses to complicated problems is a form of denial which leads to avoidance of the ultimate solution. An unhealthy community puts unrealistic demands on various members and contributes to their demoralization and destruction. Frequently, this results in identifying those least capable or most needy as scapegoats and blaming them for the costs and complications of care.

Inner city labor pools are an example in which chronically addicted or mentally ill people attempt to do back-breaking labor for low wages. They become discouraged, injured or sick as their meager resources feed the problem instead of the solution. Other community members become hardened and write them off as lazy. There are thousands of individuals and families caught in these vicious cycles with little hope of escape.

A healthy community, on the other hand, recognizes the need for a "continuum of care" or a spectrum of services and assistance; first, meeting the daily needs of its members, providing for healthy stages of growth and personal development and ultimately encouraging each person to develop to the maximum level of independence and responsibility.

Following the fishing analogy, a healthy community serves fish to those who are too young, too old, too infirm, temporarily incapacitated or permanently unable to fish, while teaching the able bodied and young how to fish.

This bodes the question of who provides the poles and the bait, while someone is managing the current catch and determining in a dignified way who can and who cannot fish. Again following the analogy, by "networking" It becomes a community effort establishing a continuum of care.

Introductory courses in psychology and sociology often present "Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs".

Essentially, Maslow tells us that toward the goal of becoming "self-actualized" one must gradually develop and maintain the following levels of personal growth:

• Physiological need for air, food, water, sleep and warmth.

• Develop security, stability, find shelter, safety and clothing,

• Form relationships, affiliations, develop affection, acceptance, belongingness, friendship and approval,

• Develop esteem, self respect, confidence, competence, recognition and status.

• Become self-actualized through recognition of one's fullest potential.

Long before Maslow, early Scriptures offered guidelines on helping others:

• Feed the hungry,

• Give drink to the thirsty,

• Clothe the naked,

• Shelter the homeless,

• Visit the imprisoned,

• Tend to the sick,

• Bury the dead.

As a community struggles with its own "self-actualization", it must recognize that whether the approach is purely academic or takes a spiritual pathway, it must develop in stages, attend to first things first and provide a continuum of care that embraces all members of the community. The goal of a healthy community should be to draw from all aspects of its makeup; secular, religious, academic, business, recreational developing strategies that appeal to body mind and spirit. Recognizing the need for integrated, holistic care, The Jesse Tree has spent over twenty years developing programs and processes that utilize technology to more quickly and more effectively connect people to the care they need. We have learned that:

• Most people cannot navigate the system alone; a trusting, on-going relationship is often the foundation for successful problem solving,

• Chronic problems do not go away by themselves; combinations of chronic health and social problems make it nearly impossible to regain health and viability, eithout significant intervention, education and a specific, holistic plan,

• Each person and family requires an individualized plan; the plan must integrate healthcare, social services, faith-based and community resources,

• It takes as long as it takes to solve complicated problems,

• Technology improves the quality, dignity, delivery and effectiveness of service,

• Physhing is easy, exciting, effective and fun!

Just as there is a continuum of wealth in our community spanning from the very rich to the severely impoverished, there is also a continuum of attitudes and understanding that ranges from those who would blame and punish the poor for their plight, to those who stretch out a compassionate and dignified hand to gently lift those who suffer.

The Jesse Tree seeks to relive suffering, while discovering the root causes of that suffering by:

• Clearly recognizing that the person with the problem must drive the solution,

• Active listening, identifying immediate needs, healthcare complications, available resources, obstacles and potential barriers to care,

• Gathering all pertinent information through screening, triage, Universal application and planning, relying on technology for ease and speed of the process,

• Creating an enrollment portfolio to gather all pertinent documents and information before the enrollment process or case-management begins,

• Identifying all chronic health and social problems and implementing a common-sense formula to break these cycles. The formula includes; education, daily monitoring, positive behavioral change, evaluation and support,

• Using a planning process that addresses immediate, short-term, long-term and adherence agreements,

• Identifying and avoiding gaps in the continuum of care; filling them or encouraging others to fill them,

• Relying on common sense, practicing works of mercy and monitoring the dignity, happiness and effectiveness of the overall experience,

The Jesse Tree has recently collaborated on the development of the Jesse Tree "App" which puts this process at the tip of your finger. Three-fourths of the world's population now has access to mobile phones. Although we are not a social service agency, healthcare provider, or church, but, we are the fastest, faith-based way to connect a person to the care they need. The App guides the user through the steps of an integrated, holistic effective plan of action; gathers the demographic and statistical data necessary to monitor and evaluate progress and ultimately teaches the individual to solve problems, improve health outcome measurements, rise above poverty and improve independency and self-sufficiency.

We need your help.

• Contribute your time, talent and treasure to expand this network of mercy in our region.

• Actively promote this effective way of uplifting those who live in poverty and

• Contact us for a demonstration of the Jesse Tree App

The Jesse Tree has the fishing poles and bait. We live on an island, so there's plenty of room to learn how to fish…without catching anyone else's dinner! The Jesse Tree is a 501c3, non-profit organization; Contact us at (409) 762 2233 or (409) 682 6218; on the web at www.jessetree.net or email info@jessetree.net

Ted Hanley is the founder and creative director of The Jesse Tree, Inc. a faith-based, non-profit organization in Galveston, Texas.