Intervention Design Project: The Intervention
For this paper section, you are taking what you found in your analysis section and turning it into an applied communication intervention. The beginning of section should start with something like, “because of X finding, I am choosing to include Y.” Choose a style of intervention that best suits your population and data. Give as much detail as you can as what is going into the intervention, how it should be implemented, and who should implement it. Finally, say what your intervention will contribute back to communication theory. See Frey and SunWolf (2009) for a list of intervention ideas (pp. 40-41). Below those intervention examples is a sample intervention section that I wrote.
In every interview, I asked each respective participant what they would like to see in an intervention to help patients in intensive OCD treatment return to work or enter the workforce for the first time. One of the main issues participants discussed was a desire to know how to broach the topic of OCD at work. Some wanted to know how to disclose their OCD at work so they could acquire accommodations, some so they could explain their symptoms to their supervisors, and some so they could share with their coworkers so they felt like they had an understanding friend at work. With these desires known, an applied intervention at the intensive treatment level seems particularly appropriate, guiding patients through the future interactions they may face in the workplace.
Given the arguments made in this study, a practical intervention at the treatment level should feature strategic ways in which patients could craft their organizational identity narrative using specific discursive resources, while explaining these discursive resources in specific ways. Organizational scholars often resist referring to discursive resources as though they’re on a “menu,” and this study supports that resistance, as the reference tends to ignore the cultural impact of which discursive resources are available to individuals at a given time and context. However, engaging with the idea of identity empowerment discussed earlier, and continuing with the “menu” metaphor, I’d like to suggest that communication interventionists could potentially supply patients with OCD a small, tri-fold, to-go menu with a few, particularly salient dishes and descriptions. This menu could be memorized, rehearsed, and ready to go at a moment’s notice. In having access to and using such a menu, individuals with OCD could be discursively empowered to negotiate their organizational identity in interaction. The discursive resources on the menu would be tailor-made for each patient and could include normalizing scripts, organizational scripts, medical scripts, and personal life scripts that could prepare patients for potential challenges and threats to their organizational identity.
With the need for such specific exploration of discursive resources, a one-on-one setting for the intervention seems most appropriate. For example, a communication scholar could sit down with a patient in intensive OCD treatment for one hour increments at a time, first asking questions about the level of disclosure they would like to present at their job (this may change later, when they are actually working at the job, so all levels of disclosure should be discussed), that is, what they want others to know about their OCD diagnosis and symptoms. Once the level of desired disclosure has been determined, the interventionist would then ask the patient about their specific OCD manifestations and how they might come up at work. The patient and interventionist would then work together to determine exactly how they want to present the patient’s OCD, deciding on what discursive resources should be used, and how those discursive resources should be explained. If a patient were to decide on a more “normal” tale, that is, doing their best to hide all manifestations of OCD and not disclose their diagnosis to anyone, the interventionist should discuss ways to manage this tale. Strategies for managing the tension of a “normal” tale might be eventually sharing the diagnosis with one trusted person at work or meeting with a support group outside of work to discuss their struggles with OCD at work. If a patient were to decide on a “struggle” tale, that is, disclosing their OCD diagnosis and/or explaining their OCD manifestations using medical discursive resources or personal experiences, the interventionist should discuss ways to manage this tale. Strategies for managing the tension of a “struggle” tale might be keeping an activity log at work to turn into a supervisor weekly or monthly, to not only provide management with proof of competence, but to also help maintain a sense of normalcy for the patient.
The interventionist would then create a written plan of strategy. Each discursive resource for the “to-go menu” should be explicitly defined and explained in the written plan. The definitions and explanations should be decided upon together by the patient and the interventionist. The definitions and explanations could be memorized by the patient or could be turned into a professional-looking pamphlet that could be given to a supervisor or human resources department.
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