Podcast: Person-Centered Paradigms Expanded This Social Worker’s Approach

A woman talking to another woman and writing something in a notebook.

Medication doesn't necessarily deal with what's going on in the head and the heart.

The powerful impact of shifting one’s paradigm figures largely in the latest episode of Unrestrained. With a career in social work that spans nearly 40 years, Randy Frost candidly tracks the way that traditional clinical de-escalation tactics like chemical and physical restraint have given way to more evolved and humane approaches. Like viewing behavior less as “combative” and more like what it really is—communication. Has a distressed client truly lost the run of themselves, or are they simply struggling to communicate a very relatable fear that we’ve all had at some point in our lives?
In a wide-ranging interview that explores the way that mental health care is continuing to evolve, Frost shares the way his own perspectives have become more person-centered with the passage of time. “When you think about a state hospital institution, and I'm not bad-mouthing anybody, but even back then when I was licensed to give medication and it was pretty much just heavy doses of thorazine, and the patients, what they had to look forward to was cigarette breaks and food. I mean, there was not necessarily a great deal of therapeutic value, but it was really the medicine to keep them in control, and you certainly can't do that with anybody and everybody. I'm kind of an anti-medicine person. I know that sometimes you need it, you've got to have it, but I certainly, even in my counseling roles over the years, medication doesn't necessarily deal with what's going on in the head and the heart.”

A compassionate approach means viewing behavior less as “combative” and more like what it really is—communication.

As times change, evolving our thinking is more essential than ever. 

A more compassionate approach to dealing with behavioral health is, in Frost’s perspective, a critical component of supporting young adults in today’s culture. Modernity is another prominent undercurrent in this interview—he notes that young people in particular are contending with a new set of circumstances compared to prior generations. Adjusting his therapeutic approach has been central to supporting optimal outcomes for the teens in his care—but it’s also compelled him to continue working with other organizations to expand their perception of behavior and therapeutic rapport with the populations they serve.  
“I've done this for 38 years, and one of my goals every day is to get better,” Frost tells host Terry Vittone. He’s unafraid to look honestly at the past—it inspires his trauma-informed approach in the present. He cites moments of compassion and support that he’s been shown in his own life as the inspiration for nurturing his clients with constructive and person-centered support.

“I like to think I’ve given people the opportunity to believe in others and start to believe in themselves.”

This episode will speak powerfully to many audiences—psychiatric staff, youth counselors, Certified Instructors who are looking to evolve their organization’s perspectives on restraint, to name a few—but ultimately, Randy Frost’s story centers on the reality that the label of “most vulnerable” could apply to any one of us in life. As he shares honestly what he’s learned and the opportunities he’s seizing to help others continue to evolve their own thinking, he invites people to join him on this common ground.
A reflective spirit of gratitude, and a desire to continue learning, have pushed Frost to shift his paradigm and embrace every opportunity to support a positive outcome for the people in his care. And that hope and inspiration are good for all of us to hear. Don’t miss this interview.

Guest Biography

For the past 38 years, Randy Frost has been a social worker, behavioral specialist, mental health counselor, and crisis intervention trainer in hospitals, schools, treatment centers, and juvenile residential facilities. He has expertise in crisis prevention and intervention training, team building, leadership training, therapeutic camps, adventure-based counseling programs in schools and community-based settings, parenting workshops, life skills training and boot camps. Randy has degrees in social work and nursing with certifications in experimental therapy and youth development. Today, Randy is the Transition Coordinator, Staff Trainer, and Substance Abuse Councelor at the Paul Anderson Youth Home, a non-profit residential ministry facility for troubled boys and young men in Vidalia, Georgia.