With modest pride, we present our accountability pod, an autonomous way to be accountable for our actions. We are happy to tell you why we do this, what this is, and what this means for the people who work with us.We, Legien Warsosemito-Schenk, Roos Reijbroek, Tanya Rozenthal and Wilrieke Sophia are professionals in the field of sexuality, intimacy and relationships. Our activities differ from each other; from consultancy to bodywork, from retreats to session work, from therapy to pleasure experiences. Our personal backgrounds are also different; we differ in terms of gender, sexual preference, ethnicity, neurodiversity, education, nationality, work experience and age. We value what we each do, and have no business interests in each other’s companies.
What we have in common is that it is not easy for each of us to join a regular professional group in the Netherlands. This is, for example, because our work is “self-created” and not regulated, because our profession in the Netherlands is too small, because our activities are too diverse, because we work in niche communities and therefore cannot meet certain conditions, or because we feel uncomfortable in an institutionalized large-scale group.
We work with clients and communities in vulnerable settings. That is precisely why we find it extra important to reflect on our work ethics and to be accountable for our actions. We are human like anyone else and despite our best intentions we sometimes misjudge, make a mistake and cause suffering. When it comes to sexuality, intimacy and relationships, integrity extends beyond the legal. We have therefore autonomously designed the advantages of a professional group, namely reflection and complaint handling, in a way that suits us: an accountability pod.
The idea of accountability comes from transformational justice, in which change is central (instead of punishment or exclusion). An accountability pod is a group of people that gathers together when something has gone wrong. Because general apologies or arguments about who’s to blame often do not solve anything, an accountability pod focuses on the interests of the person who has experienced an incident, what that person needs to be able to continue in a balanced way, and thus not on punishing the person who has caused that incident. However, the person who caused suffering is held responsible for their actions by the pod. The emphasis here is not on penance, but on clarifying behavioural patterns, changing them and being publicly transparent about this if this can serve the reporter and the community. You can read exactly how it all works [here].
For anyone who interacts with us in our professional role, this means the following: have you had an experience with us in which we have caused you harm, or in which you feel we have failed? And is it not possible for you, for whatever reason, to talk about this directly with that person? Then you can approach the accountability pod. Any report is taken very seriously and the interests of the reporter are paramount. The accountability pod takes care of the emotional needs of you as a reporter and of the structuring of your report. We think along about whether and how you want to involve the person who caused the suffering and if you want to talk to them, we provide mediation. In addition, we keep each other on our toes in a monthly intervision meeting that is completely devoted to work ethics: what is good and right? What responsibilities do we have in complex situations? Where can we expand our awareness of positions of power and other privileges?
Although we are committed to each other, the importance of integrity and care is the starting point, even if it is difficult and confrontational. While we hope to get few messages, we are very happy if you reach out to us. It is precisely on this personal level that we make the difference between painful silence and equal transparency.
Find the Pod here: www.exploringdeeper.com/feedback