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Is her eyebrow raised in suspicion, or am I just imagining that? I lean forward onto the desk, smile, and am sure that I sit with an open posture to the client, giving her my undivided attention as we were taught in our Social Work Practice Lab.
The one thing that binds us all together is the opportunity we were offered to recreate ourselves as professional social workers—delicately, and at times clumsily, weaving together our experiences, worldview, compassion, and sense of self into the work we do.
With the best of intentions, we learn to apply the principles of social work, while at the same time we are still diligently taking notes late at night on exactly what those principles are. As I finish my first year of graduate school, I would like to reflect and share the experiences I have had with those entering the field.
The challenges that I have faced have been internal as well as external, as at times I have found myself in Essay field in reflection self social use work position of examining where I come from and how I view the world, to learning the seemingly endless implications of providing physical and emotional care to those in need.
Anxieties of the Unknown Prior to starting my field work in the fall, I had no idea what to expect. My first few weeks at the clinic, I was guided through the roles and responsibilities that the social workers carry out and what was expected of me.
I was grateful that I was given this time to observe, process, and ask questions. In this time, I learned that the clinic serves members of the surrounding community, which predominantly consists of first- or second-generation Latino immigrants.
I began to learn just how pivotal the role of a social worker is in securing benefits for our patients, and also just how much the patients depend on our assistance in navigating the system to receive them.
The myriad of needs that our patients presented with was overwhelming to me at first. I feverishly took notes after observing every session, and I did my best to remember the exact dialogue that was carried out between my supervisors and the patients to report in my process recordings.
My supervisors and I would discuss the details of the session afterwards, and I felt a rise in my confidence in how I would eventually carry out such a session on my own. Working Through the Discomfort When I began to carry out my first assessments independently, I experienced countless emotions.
I felt excited and eager to delve into the work, but also nervous and questioning about how much I would really be able to do on my own. My supervisors were close by if I had a question, and I utilized their guidance often.
Reflecting upon my first few months at the clinic, I recognize that I felt very unsure of myself and conflicted over the way I felt I was perceived, and how I would be able to relate to patients.
I felt it possible that there were judgments being passed on me in regard to my appearance and what that seemed to symbolize to the population I was working with.
Given that I was a young, white American female seemingly in this position of power, I felt that many of the patients were wary of me and had guarded responses to my questions.
At times, I began to feel a sense of inadequacy to help, given that the presenting problems of many of our patients are ones that I personally have not experienced. Being in a position in which you are expected to be of help, but have absolutely no idea really how to do so, can be quite disconcerting.
Given that I personally did not view myself as being in a position of power, as I was a student who felt as though she was stumbling along the helping process herself, it was a very uncomfortable situation to be in.
On top of this, at times there seemed to be cultural and linguistic barriers. Although I can speak Spanish fluently and lived abroad for years, all the cultural competency and ability to connect through shared experiences that I thought I had prior to starting this work seemed inadequate.
The concept that in certain situations I could be perceived as being part of the dominant majority group, instead of someone who can connect and understand based on shared cultural experiences, was unsettling to me.
It was through the process of working through this discomfort and acknowledging the systemic context of identity and culture that I was able to come to terms with my position.
As stated by Moespecially when the clinician belongs to the dominant majority group and the client to a minority group, it is important for the clinicians to explicitly address and acknowledge the dynamics of power as an integral part of the therapeutic process. I began to understand that my anxiety about how I was perceived and in what ways I could help our patients was a necessary part of the learning process that propelled me toward understanding myself as an aspiring professional as well as the needs of those I was serving.
Students must be emotionally invested in their work and experience some anxiety, as it serves as a motivating factor that stimulates students to work harder Shulman, I also found that if I ally myself with the patient, who in essence is the expert on his or her own life situation, and work toward finding a solution together by combing both our knowledge on the subject, we are able to make progress.
The Year Draws to a Close Since beginning my work at the health center, I have learned how to find the balance between empowering the patients we work with and making them active participants in the problem solving process.
Simultaneously, I also learned that meeting agency demands, as well as the expectations of professional and practice etiquette as a social worker, is a difficult and ongoing process.
It has taken hours of supervision with my mentors, as well as a great deal of self reflection, to understand that it is an ongoing process and one that is inherent in the professional life of a social worker.
Although there are still times when I find myself rolling my eyes when I hear my professors saying to sit with our discomfort, I begrudgingly have to admit that the concept holds weight.
This experience is challenging, overwhelming, exciting, and fulfilling, all at once.
What I can assure students entering this field is that you will be uncomfortable, and you will be forced to examine where you came from and what that signifies for the population with whom you are working. Not only will your supervisors, professors, and classmates be an integral source of support and understanding throughout this process, but I also believe the clients you work with will be, as well.
I have learned that when I ally myself with clients, it is as if the environment in the room has changed. I have found that if I crack a smile, allow a chuckle, or feel comfortable in asking patients to elaborate on exactly what they mean, we are able to establish a working alliance that eventually will allow them to get what they need.
I am a student, and I continue to be inexperienced in comparison to the multitudes of amazing and inspiring social workers I have met so far in my budding career.Keywords: BSW, social work education, self-reflection, teaching strategies, program evaluation, CSWE, EPAS In order to effectively prepare students for social work practice, it is important to become aware of and engage in.
Self-assessment is always a challengeable task because people always attempt to conduct a self-assessment but they do not always succeed in this regard. The main reason for the failure of the self-assessment is the inadequate self-esteem or self-awareness.
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Disobeying parents essay. The objective of this article is to explore social work students’ thoughts on self-reflection through reflective journaling. The intention of this qualitative study was to find more specific methods for social.
The use of self in social work practice is the combining of knowledge, values, and skills gained in social work education with aspects of one’s personal self, including personality traits, belief systems, life experiences, and cultural heritage (Dewane, ).
For me, self reflection helps me develop my skills and review how effective I can be, instead of doing thing randomly, through self-reflection, I will select what I need to do and what will help me achieve my future goals.