Sunday, October 2, 2011


Well, things at my internship have been steadily gaining more and more excitement. I was able to sit in on an anger management assessment with a client with another intern who has prior experiencing doing intakes. I don't do too well with anger. In fact, I don't do too well with big, muscular intimidating angry men either, not to mention it was the first time sitting in with a client! All I can say was I could barely breathe. I was afraid to look at him for fear of him "thinking" I was judging him or something as he told very personal stories...and being that the other intern was already staring at him, I didn't want to add on another set of eyes to make him feel anymore uncomfortable than he may have already felt. I certainly would have felt a bit uncomfortable sitting in a tiny room with two social work student interns asking me a bunch of questions! By the end of that session, which took forever, my hands were tired from being clenched together so tightly, and I felt like I hadn't breathed in years. It was an exhilarating experience though. I could literally feel how angry he was and how frustrated he was with this given could feel his adrenaline...and his sense of severity in this given situation throughout the energy in the room. 

I was also able to sit in and observe a new social worker at work (she was an intern at the agency, and was hired soon after) as she did an assessment on a teenager girl on PINS. I then thought for sure afterwards that working with teenagers would be VERY enjoyable for me. This particular client was easy to engage, somewhat ready yet hesitant to change, and I noticed a lot of strengths she had.
I'm incredibly jealous of the social worker there. She's young, energetic, beautiful, charismatic, extroverted and bubbly, and she just throws in humor throughout the session...which works out perfectly at certain times. I know professors tell you everyone eventually develops their own style in terms of being a social worker, but wow, I wish I had half her charm and confidence! After the session, I complimented her on how well she does, how natural and comforting she comes off, blah, blah, blah. She said soon enough, when I'm ready, I'll be meeting with my own set of clients. Nothing could have scared me more than that! I'm so very, very excited, but nervous that I'll mess something up. Nothing feels natural at this stage. It's still SO new, and I hope I can get to the point where the session flows naturally and doesn't feel like a game of 50 questions.

My biggest downfall will be my lack of confidence...but that's always been the case.
How do I go about developing confidence? Not only do I have poor self-esteem, but I'm (sometimes) shy when meeting new people for the first time. All of this needs to kind of step aside though...for now, at least.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Exposure Therapy.

“Unless you try to do something beyond what you have already mastered, you will never grow.”

Well, not much has happened internship-wise. Last week was my first week, and we haven't been able to get to any actual social work yet. Monday was the golf fundraiser to raise money for the agency and the programs and services they provide, and Wednesday was moving day. After 50-something years, the office is finally moving to a much bigger one as their services continue to grow. Wednesday was a pretty nontraditional start for my first week of internship. For the day, myself, my supervisor, other interns, and staff unloaded trucks with furniture, cleaned, and organized. 
I didn't mind at all. It gave me some time to get to meet the other interns. I am looking forward to tomorrow though, we're we'll actually be working on things. 

It's interesting meeting the other interns. Interesting, yet intimidating. Everyone seems to be on their best behavior, everyone is dressed to impress, everyone is polite, and eager, and everyone seems to be kissing up to someone! That's how it always works though. Whenever there's new people in a group there's bound to be competition of some sort. Especially on my part. I'm horribly competitive to a fault! It's the perfectionist attitude in me. My supervisor was asking us questions about diagnoses in the DSM and the 5 axis, and the intern got the answer before me. I'm so hard on myself, I kept saying in my head "I should know this stuff...I know it, how'd I forget it"? 
One thing I do know for sure is that I need to go clothes shopping. Every intern has perfect fashionable outfits and accessories. I, on the other hand, lack fashion-anything. 

My thing is I need to stop being so serious. If I'm taking things TOO seriously, I can't learn properly, and that's not good. 

I'll be anxious to see what happens tomorrow. I do know eventually I'll be in charge of my own group and meet with clients to do intake assessments. The groups sound interesting. They have Eating Disorder support groups, Anger Management, Relapse Prevention, and Buddy mentoring programs for children of incarcerated mothers. 

Wish me luck this week!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Catastrophic Thinking.

"Catastrophic thinking is ruminating about irrational worst-case outcomes."

The above is something that I can truly identify with in all aspects of my personal life, but especially right now as it relates to my future as an intern, and my future as a potential social worker. I always think of the worst case scenario in terms of  everything. This coming week is the big week. The start of my first undergrad internship for the year. It's like a big test, and it's a pretty serious one at that. 
With anything new that we're trying out for the first time for ourselves, I think it's normal for anyone to question certain things like "am I going to be good enough, will I accomplish what I set out to, and will I know my stuff." I think those relate even more so to a student/intern social worker. 

I don't think it's just the student/intern social workers that question this though. I also think it's probably a good handful of social workers with even years under their belts. With this type of work we're doing, we're so busy evaluating and assessing clients, but it's also imperative we assess ourselves and develop and deepen our own sense of self-awareness. I guess what I'm trying to say is that I'm sure everyone has doubts about their ability to be a social worker sometimes...but I know in my heart it's something that I'm meant to do...and with that, I hope it does eventually become a natural thing with practice. 

With all these new fears and anxieties I have about the upcoming week and year and so on and so forth, I need to remind myself that nothing in life worth having comes easily. No one ever said it would be easy. I need to remind myself that I know enough and feel enough empathy alone to automatically lend me a helping hand on my journey towards helping others. 

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

New Transitions.

Next week starts internship for the year. For my undergrad field placement, I'll be at a drug and alcohol referral center that utilizes brief motivational interviewing as their type of therapy, and has a wide variety of services they offer, and groups they provide. I think I've changed my mind about a million times about what area of social work I'd like to go into. There's just so much to choose from, which is what appeals to me the most about the profession. In a way, I'd like to experience all areas of social work, because I think it's great and beneficial to experience everything at least once in order to get a better understanding...because in one way or another, every area affects the other in some way. I decided I want to try the substance abuse area, because it's something I've always been interested in learning about. I do sometimes worry that I won't be amazing in that area though. I sometimes worry it won't be for me. Ultimately, I'd love to be a medical social worker. I'll worry about that in my grad school placement though! One thing I do know for sure is is that I need to stop making such strict plans for a future that hasn't even happened yet :)

I'm incredibly nervous about my first day of internship. Nervous and excited. Anxious because I don't know what to expect. Excited because it's like stepping into reality which stemmed from a simple dream. Will I be good enough? Will I know enough? Will people/clients take me seriously enough? Will I remember everything so I can write my process recordings? What WILL I actually do?

My first day on Monday I'll be at an annual golf fundraising event which seeks to raise money in order to benefit my agency and the services they provide. I don't know anyone, only met my supervisor once for my interview, and things sound like they'll be hectic! It'll be cool to be able to see social work at the macro level though, and be able to learn about the agency in this type of way.

I guess you could say "nervous" is an understatement. We'll see how it goes. All I know is are supervisors ALWAYS this busy?!! ::sigh::

New beginnings + Introduction

This blog will be used solely to document experiences as they relate to the field of social work, as well as personal experiences of my own. I will write about what it's like to be a 'future social worker' on my journey through undergrad/grad school, as well as my thoughts regarding what it's like to be an undergrad intern at an agency for the year. Agency name plus individual client names will be kept private, as confidentiality is something that's important not only to the profession of social work, but to myself as well.

I spoke to my adviser (field liaison) yesterday about my concerns regarding senior year as well as being an intern next week for the year. She reminded me that often this is a year for transformations and a tremendous amount of growth for students/interns. She explained that many students' "break down" during this process, but through this transformation, and through their personal struggles, emotional growth is inevitable. To make a long story short, what she said to me really stuck with me, because as hesitant and cautious and fearful as I am to begin this process, I'm also looking forward to learning about myself both as an individual, and as a future professional in the field. This year will, without a doubt, be challenging and full of new beginnings, but these experiences will ultimately lead me onto the path of bigger and better things for myself personally, academically, and professionally.

I think it's important to feel like you can relate to someone when you're going through a particularly difficult time or a time of transformation when adjustments can be both exciting and nerve wracking at the same time. This is why I created this blog. It's for future and current social workers who are and will go through what I am enduring now, as well as those who have already been through it themselves. It gives us a place to come together to understand all aspects of what it is and what it takes that puts us on a path towards greatness in the field of social work.

Enjoy :)