Welcome to The New Social Worker's Blog

The New Social Worker is the quarterly magazine for social work students and recent graduates, focusing on social work careers for those new to the profession. This blog is a companion to the free online magazine at http://www.socialworker.com.

Friday, February 27, 2009

America--Premieres this Saturday night

The new movie, "America," premieres Saturday, February 28, 9 p.m. Eastern Time on Lifetime. The movie tells the story of a sixteen-year-old bi-racial boy named America who ages out of the foster care system. A psychiatrist, played by Rosie O'Donnell, helps him open up about his painful past and discover the support and courage he needs to get his life back on track.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Survey About Expressive Therapy

THE NEW SOCIAL WORKER has been running a series of articles about expressive/arts therapies, beginning with our recent articles on hip hop and music. We will continue the series with articles on art therapy, dance/movement, and other therapies that use various arts.

So, it was of interest to me when I heard from a graduate student in the social work program at Bridgewater State College who is surveying social workers who have knowledge of and/or use expressive therapies in social work practice. Your participation in completing this survey is strictly anonymous and should take about 10 minutes to complete. You may opt out of the survey at any time. The link to the study survey is http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=rBaFR_2fllTleXFEdXTO8CPg_3d_3d

Saturday, February 21, 2009

It's been too long, he said

Tonight, while eating tortilla chips at one of our favorite Mexican restaurants, my husband said, "You haven't blogged since February 9."

"That can't be true," I denied.

"February 9," he repeated.

"But ... Oh, yeah." My mind raced back to the day my friend died. It was February 9.

So, dear readers, I have to admit my husband was right. (Don't tell him I said that!)

So, what's been up with me? I hope you are wondering. Let me run it by you real quick: School is heating up. The assignments are piling up. Mid-terms are just around the corner.

And this death blindsided me.

I had a three-day migraine. I am going to a physical therapist for a disc issue and I am still putting in 12 hours each day (work and field practice.)

I am not whining. Just offering the facts. Trying to keep it real.

Last night my husband, a food writer, judged a local tasting event. We were put up in a great hotel with an amazing two-headed shower and a super-comfortable bed. I ordered a healthy breakfast of grapefruit juice, berries and melon fruit cup, low-fat yogurt, bran muffin and coffee.

Straight from the hotel, and before I went to work today, I had a two-hour reflexology massage. Then I worked at the magazine for four hours.

Which leads me to the Mexican restaurant and my sweet husband's comment (aka reminder).

Tomorrow I am going to review all my assignments, create a plan and get to it. I will also work out a plan to study for my mid-terms and then, I will do the best I can.

I know that it's a struggle for everyone right now, so I am not the lone ranger. And I'm not going to fail. I have a 4.0; I should be okay. I am not bragging -- I am trying to bolster my self-confidence, which is floundering.

I apologize for my ramblings, but this is where I'm at. If I can't be honest, I can't do this blog.

Thank you for your support.

--Ms. T. J.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Something FISH!-y

During the social work career chat Sunday night (at www.socialworkchat.org), Amanda Vos and Lyndal Greenslade of the Australian Association of Social Workers (see their article series at www.socialworker.com) mentioned something called the FISH! philosophy. Curious about this, I looked it up and found the Web site at www.charthouse.com. According to the Web site, FISH! is "a set of simple, practical tools to help you create the work culture you’ve been looking for." It is based on four principles: Be There, Play, Make Their Day and Choose Your Attitude™.

Although I don't have much more info on this at this point, it seems like a nice and simple way to look at things and work toward a more peaceful and pleasant environment. What do you think?

Monday, February 9, 2009

I heard the news today, oh boy

Today I lost a friend.

He died at home, with his loving wife at his side. He had a fast-moving brain tumor that swept into his life and took him away from us way too soon.

I wrote this earlier:

"I wish I had one more moment with you. When I came to see you, you were heavily medicated. Your wife took me outside your room and we hugged and talked and exchanged words to fill the sad silence.

I went back in to look at you. I gently touched your bent knee. I pretended that you knew it was me and that you might remember I was there to see you. To tell you how sorry I was for all the pain you were enduring. To thank you for being a great guy and a wonderful husband to your wife.

I wanted to thank you for your stories. Did I thank you? I think I did. I hope I did. Thank you."

I am grieving tonight. I will let myself cry and feel the pain of this loss.

--Ms. T. J.

Friday, February 6, 2009

thank you

I needed every single one of your comments. These are the nuggets that I shall put in my pocket to pull out whenever I need them:

"You have been through a lot with the addictions and loss in your family, and with that, you bring valuable insight. You know it's not "that simple," as you said. Being a social worker or a social work student isn't always simple, either, but to me, it is worth it." (from Linda G.)

"However, if you believe that you can make a difference in someone else's life, whether it be 1 person or a 1000, then you have fulfilled your mission as a Social Worker." (from Ash H.)

"I have grown in so many ways and learned a lot about myself by completing the MSW program. Even though it is a lot of work, and it is not by any means over once you graduate with your MSW, since you are always learning, it is something that you can carry with you forever." (J. M.)

"it's totally normal to be freaking out and feel overwhelmed. You'll get through this! " (Cecile)

"In my work I have to give help and attendance to people with addictions and/or psychological diseases.Some have become my clients because they cannot stand the tiring routine in their jobs.As far as I`m concerned I think social work is an exciting kind of work." (D.B. from Germany!)

"It seems like you were made for this type of work." (Betsy)

"Advice: rise as fast as you can and as far as you can in the profession to make the most money." (Anonymous)

"Despite all the negatives I have experienced over the years for a variety of reasons, one thing that never changed was my love of the actual work with clients. ... My reinforcement is the healing that takes place through their motivation and my skills. I have found what I love to do ... One of my mentors taught me that effective use of self was the cornerstone of effective interventions." (Anonymous)

Thank you.

--Ms. T. J.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

I need your words

Calling all Master's level social workers: I need you.

Tell me somethin' good. Tell me it's worth it. Tell me what you love about the life. How glad you are that you got your Master's.

That it makes a difference. All the way around.

I met a woman in Starbucks today. She overheard me talking to a friend behind the counter about school. She shared that she dropped out six weeks prior to graduation from a MSW program in another state. Said she couldn't reconcile her own beliefs about addiction with the disease concept. Even though she, like me, lost her sister to addiction.

I lost a sister and a brother. My mother and my father struggled with addictions most of their lives. I believe alcoholism and drug addiction are diseases.

She thinks people need to get over it. I know it's not that simple.

She also said the MSW program is too much work for $30,000 dollars a year. Tell me I can make more than that! I know I can.

Here's the real deal: I am hungry, angry, lonely and tired. I have been on the road, in the office, on the job, at field practice, didn't get to have dinner with my husband, my dog doesn't remember me and ....

Tell me somethin' good.

--Ms. T. J.