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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.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Triggers and memories

IT WAS BOUND to happen sooner or later. I've read and heard about it many times.

I was triggered today.

As I sat in a family session with my field instructor, our adolescent client, and her father, I was triggered.

As soon as her father walked in, I knew it. He was my father -- or rather the father of my adolescent years. He was charming, and humorous, and handsome ... and a man in denial that he had a drinking problem. It is important for me to state that my father is sober today, and has been for many years.

I became aware of my feelings and reactions during the session, and I was grateful that I was observing and not leading the family group. There were a few moments when I flashbacked to some painful memories, but I was able to come back to the present moment in a relatively short amount of time. I know this will happen again and that I will be fine.

I was fine today.

I just wanted to say it --and write it -- and to share with you what it was like for me today.

--Ms. T. J.


  1. TJ,

    This is part of being a social worker. Read whatever you can about countertransference, and use your supervision time to process it. It's great that you're recognizing it now and are feeling fine about it.


  2. TJ,
    Thanks for sharing this (and all your other posts). These really are things we MSW students face and oftentimes feel we're the only one who does.