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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.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Branching Out

Tonight, I watched the documentary Becoming Chaz, the film chronicling Sonny and Cher's daughter Chastity as he became legally and surgically their son Chaz. Although the film's purpose is to cover the transition period, it also showed viewers a window into his romantic relationship with his female partner, the way each of the couple explained the transition to their families and friends, and the way the media covers such topics. It really got me to thinking about how wonderful it'd be if everyone saw such a documentary, or at least if every social worker did... especially those who believe they'll never work with a trans person.

As social workers, we spend a great deal of time in school and then, when we're done, we're required to spend time in CEUs, many of which we choose based on their location, the times they're offered, and/or on how closely they relate to our specific job tasks.

I wonder how many of us think outside the box. How many choose CEU classes based on something that has nothing to do with their jobs? Who chooses the classes on children when they work with elders? Who chooses a course on teen moms when their job deals with hospital patients? Much as many may deny it, for as busy as we all are, I think it's only natural to sometimes feel that the CEU class you have scheduled for an evening after you've worked a full day is annoying or a burden. (Quite frankly, I wish we as social workers had more free time and more free money so we could be properly pampered and less inclined to burn out.)

So I encourage you to branch out. I'm not suggesting you spend your spare pennies on more CEUs than you're required to take, but consider alternatives. Watch a documentary. Attend a benefit. Visit an art exhibit. Read an article, a book, or new research. Choose something you know nothing about and remove at least the most surface level of that ignorance.

1 comment:

  1. Hi, Kryss!  I'm so glad to find your blog and this particular post!  It's critical as mental health professionals (I'm an LPC, not a SW), that we continue to stretch . . . even beyond our comfort zone.  It's how we grow and how we model resilience for our clients. And, of course, if we aren't able to navigate outside of our comfort zone, how do we ever expect to help our clients do so?

    The trans community, as you may already know, is one of the most marginalized in our country (USA) and in countries around the world.  That's one "box" that most of us could use a little more training in!

    Happy to retweet your post, Kryss, and I look forward to dropping back in often to chat!