Respond to the blog post of three colleagues in one or more of the following ways:
- Validate an idea in your colleague’s post with your own experience.
- Share an insight from having read your colleague’s posting.
The use of self in social work practice is the combining of knowledge, values, & skills gained in social work education with aspects of one’s personal self, including personality traits, belief systems, life experiences, & cultural heritage (Dewane, 2006). I have found that people are more comfortable when they are able to somehow connect or relate. It is interesting to me that clients feel intimidated because they feel like no one can relate to what they are going through when the truth is I have been in their situation, but every situation is different. Most of the clients we see at the agency are starting over & remained in their relationships longer. But many have been in these types of relationships multiple times. Where in my situation I was independent of my spouse, the verbal /emotional abuse was consistent, but one incident of physical abuse that was the end. And once out of that relationship I had a better understanding about sticking to my deal breakers. I think an understanding of what it is to be in that type of relationship allows one to understand the different emotions & feelings they are experiencing. I think it is important to place yourself in the shoes of your clients. While some social workers just want to help not every client is accepting of that automatically. Everyone will be different & you have to meet them where they are to get the best outcome. “The therapist’s use of self then becomes an interactive, subjective, and empathic means of furthering therapeutic action and portending a positive outcome to the treatment” (Ganzer, 2007).
The potential boundary challenges for me would be with those who have DFCS involvement. Foster care has been in my life a decade plus & there are workers who take their job seriously, those who don’t, & those who don’t understand that middle. And when information is presented in court that may send a red flag & when DFCS is involved you still can’t predict what could happen. One of my clients is in the family preservation phase right now so I am learning to advise her without freaking her out at the same time. She makes comments about if they were to take, he son she would kill herself. Although I appreciate how forth coming, she has been in session I pretty sure she talks this openly to her DFCS worker. This was also the case with another client when her using cutting as a coping skill came up in court. Although I understand that she is not trying to seriously harm herself she was shocked it was used against her. And that the judge suggested possibly placing the children in care because he was not fully sold that either parent was stable. However, she had a strong support system at court with her, so I think the mindset if I know this judge like I do. She has support but he is still worried about the cutting. While he is aware of the abuse but he is looking beyond that so stability & best environment is the focus. I want them to be open & safe in the environment we have created so that means being aware not to add more stress but saying things in a supportive way.
Walters, H. (2014, August 28). An Introduction to Use of Self in Field Placement. SocialWorker.com. https://www.socialworker.com/feature-articles/field-placement/An_Introduction_to_Use_of_Self_in_Field_Placement/
Ganzer, C. (2007). The Use of Self from a Relational Perspective. Clinical Social Work Journal, 35(2), 117–123. https://doi-org.ezp.waldenulibrary.org/10.1007/s10615-007-0078-4
- An explanation of the use of self during your field education experience that you may have encountered or that you might encounter
An early experiences influence who we are as people and professionals, and how our use of self might come across to others. How the relationship experiences inform the assumptions and expectations we make about ourselves, others, and the world we inhabit (Ganzer, 2007). Influential experiences come to represent ‘who we are’ can be found in the thoughts, feelings, and behavior, particularly in the non-verbal communication patterns that we and others adopt. Personal authenticity is about ‘feeling real’ and is often linked to being genuine, honest, and coming across as such—as opposed to feeling a fraud (Osteen, 2011). As an intern at Second chance, Inc., the use of self means sharing myself with my clients through skillful self-disclosure and empathy and the use of self means authentically bringing all I’m made of into the therapeutic relationship for use as a therapeutic tool. Ethically, we have a responsibility to serve others from a position of wellness, to be aware of our values and judgments as we empathize with clients in practice, and to care for ourselves to prevent burnout, compassion fatigue, and vicarious traumatization. Practitioners are taught that self-knowledge is vital to detecting transference and countertransference, and other dynamics in the therapeutic relationship.
- A description of potential boundary challenges in your field education experience.
A social worker or an intern should keep in mind the ethical boundaries of the social worker-client relationship. As an intern working with prospective foster caregivers, the use of self places the client and social worker at greater risk for transference and countertransference. It may be negatively affecting the helping relationship. Transference and countertransference can both be powerful tools in therapy if used appropriately, but can also be harmful to the therapeutic relationship and process if not recognized and dealt with. Both transference and countertransference represent how the client acts and feels toward the worker and vice versa. We should be aware of how countertransference may be showing up. We may observe countertransference occurring when we have a strong emotional reaction towards a client. One common example of countertransference is when one finds herself feeling protective and parental towards a client, as that client may be reminding her of her own child (or someone else she feels protective of in her life). Another example is when a client rubs you the wrong way. This may be you experiencing countertransference towards the client as they remind you of another person in your life who incites a similar emotional response from you. The solution is that consultation or supervision will be enough to manage our countertransference.
Ganzer, C. (2007). The use of self from a relational perspective. Clinical Social Work Journal, 35(2), 117–123
Osteen, P. J. (2011). Motivations, values, and conflict resolution: Students’ integration of personal and professional identities. Journal of Social Work Education, 47(3), 423–444.
An explanation of the use of self during your field education experience that you may have encountered or that you might encounter
I most remember the population in which I work, clients are going to be hostile and resentful, and confused due to their mental health/SUD. Reupert suggests that the training and supervision of clinicians should incorporate their personal qualities, as well as the emphasis on theory and technique, since the profession has stressed the importance of the relationship for positive outcomes in therapy and has maintained a focus on person-in-environment (Ganzer 2007).
A description of potential boundary challenges in your field education experience
Setting boundary is the best use of self within the field education, setting boundary things like; not letting the clients take their anger out on me, Humiliate me in front of others, Tell off-color jokes in my company, Invade my personal space. I had mentioned before with the population which I work with and as a social worker I have to guide principle of the person in environment perspective to meet the person where they are at. Most clients are willing to change their mindset and move from contemplation stage in doing this they learn to respect others’ boundaries.