THINGS I'VE LEARNED AS A SOCIAL WORKER

Thanks for the request @meg1! 🎉Less than (!!!) three months away from my MSW! 🎉 My experience is with victims of domestic violence in a crisis intervention setting (and putting together restraining orders), with victims of sexual assault/ rape, and as sexual prevention educator.
  1. Meet the client where they're at.
    If your client is a 19 year old girl who is in an abusive relationship, and doesn't want to leave, you need to meet her where she's at. She doesn't need your "you need to get out!" Her friends are doing that, and so is her family. She needs you to listen empathetically, without judgement. She needs to know that you support her and are there for her, and want her to be safe and happy. These are the moments where change happens.
  2. Meet the client where they're at part 2
    I'm not going to get into Cognitive Behavioral Therapy if my client is currently high, starving, or is in full crisis mode. First things first, right? Neither of us will be able to focus.
  3. I get yelled at. A lot. And I'm okay with it. (Most of the time)
    I've come to understand that someone who yells at me isn't mad at me. They're mad at the situation, and I'm the one who is giving them the space to be angry. Of course I set boundaries and say things like "I really want to help you right now, but it's hard when you're yelling at me." Sometimes the person will apologize. Being yelled at doesn't impact me as much as it used to, but occasionally you get a doozy!
  4. I'm not there to save them.
    If I could, I'd scoop up my clients and deposit them into a warm pool of peace and calm and healing. But I can't. And it wouldn't be good for them anyway because I can't work harder than they are on their own personal struggles. They need to want change, I'm just there to support, validate, and empower that change (and to give references/resources).
  5. SELF CARE SELF CARE SELF CARE
    Are you in a helping profession? Help yourself and get some self care activities.
  6. My sense of humor is pretty sick.
    In that, "I'll cry if I don't laugh" kind of way.
  7. The world is a bad place full of bad people.
    But also good people. But a lot of really bad people. Like, more than you'd think. I realized I surround myself with others who understand how many bad people there are in this world. It's kiiiiind of easier that way?
  8. I have some days where I need to curl up in my bed and just take a break from it.
    Most weekends (for me) are spent home alone, not speaking to anyone except maybe on the phone. I occasionally need time to recover from the things I've heard and witnessed during the week. Example: this week, one morning I was presenting on rape culture to high school students who are teen moms who have been through awful shit, then had to book it 40 minutes north to respond to a sexual assault call at the hospital. I like the hustle and bustle. It's great. I love being in the field and "in it"
  9. Continued...
    But my heart needs some time to recover occasionally.
  10. I need to think on my feet.
    Working on a hotline, you never know what kind of call you'll get. I have to be on my game if I'm holding the hotline. That means having a pen and paper always on me, having the basic phone numbers needed for clients, and being able to do immediate crisis intervention. One call could be someone who is feeling suicidal, one may be a friend of a survivor needing to know how to support her/him, one may be someone masturbating on the other side (yeah, it happens way too often). I gotta be prepared!
  11. I get to be there with strangers during their worst moments.
    It's a huge honor. I can't tell you how special it is to be trusted in those moments.
  12. I think about politics differently.
    I'm not just voting for myself, I'm voting for those most impacted by elections. I adhere to a Social Work Code of Ethics, and I take it incredibly seriously.
  13. I understand that people are the way they are due to a million different factors, most of which they had no influence over.
    So while I know that there are bad people in this bad world, I get that they became that way for a reason. These things dont come out of a vacuum, they are learned. I believe people can change, but I'm realistic about it.
  14. I am so fucking passionate about certain issues.
    The mass incarceration of those who have severe and persistent mental illness, systemic racism, abortion, the war on drugs, forced sterilization in the prison system, the basically zero rights of trans people, the fucked up drug laws that punish crack users with 10 years of prison compared to the 2-5 years coke users get (look at who uses each drug, guess what? It has to do with racism!), the fact that drug users are incarcerated in the first place, the government not paying for needle exchange
  15. Continued...
    There's a lot that I get fired up about. See? This is why I gotta laugh, otherwise I will cry.
  16. I have random facts and statistics and laws swirling about in my head all the time.
  17. I always root for the underdog.
  18. I sometimes don't want to be a social worker, but just a normal person who doesn't know how many starving and homeless kids there are in her county.
  19. Other social workers often lie to strangers about what they do.
    Because we get a bad wrap. "Oh you take kids away!" Which, yeah, if the kid is being raped and the mom doesn't believe the kid... Yeah, a social worker will remove that kid. But social workers get a pretty bad wrap, which is why others will say they do something else.
  20. I love what I do. I couldn't do anything else (except something that involves comedy).
    It's rewarding. Getting a hug from someone who you just spent 3 hours with, holding her hand while she is sitting on a cold table with a stranger swabbing her from head to toe, you create this bond that is unique and special. My hope is that the people I encounter have been comforted in some way by my presence, if I've done that, I celebrate.
  21. With all that said...
    I'm not a saint. I fuck up a lot and I'm not always super nice social worker lady. I disappoint people, I say the wrong things, and I get sad and lonely. Because I'm a human who is in this world.
  22. Now here's a gif