Academic journal article Field Educator

In Defense of Process

Academic journal article Field Educator

In Defense of Process

Article excerpt

The social work field is currently focused on goal achievement, competence and evidence-based practice. We must not underestimate the importance of process. Becoming a social worker, being a field instructor and developing a collaborative relationship in supervision, even evaluation and gate-keeping--all of these are a process.

Becoming a social worker is a major life transition; students are often not prepared for the stresses of clients' emotional turmoil and of developing a professional self. Anxious about interviewing clients, they may feel that they have little to offer. As one student said, "Why don't they give this client a real therapist?" Learning about ethical practice, especially maintaining appropriate boundaries, requires interns to be aware of their own feelings and reactions. In addition to learning skills, interns need to use a meaningful form of process recording to reflect on their practice, interactions, and selves in supervision.

The supervisory relationship is the scaffolding for the teaching of social work skills and competencies. Becoming a field instructor is also a major life transition, a further development of the professional self (Urdang, 1999). Supervising a social work intern is not merely a matter of transferring knowledge and techniques to a novice; it is a special art that has to be cultivated. …

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