Academic journal article Field Educator

Field Work: Embracing Vulnerability and Trusting Process

Academic journal article Field Educator

Field Work: Embracing Vulnerability and Trusting Process

Article excerpt

It is all right to be vulnerable. What's necessary is to realize our vulnerabilities and be rowdy and fearless anyway. If we recognize that as humans we're connected by vulnerability, we stay present and honor the mission of social work: to improve the well-being of others.

With this insight I reflect upon my second year of field placement at a residential program and day school for adolescents. The school serves students with brain injuries and other neurological and/or behavioral health challenges and students with autism spectrum disorders. This placement has been a sacred experience for me because of compassionate advisors and magnificent students. I'm fortified with humility and gratitude.

I entered into a milieu where each student battled their demons, struggled for wins, and clawed their way back from losses as a daily part of life. I realized that I needed a way to hold these students' experiences and be a helpful clinician. But what I initially faced was trepidation and a lack of confidence as I engaged with a population of which I was so unsure and had never known. In the role of clinical intern I felt like a lost imposter. Then my vulnerabilities emerged and evolved. How can I be present with the work put forth without asking for help, without a fearless, messy self-advocacy that could only be manifested through appreciating vulnerability? I accepted that there'd be no movement without utilizing resources. I was apprehensive, but recalled a goal to actualize the pledge of an emotional commitment to serve, one that lay outside of my own comfort and security.

I brought my fears to helpers that were compassionate and supportive, doing exactly what we ask of our clients. Our challenges as social workers serve as calls to action and they are a privilege. I entered my field advisor's office in tears and disclosed each self-doubt of "I'll never be able to do this." Together we figured out the best way I could move forward in the placement and accept the uncertainties. The next step was to share my fears and concerns to my agency supervisor. …

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