with the Correctionally
Practice is never without its share of challenges for a practitioner regardless of discipline or years of experience in the field. In fact, such challenges are what makes practice so exciting and meaningful as a line of work. Practice with the correctionally supervised, regardless of ethnic or racial considerations, is no exception. As a student, I was always struck by the difficulty of applying theory covered in class to actual situations in the field. The concurrent nature of having academic classes and field simultaneously was supposed to facilitate the application of theory to practice. However, although it looked good on paper, in reality it was a different story. It took me many years of postgraduate experience to realize that theory cannot be accepted as “truth,” and that one is expected, if not required, to modify it to take into account local circumstances and one's abilities, knowledge, and capacities. In essence, the dynamic nature of practice necessitated the development of this “wisdom” in order to succeed in the field.
The disparity between theory and practice was even more striking when it involved communities of color. It seemed like it was never an effortless task to apply theory, particularly when the examples used in class with certain population groups did not “translate” to other population groups, with work with the correctionally supervised being one example. That group of clients always seemed to be faced with insurmountable bar-