Posts tagged social work
Posts tagged social work
Abnormal Psych textbooks often address trans* issues and gender in a highly problematic light. That may not come as a surprise — this is the field that didn’t remove homosexuality from our diagnostic manual until the seventies.
But when people try to teach with accompanying texts and find that those texts’ coverage of gender and trans* psychology is at the best outdated and at the worst inflammatory, discriminatory, inaccurate, and/or prejudicial, it’s up to the educator, if they are teaching responsibly, to have conversations about this material and/or supply or direct their students to more accurate and appropriate coverage.
This is where we can come in.
I have a number of sites, worksheets, etc., that can be useful to educators and student activists on a surface level and, in some cases, for deeper understanding, exploration, and discussion — but when you have a community at hand, one person’s voice should never be the only voice.
So tell me, with answers, asks, or reblogs, and it will be compiled over the course of the next few weeks: what are your best, favorite, or most often-used resources for educating older students, young adults, and especially other professionals, about trans* and gender-spectrum related issues?
I’m going to make myself get up and be productive, but my ask box is wide open all day for questions, etc.!
Name an intervention for this guy. Go!
Redirect to an activity that produces a calming, uplifting, or empowering effect that can help break the cycle of stressful thinking and give them the chance to step back to a place where they can reframe.
I use this with kids when they’re stuck in cycles of negative thinking. Instead of trying to work it out while in the middle of an anxious response, we completely redirect to another activity — coloring, throwing a ball, running in circles, doing jumping jacks, doing mazes, talking about something they feel like an expert at. Then when they feel ready we look at the stressor and try to reframe it together. It’s worked particularly well with kiddos whose stress leads to aggressive behaviors to head those off at the pass, break the cycle of guilt and anger that comes with them, and show them that they’re in control!
Somehow in all this, I ended up back in a teaching role. But an individual (or small group, if a child has siblings) teaching role for children and parents both, combined with social services. It’s a two-fer.
I strongly suspect that when it comes time for internships, I’m not going to want to leave this job.
Whether it’s a focus on adults or kids or both or in between, how can I be of most help to my fellow #education tumblrs out there this year with one foot in the #education and the other in psych/social work (and both up to the ankles in LGBTQ+ issues)?
Mental health, for example. Your job at work is to help others with their challenges, to connect them to services, to support them in identifying and communicating and processing their feelings, but often it’s just to listen. Teaching — you plan, you guide, you grade, you pay attention not only to how students are learning the material but to how they’re growing as human beings, which means, among other things, infinite attention — and listening. Doctors and nurses examine and treat, but to do that they need to listen to their patients’ concerns, complaints, contexts. Youth workers, social workers, geriatric workers, a whole host of nonprofit professions…all requires, sometimes in a very big way, listening.
And the listening can be draining.
So when it’s time to be a friend, outside of work, sometimes you just can’t be available in some ways. And that’s alright. You learn to tell people, I can’t have this conversation today, I’m sorry. I can’t help right now, I’m sorry. Give me an hour. Give me a day. Try later in the week. Write it out for me and I’ll read it later. It’s work, whether you want it to feel that way or not.
But what do you do when someone needs to express themselves, just to get it out, and they don’t see the harm in it? That’s a need that shouldn’t cost you anything for them to fulfill. They aren’t expecting anything in return. But the sheer act of hearing some things expressed does just drain you even further - chips away at whatever you have left for yourself.
It’s an uncomfortable balancing act between self-care, this work, and being a friend. Sometimes you can’t do all three. And sometimes, even when you say it outright, people still don’t understand.
So if you know someone who works in any field that requires them to give of themselves so fully — whether it’s mental health, education, other helping professions medical and otherwise, try to hear them out when they tell you they just can’t. They aren’t saying they don’t care. They aren’t saying they don’t want to be there for you. But these jobs often leave a person with nothing left, and even just talking at them could put them right back at work again. Sometimes they need that break. So write it down for them to look at later, or find another source to tell, or hold onto it for when they can attend. And they’ll be ready and willing to listen once they can recharge.
Each child I work with has specific therapeutic goals that we work on. In the case of many children I work with by merit of the position and program, the children have difficulty accepting and allowing others to have opinions that differ from their own and refuse compromise. This can lead to really difficult social interactions with peers, problematic situations with teachers and parents when needing to follow rules and routines (“I don’t think I need to do it,” moves to, “I’m not doing it,” moves to, “you’re stupid and don’t know anything,” moves to, sometimes, unsafe escalation in behaviors), and an inability to have positive relationships with other people due to total inflexibility. Flexibility and compromise are important basic social skills.
In this case, not letting the child change the name of the stuffed dog just because they didn’t like the name I gave it was an important and really positive teachable moment re: these social skills. I let them know that I’m sorry that they don’t like the name, but that that’s the dog’s name — but what if we came up with a nickname for the dog? We were able to roleplay asking the dog if they could use the nickname. When the dog wasn’t sure they liked the first nickname (testing frustration tolerance and response), the child was able to come up with another one without having an aggressive reaction, and it was great.
I never “give [my] kids shit.” I help them work towards the goals they set for themselves and make sure I do so in ways that fit into their daily lives. But thank you for your input!
Yesterday I was up at some ungodly hour crying because technical issues were making me want to quit.
But just making that new connection to a resource that could benefit a number of clients now and in the future has made me remember why I love this work. And I guess that means I’m in the right place.
(It’s an odd phone call to see as so uplifting, but again. Nerdy joy over my work.)
And then I find that I haven’t.
And come home dazed and laughing at myself.
This one is going up a little late, but all it takes it a trip to the dollar store and about fifteen minutes to set up. This activity is not age-limited — it can be adjusted by adding pictures or more complex feelings, or even by giving scenarios instead of feelings and having kids talk about them in reverse. It’s not only good for socioemotional learning for therapists, counselors, or teachers, but could also be used as a creative writing activity (or art if you’re working on drawing expressions, body language, etc).
What You’ll Need
Print and paste or handwrite feeling words (and faces, if necessary, or possible scenarios for higher-level activity) onto strips. Fold up strips and place in eggs.
If weather permits, this is a great outdoors activity — unfortunately, today it’s raining and we’ll be doing it indoors instead. Explain to your kids (students, clients, etc., and guardians if applicable) that you’re going on an egg hunt, and (if appropriate — i.e. if they’ll understand that it’s a game rather than reality) these eggs, just like them, have feelings that they’ll be able to relate to.
Depending on your kids, you may want to give a limit (everyone try to find five, etc.) to be sure it’s more or less even.
When everyone has collected their eggs, sit in a circle and have each participant open one egg and read what the egg is feeling. Have the participant respond, “I’ve felt like that too! I felt ___ when…” and give an example of a time when they felt the same way. (If doing the higher-level activity, have participants instead read the scenario their egg is in, state how they think they would feel if they were the egg, and brainstorm some ways to respond; this can also be a group activity.) Continue until nobody has any eggs left.
Close out the activity by asking participants which egg was the most challenging, and which was their favorite. In a formal setting the latter could be done with a coloring activity and/or augmented by having participants create their own egg with a feeling and a scenario.
If you want to be really goofy about it, I would absolutely give every single egg a ridiculous egg-themed name, whether on the paper slip or in marker on the outside. If I didn’t have to reuse mine, the sharpie would be coming out to label Eggbert, Eggwina, Shelldon, Shelly, etc… On a serious note, adding a name adds an additional supportive, scripted conversation piece — “It’s okay, Fry, I feel that way sometimes, too. Once time…” “That’s awesome, Scrambella! I…”