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Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Grad school

It really feels like the closer I get to grad school, the less I know what I want out of it. I recently turned in my field placement questionnaire, which asked my interests so that my advisor could assist me in finding an internship for my first year. Pinning down one agency for an entire year . . . and the only thing I know for sure is that I want to work with women, and I'm ready to experience something besides domestic violence.

I'm stressed out. Part of me wants my advisor to say "Here. This is it. This is the place you will work," but then I hear myself piping up, "but what about the addictions field? What about working with adolescent girls? What about the LGBT community?"

I've been corresponding with a second-year student in the past few months who is a month away from graduation and feels similarly adrift looking for an area to pursue post-graduation. He told me he discussed this with a professor who said, "the paradox of social work grad school is that by leaving more confused/unsure of what direction to go now, you can be assured that you are being educated in social work."

I'm not sure how I feel about that, but I'll keep reminding myself of it as I try to grasp firmly for a concrete idea of my future.

Lately, I've been thinking more about therapy. I have always thought that's the direction I'd end up, but I have been doing so well with case management that I considered seeking out more opportunities for that. It keeps me busy. It sooths my problem solving brain. I like hearing someone state a problem and being able to figure out how to "fix" it. The idea of wading through a nebulous conversation about feelings terrifies me slightly. Check that. A lot.

I don't know why. I'm no stranger to therapy myself. I suppose the idea that I wouldn't be able to offer neat, tidy answers to people's questions (Unemployed? Have children? Apply for Public Assistance!) sets me on edge.

But lately, I've also been paying closer attention to the kinds of interactions I enjoy more with my clients. Some breeze into my office and say "yes, no, maybe" when I ask what they've accomplished in the past week, and I give them assignments for our next meeting. Others spend time going over issues or paperwork I can assist with. And still others sit down to just talk about emotions and feelings they have.

And it's the talky ones I enjoy the most. I feel more connected to them, involved in their situations, and less bored with my job. I think I should explore therapy more.

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Blogger metrogeekboy said...

I love this internal dialogue.

At first I jumped! I was thrilled to read that you'd want to maybe even consider working with adolescent girls or LGBTs. I began to think about the incidence of domestic violence that occurs in the LGBT community. Maybe it's "our" dirty little secret, but the rate is high. And when a gay man or woman tries to call into the police, they usually get laughed at. "Another woman beat you up? Come on now!" And there's not a lot of "shelters" a battered gay male can just stroll into because his live-in boyfriend almost took his life.

That being said, "WOW". Thanks for even condisering the work.

About therapy: When I think about becoming a psychiatrist, sometimes I get the whilleys. Only because other fields, one can say, "Oh! You've got X. Take Y for so long and you'll be better." And it works. With therapy, one never knows. You can spend months, or years, helping a client. But every time he/she walks out the door, you have no control over the decisions he/she will make to influence positively or negatively.

I'm not saying this doesn't happen with "regular" medicine, but with therapy, there is so much more you don't have control over.

I think a lot of people feel the same as you about listening to other's emotions. That's why people are desparate. They will literally pay $100 an hour sometimes JUST to have someone listen to them. They don't even really care about the therapy. They just want someone to care about their thoughts and pain. I wish we all would take time to listen to each other more. Maybe it's our social isolation that is killing us?

Hence, the "Walmart" game.

I have blabbed and blabbed!!! Sorry. At any rate, I'm completely psyched. I have a feeling the right internship will "find you" while you're busy having fun learning. Congrats again :)

3:11 PM  

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