Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Awareness of Poverty over Three Centuries

I'm intrigued by how society's approach to poverty has changed over time. This article gives a brief overview of change over the past 300 years. It does seem to focus more on change in Western countries (Europe and US) and is fairly short but offers some noteworthy insights.

Awareness of Poverty Over Three Centuries

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Therapy Becomes a Real Option

In the past, through tougher personal times, the means with which I handled these issues didn't really include an option of seeing a therapist. Pride and a need to be self sufficient drove me to believe that I should be able to ultimately handle issues on my own. That if I have a problem (something fairly ongoing, that's consistent and weighs heavy on my mind, or an emotional issue) that I talk to my closest support network about it, write out my thoughts on paper, ruminate a little and ultimately get over it. Typically this worked for me.

Recently though this hasn't been enough. I tried some new techniques. I kept seeing the advice of breathing deeply and it's good advice. It helped. I wanted to pursue meditation (of the guided variety). But I'm thinking I would get more support with additional guidance from a therapist.

I understand that there's no shame in asking for help and it's not like I don't look for it in friends or family. But for me the step between this and seeking a therapist was something that I hadn't considered as a real option. It's a humbling place to be in. But therapy is something I'm now actively working on getting.

If you're reading this and relating to how I feel, follow your instincts and find more support. I do realize each person gets to this place on his/her own pace, but I'd like to encourage you to get the support you need.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

I Called You Two Days Ago!

Says a client with a tone that denotes sheer surprise that I'm only now returning her call. However could one wait two days for a case manager to call her back???????*

Man, I would love providers to call me back that quickly -- and right now I'm talking about providers returning calls for issues I'm having, not relating to a client.

* And yes, to be clear, this instance was a non emergency call. 

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Social Workers with Family Lives I Commend You

All right so we all have a personal lives with their string of obligations but nevertheless, I'd like to give out an acknowledgement to social workers and case managers who have family lives. The women and men who give and work hard at their day (or night) jobs and come home to their family commitments, their kids and/or spouses/family members they take care of. Sure, ideally it's a rewarding relationship but it's demanding as well. And certainly many life situations bring their own set of challenges, but in this case I was thinking specifically about social workers with families.

Here are a few social work online journals I follow of writers with families (I suspect there quite a few I follow who live with their immediate families but don't share this on their website):

Amy at Amy's Life in Brief
Btrflygl at Social Worker Mom
A Shameless Agitator's Inner Dialogue

Go here to see more online journals I follow. I plan to continue and expand my list of blogs I follow in future posts.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

You're Not Alone: Collaborating with Other Providers

..... Settle yourself in your seat fellow provider, this is going to be a hell of a ride. I'm glad to have you working with me on this case. Let's see what we can do with and for this client...

I don't always collaborate with clients' providers as there isn't frequently a need to. During intakes we do ask new clients if they're involved with other agencies. Typically clients share this information and if they don't it'll often come up if I continue meeting regularly with a client.

Even when I have the other agencies' info I don't necessarily contact them. To contact the provider a release is needed of course -- the client needs to give permission for me to contact the agency on his behalf. Really it would be beneficial to discuss the care a client receives with another provider if only to understand the other services she's getting, get her insights as to her impressions of the client and their work together and coordinate basic care. This is particularly useful for clients who need more care. Clients who need short term and specific help (applying for a specific benefits program) don't necessarily require a call to another provider. 

Providers do fill in gaps for each other and what can I say, I appreciate it. I apply for this benefits program with a client, while a case manager in another agency advocates on the same client's behalf in physical health issues. I advocate in in one area while my client receives mental health counseling from her provider because I'm not a clinician.

Several situations call for me to contact another provider. If I'm working intensively with a client on one issue and know other agencies are involved it helps to discuss and coordinate her care with another provider when I know she's getting similar advocacy work elsewhere. Maybe another provider has a direct link with public aid office (which Empoder doesn't) so he can focus on working out an issue client has with his medical coverage while I could focus on another area. If a client's asking for help with goods on a regular basis it helps to know if she has received similar assistance from another agency. Sometimes this is the case, sometimes not, but it's good to find this out.

While I work with three coworkers in my department we usually don't work with clients as a team unless it's a particularly intensive client. When our team isn't enough, we look to (or for, if a client doesn't have another resource) another social service agency to cover a need we can't meet. 

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Exercising Different Parts of Your Brain

Sophia Dembling of Real World Research wrote this cool article intriguingly called What is the opposite of writing?

I liked the idea of thinking about what would  that opposite would be. I also appreciated her encouragement to take part in a breadth of activities to stimulate the mind or body in different ways. This is a great way to deal with the stunted or bored feeling a lot of us feel every once in a while. Our minds are looking to continue and grow. Writing, dancing, learning a language, playing the trombone, all work another creative side of ourselves. Developing a breadth of interests is something I'd like to continue to work on.

I recommend this site. I enjoy that it examines research and how it relates to the mind and human behavior -- psychology.