Last year, I visited Mount St. Helens with my dad. You can still see a clear path of the “blast zone” from the giant 1980’s eruption. While recovery is slow, remarkably the area has shown great resilience in rebounding from the cataclysmic event.
In social work, every day we encounter people that have their own personal version of a cataclysmic event.
In my area of practice, this event is usually a slide into homelessness. Among all the tools we have as social workers to assist each client in their own personal recovery effort, use of the Strength’s Perspective is one of the most effective. With that said, I have created a quick pocket resource guide social workers can use to incorporate strengths into their work.
*Side note: I have also used this pocket guide when I worked in medical social work to educate my medical field coworkers about how to work from the Strength’s Perspective with patients.
Link to the file for download below. Hope you find it useful!
Strength’s Perspective Pocket Guide
Before I became interested in social work, I was a philosophy major. I was drawn to people who thought deeply about the world and themselves.
I was drawn to social work, not only because it was an active way for me to be a part of making the world closer to the full potential I see, but also because social work is a profession (much like philosophy) that has a value of knowing deeply. In the Code of Ethics, we are held to a standard of knowing our work deeply- the value of competence. But just as important, we are called to know ourselves deeply and continue to examine our motives, bias, reactions, and internal states. Cue Socrates (but hold the hemlock)!
I found a lot of insight through working with my own therapist to understand the root of my anxiety issues (see previous post When Helper’s Need Help) but there is a lot of other ways to engage in self-reflection. As simple as it may sound, one of the most helpful exercises for myself in the past year was the Enneagram personality test. I actually completed the test and discussed it within the context of therapy.
It provided many insights about myself and the relationships that surrounded me, but mostly it acted as a catalyst to take time to examine myself.
Each Enneagram type is attached to a basic fear and basic desire that tend to drive that type. In the interest of being vulnerable, my Enneagram Type is 4, which indicates the following:
- Basic Fear: That they have no identity or personal significance
- Basic Desire: To find themselves and their significance (to create an
Upon reflection, I found this to be very true of myself. This wasn’t just helpful for my personal life, but also caused me to reflect how my personality intersects with social work. For example, if my basic desire is to create an identity for myself of significance, am I attempting to do this through my work? If I am attempting to “create” myself through my work, then how could my focus be on where it really should be- on quality service provision? These are all lines of inquiry that opened after taking time to explore my personality through this outlet.
Interested in exploring the Enneagram? The best site I have found is at Enneagram Institute
How do you you continue to know yourself and how has that knowledge changed your work?
Drop me a line.