Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Clinical Assessments

As you know, I'm interning in Adoptions, which is definitely a field of Social Work that I'm very interested in. Many of my Social Work classmates, as well as close friends and family, are very aware that I'm not interested in the Mental Health, Addiction, etc. side of the profession. It's not for me, and I have no interest in it. I'm way more interested in the Macro side of the profession (lobbying, advocacy, prevention programming, community organizing/building, etc), as well as working with refugees, teen mothers and obviously, children!

That being said, It has been a bit difficult for me to really see the clinical side to the work I've been doing at my internship. Surely, a clinical assessment is made during the home study process, and a clinical, therapeutic session occurs between a social worker and a birth mom, or a social worker and adoptive parents (grief and loss).

Yesterday, Supervisor and I were reviewing some evaluations I have to turn in at the end of the semester. One of them involved checking off all the areas of the Generalist Intervention Model you have experienced during the semester. I was having a hard time really checking off some of the boxes because I can't identify any one experience that falls under whatever category. Supervisor laid it out for me and gave me lots of examples. She said making the clinical connections comes with experience, esp. in a field that isn't so ingrained in clinical/therapeutic environment. Ok, cool.

I had the opportunity to observe the Disclosure meeting for the Andrews, where they received the entire history (that CHS has) on Carissa - medical, social, educational, legal, etc. Many questions were asked, lots of information was provided. Mrs. Andrews is completely optimistic about it all, which is good - optimism keeps people going. However, a realistic outlook about welcoming a child into your home who has had severe trauma over her life, in many forms, and has bounced around the system for years, is needed even more so. Mr. Andrews is the realist of the duo, and once the medical/mental health conversation began with Carissa's therapist (keep in mind, the Andrews are well aware of Carissa's past), Mr. Andrews made a comment that he really wanted Mrs. Andrews to hear all of this, again. He wants her to come down outta the clouds and step into this new relationship well grounded. Mrs. Andrews feels Carissa's past is just that - the past - and that is where it will stay. She is focused on creating a new life for her, which is fantastic, but you obviously cannot discount her past. Her past is what made her the young lady she is today and you just can't throw it out the window. Whatever the case is with the Andrews, I know they won't give up on Carissa as others have. They have already put so much into learning about her, well before the selection staffing. They obviously feel a strong bond with Carissa, and I think she really hit the jackpot with the Andrews.

I told Supervisor about my experience in the meeting and my thoughts on the Andrews and Carissa. Once I was finished, she said "You just made a clinical assessment." Woot!

1 comment:

  1. Leslie Ann Lovett, MSW, LCSWNovember 18, 2009 at 12:36 PM

    The word "clinical" is so loaded and sometimes way too complicated. You've described the "art and science" of social work - you put a lot of pieces together, based on your professional relationship with your clients, and based on your assessment, move to intervention with a positive outcome despite a very complex situation. YEAH!