Thursday, November 4, 2010

Site Visit

I had my site visit yesterday with my field supervisor an field professor yesterday. The site visit occurs every semester to ensure everyone one is happy, the student is learning, the agency is pleased with student’s work, etc.It was a little late in the semester because my field professor is behind.

It went well, and I am so pleased that I have a caring, understanding and knowledgeable field supervisor. (I really lucked out with my 2 placements, let me tell you!) I let my professor know that I am engaged with 4 individual clients - one teen, two children and one adult - and that I am dabbling with play therapy, CBT, strengths perspective and case management. I also facilitate one children's group and co-facilitate the other. As for macro, I’ve attended some community events around Domestic Violence, and did some internal trainings on child development and trauma-based care. I plan to kick up the macro next semester, and see some court proceedings. I plan to attend the local Domestic Violence council meeting on Tuesday too. I really like macro work and want to get as much as I can out of it.

That’s my update! Now, off to finish a presentation…

Sunday, October 24, 2010

A Movie Review: Reviving Ophelia

I heard about this movie through whom I follow on Twitter. This organization aims to educate teens on dating violence and empower them to make their own decisions. Reviving Ophelia aired on Lifetime and will probably play more. Check your local channel listing to see when it airs again.

Reviving Ophelia is a story about a normal, well-to-do, calm and collected teenage girl, Elizabeth, who becomes involved with a guy named Mark. Mark is a gentleman, is respectful towards adults and showers Liz with affection and attention – just what teenage girls are looking for! Unfortunately, Mark isn’t what he seems to be. Underneath his cool fa├žade and cute exterior is an angry young man who has become quite obsessed with Liz. The signs are absolutely blaring. Her cousin, who is deemed the wild one in the family, tries to alert her family to what is going on, but no one wants to believe her. She tries to step in and assist her cousin, but she is quickly pushed aside and told there is no problem. Once Liz’s parents find out, they do everything to control the situation and protect their daughter. However, telling Liz No only make her want him more…

If you do plan to watch the movie, or read the book, don’t read any more. It will give away a lot of the story. I wrote down all of the signs I recognized:

  • He gets miffed because she made plans without consulting him
  • You find out his mother left him and his father, and that his father called him a loser because his mother left him.
  • You later find out his dad beat his mother, which is probably why she left. As ugly and unfortunate as it is, abuse is a learned behavior a lot of the time.
  • He becomes jealous of her friends and guys she sits by in class.
  • He tried to control her behavior.
  • He calls and texts her constantly, and gets very angry when she doesn’t respond promptly.
  • He tracks her on her phone’s GPS! Stalking is a serious red flag.
  • There is a small blip about an ex-girlfriend, who we don’t learn much about. However, sounds like he has been down this path before.
  • He makes her feel guilty for everything.
  • There is the obvious physical violence. The first incident, Mark lies and says he had to slam on his break and she hit the dash. She confirms the story. The cycle repeats itself, even if he says it will never happen again.
  • When she really tries to end the relationship, he pulls the suicide card. This is a very common response to once again use the blame and guilt that the victim feels to get them to stay.

The denial was thick as molasses. Liz blames herself for the fights. He has manipulated her mind and has fed his guilt into her. She makes a statement in the movie that if she were a better girlfriend, he wouldn’t have to hurt her. In one scene, she is eating dinner with her family and Mark texts her. Her dad tells her that it is family time and she can reply after dinner is over. Liz pretty much has a tiny panic attack. She becomes very anxious because her body is releasing adrenaline in response to what will happen if she doesn’t get back to him ASAP, even if her mind doesn’t make the connection.

One scene I found very powerful involved the social worker. After Liz lied to her family about breaking up with Mark, she visited her therapist. When the therapist asked how life was now that Mark wasn’t in it, Liz didn’t have much to say – because she was still seeing him. The therapist likely caught on to this and I think she used a powerful technique. She handed Liz her laptop and asked her to type in “warning signs of abuse” and asked Liz to read them to her. The clarity that washed over Liz was so heartbreaking, but it is what she needed to realize the situation she was in. At that point, she took control back of her life.

I plan to read the book ASAP, and will also report on it.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Miscellaneous news from school/internship.

One month in and I’m doing ok. I lucked out with my professors because the other group of students have tons of more work. I don’t mind lots of assignments but what I mind is time management and getting them all done and done well.

The internship is going well. I’m learning a lot. I feel a tad overwhelmed because I am there for 2 10-hour days only. However, group takes up 2.5 hours each day (planning and facilitating), and I have gotten 2 clients – which is AWESOME! But, I have to write individual and group case notes, and I must keep up with them because they can get out of hand if I don’t. I just don’t feel like I have enough time to prepare myself for my individual meetings (one child and one adolescent) and do other things I need to do. It will all work out, but I really hate feeling rushed, especially now that I have clients. This is my first experience with individual meetings and while I haven’t felt too nervous since I’m just trying to get to know them at this point, I’m still clueless and want to really focus on being a good therapist and asking the right questions, etc. AND, building rapport with the teen. She is nice and sweet and talks, but it’s all superficial at this point and I really want to help her understand her emotions. She needs someone to talk to...

My child client is so very open and genuine. I’ve been working with her in group so she has gotten to know me over the past few weeks. We drew pictures of a house and tree, and she helped me draw my trees. She is very nice and shares well. We talked about bullying, and why she needs to speak up if someone is bothering her. She told me that she stuck up for her friend on the playground. I told her she was very brave, but next time, she should get a teacher so that she isn’t hurt in the process.

I actually got to see (well, hear, since it was over the phone) the Defense Mechanism known as Reaction Formation. This DM transforms an unacceptable impulse into the opposite. It’s a characteristic of obsessional neuroses, and I have no doubt this person is neurotic! Anywho, I reached out to a referral to set up an appointment so she can begin group therapy. Her mother answered the phone, and then handed off to the victim. She said she had no transportation, etc., and would call us back. Not 2 minutes later, my manager received a call from her mother and called me in her office. I’ve never heard such BS in my life! She went on and on about how we could never understand how much she wants her daughter to enter our program and receive services/treatment, but there is this problem, and that one, oh – and that one too. She called us “hun” a billion times, which is a tad insulting, but you have to let it slide. It is obvious this woman has controlled the identity right out of her daughter. After our suggestions of a family meeting to see if family members can take turns bringing her (and still, more excuses) we finally hung up because she would’ve never stopped. It was an interesting experience, and I feel terrible for that woman. I doubt we will ever see her. :/

So much to say, but studying calls. My Psychopathology mid-term is in a week! :O

Thursday, September 16, 2010

My first group experience: The Good, The Bad, and The Whoa.

So I did my first group with children last night! I have so much to learn. *sigh* In case you didn’t know, I’m interning at a domestic violence program. The children have witnessed the violence in many different forms, and they attend group while their parents (just the victim, and I don’t say women/mothers because we have one male – it does happen!) attend group. I’ve been working with the child therapist for the last few weeks and she gave me the floor tonight. She actually left the room while we did the activity, and I think it went ok. The children are 1-6 grade, and they are at different levels of maturity. While they were being typical kids, they did complete the activity and actually talked about it afterwards. To me, that equals a win.

It is very obvious that I don’t know proper ways of getting children to settle down and behave. We do things differently in a therapeutic setting. Telling little Johnny to sit down and be quiet doesn’t work so much. I may not have as much control as the child therapist, and she certainly has an entirely different style than I, but I think I did ok. I’m alive, they’re alive. I’ll get better, right? :)

However, I met a young man tonight who I will refer to as E. He’s in 1st grade and is very troubled, as exhibited by his behavior in group. He used a few bad words, talked about Hell, and ran around the room like some sort of big cat, growling all the way! He was very agitated and certainly did not want to participate in an activity where he sat the entire time. I was told that he is going to be my first client, and I must say, I am nervous as heck! We will be using the playroom, where he will likely get our his anger and frustration and wild-childness. I do think this young man is in desperate need of someone to pay attention to him, to tell him that he is special, to let him know he matters. I haven’t read his file yet, but I bet it’s a doozy.

I am also going to start working with an adolescent girl (I will refer to her as Y) who has siblings in the program, as well. In fact, her 2 younger siblings are in one of the child groups, and they journaled about some ugly stuff happening with big sis. She has been inappropriately dealing with her anger lately and we want to find out what's beneath the anger. The adolescent group facilitators says she doesn’t speak much in group, so hopefully I can gain her trust and give her an outlet.

I met with my supervisor today and she really put things into perspective for me. I’ve never had a therapy session yet, so I feel at a real disadvantage about providing it! However, she said some things that make so much sense and eased up my anxiety a tad. She said the most important thing about therapy is the human connection. The relationship. She said just be human to human, be present and actively listen. Don't worry about what theory or model l should be following - that comes with experience. Just listen, and be genuine. She also added that she still gets nervous 15 years later but said working through that fear is what will make me grow…

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Law of the Jungle

I went to a leadership conference yesterday. It was geared toward an undergrad-level group but I thought it was interesting and motivating, nonetheless. I picked up some fantastic quotes (you know I love quotes!) and found out about some great book on leadership.

Now this is the Law of the Jungle — as old and as true as the sky; And the Wolf that shall keep it may prosper, but the Wolf that shall break it must die.

As the creeper that girdles the tree-trunk the Law runneth forward and back —
For the strength of the Pack is the Wolf, and the strength of the Wolf is the Pack.

-Rudyard Kipling

The above quote is actually pretty damn powerful. It talks of the importance of working as a team, a collective, with each other instead of against one another. I am very moved by this quote and concept, and I look forward to being a part of a grand team of like-minded professionals who are working towards the betterment of mankind.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

And I will try to fix you.

This semester I am taking Psychopathology in Clinical Practice. If you’ve been following my blog, you know that I am not interested in Clinical Practice at this point. I would much rather be on the services or macro side of Social Work, although I am quite aware that counseling skills are needed across the board. That being said, I have yet to experience a mental health setting so I could very well change my mind. In fact, I will be in a clinical setting at my Domestic Violence internship. I will mainly be working with the children who have witnessed the abuse. The victims and their children will no doubt exhibit a myriad of issues. Maybe I will end up enjoy this setting…who knows. I will admit that I am uber excited to experience Play Therapy. :)

Anyway, in our first class of Psychopathology, the professor played the video below, which looks to remove the stigma that mental illness receives. I know all about this stigma, as I come from a family entrenched in abuse and mental disorders. It has never been easy for any of them to ask for help, or to even accept their situation. A lot of it is pride, not accepting their reality, etc. But, a lot of it is related to the stigma surrounding these disorders, I’m sure.

Take a moment to watch the video and reflect on how you feel about mental health disorders. You can help fight the stigma that these people have unfairly hanging over their heads.

Lights will guide you home
And ignite your bones
And I will try to fix you

Monday, August 23, 2010

I am starting my FINAL year of Graduate School today!

I am entering my final year of graduate studies in Social Work! I’ve decided to go full-time my last year so I can finish up start a family. So, that means 4 classes (12 hours/wk) and 20 hrs/wk of internship. Of course, this doesn’t include the countless hours spent reading textbooks (my psychopathology textbook is over 1500 pgs long!!), writing papers/presentations and studying for horrible exams.

Fall Semester courses:

  • Psychopathology (SCARY!)

  • Advanced Evaluation (MORE SCARY!)

  • Advanced Practice with Children and Adolescents (Excited for this class)

  • Field Practicum (Not a strenuous course)

In addition to my courses, I will be interning in a Domestic Violence program. I think I will mainly be working with the children, but I definitely have the opportunity to engage in the full spectrum of services. To save on study/reading/writing time, I decided to do 2 – 10 hour days. I am freaked out about this, but I’m sure the days will go by fast, and then I will come home and crash hard.

Mon-Thurs is jam PACKED. 6 hours of classes (until 10 PM!) Mondays, back-to-back 10-hour days at internship on Tues/Wed, then 6 hours of classes on Thurs. I will no doubt be a ZOMBIE!

I’ve also taken on a position in the Social Work Student Association. I am the Communications and Marketing Chair, which means I run the Blog, Facebook page, email communications, etc. It’s a strength of mine, which is why I was asked to take it on. :) I look forward to it, honestly. We have a fantastic team of people and we are going have some stellar professional development and community service events. All good for my future in Social Work.


Thursday, August 12, 2010

Woot! Holding my 3.967 GPA strong!

Summer Classes

Child Welfare

International Studies London

And now, on to my hellish last year of GRADUATE SCHOOL!


Friday, August 6, 2010

Domestic Violence: Eminem & Rihanna Speak Out

When I was in Paris, one of my trip mates asked if I had heard the new Eminem track with Rihanna, Love the way you lie. I had not, so we listened to it on her iPod. As usual with Em’s lyrics, I am transported to a dark place. That man has gone through some tough shit, all of which he isn’t afraid to speak about in public. It is very common knowledge that he has had a serious violent, chaotic and destructive relationship with his ex-wife, Kim, and mother of his daughter, Haley. He has some past songs that speak about her, and one that even kills her. A Twitter friend posted the link to the video for Love the way you lie, and since the song spoke to me, I wanted to check out the video.


Some may think this video is glamorizing Domestic Violence. It’s all in the interpretation. I think the video shows just how emotionally and mentally destructive a violent relationship can be. Rihanna’s I love the way you lie lyric has some big controversy around it. I think the point of the lyric is pretty simple: She continues to loves him despite his lies. The line between passion, love and violence can become seriously blurred.

Megan Fox can’t act her way out of a wet paper bag. She relies on her sex appeal, and she definitely has it. However, the moment where she snuffs out the fire and opens her eyes at the camera, is pretty chilling. (I read that she donated her entire fee for this project to a domestic violence shelter. Awesomeness.)

I think it’s just 2 artists, both of who have been involved in partner violence, sharing their souls. Catharsis at its finest.

Just my 2 cents. I’ve never been in a violent relationship, but most of my family has experienced it, over and over. I don’t take this topic lightly, but I can’t speak from experience. I am looking forward to working with victims and their children this school year at my internship. I think it is going to be one hell of an emotional rollercoaster for me, and I think I will learn and witness a lot of hardship and pain, but I do hope that I witness some smiles and success with moving on from the violence.

P.S. The video reminds me of The Burning Bed, which is a tragically sad movie about domestic violence.

Afterthoughts: Don’t let this video fool you into thinking domestic violence only happens to lower class people. It knows no boundaries. And, why is Rihanna half-naked? Weird.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Fall Semester!

Oh boy, am I ever in for a wild, crazy ride this coming school year. I've decided to do my last year of grad school full-time! I've never gone to school full-time and I am very nervous about taking on 4 grad-level classes and 20 hours of internship. I no longer work, which is a major help, but that just leads to my anxiety and stress over our finances. (Neither of us is working and doing school full-time.) However, it is what it is and we will get through it, somehow, someway...

Fall is going to be interesting. I will have class on Mondays and Thursdays for 6 hours.

  • Psychopathology in Clinical Practice
  • Advanced Evaluation for Social Work Practice (MORE Research - ugh!)
  • Advanced Theory Practice with Children and Adolescents
  • Advanced Field Instruction
My internship in Domestic Violence is going to be Tuesdays and Wednesdays for 10 hours! I decided to do the two 10 hours days so I could nip it in the bud and have more time for school work. 

Looks like Mon - Thurs I will likely be a Zombie...

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Cause of the Month: Water for People

Did you ever stop to think about water, and exactly how important it is to sustain all living things? In America, water is as common as a terrible singer on a popular reality show. We take it for granted. Big time. Are you aware of exactly how desperate some countries are for potable, sanitary drinking water? I would say that access to potable, sanitary drinking water is a basic human right. Wouldn't you? Unfortunately, it is not a reality for many people of the world. People in countries like Bangladesh, Ethiopia and India mostly drink, bathe and urinate/defecate in the same water source. It is utterly despicable that some people must live this way - can you imagine drinking sewage with your dinner? It is also a major source of disease - cholera being a big one. Cholera is a nasty, nasty disease and a shitty (literally) way to suffer and die.

Luckily, there are agencies out there that are trying to bring potable drinking water to undeveloped nations so that the people can be free from the water-born disease, and enjoy a human right that we should all have. I introduce you to PlayPumps! Water For People and Case Foundation are working with PlayPumps International to tackle the world water issue. I learned about PlayPumps during my undergrad and I must say, I think it is SUCH a fantastic idea! 

How PlayPumps Work
  • While children have fun spinning on the PlayPump merry-go-round (1), clean water is pumped (2) from underground (3) into a 2,500-liter tank (4), standing seven meters above the ground.
  • A simple tap (5) makes it easy for adults and children to draw water. Excess water is diverted from the storage tank back down into the borehole (6).
  • The water storage tank (7) provides a rare opportunity to advertise in outlaying communities. All four sides of the tank are leased as billboards, with two sides for consumer advertising and the other two sides for health and educational messages. The revenue generated by this unique model pays for pump maintenance.
  • The design of the PlayPump water system makes it highly effective, easy to operate and very economical, keeping costs and maintenance to an absolute minimum.
  • Capable of producing up to 1,400 liters of water per hour at 16 rpm from a depth of 40 meters, it is effective up to a depth of 100 meters.

Genius idea, I think! 

The PlayPump is a great school/clinic option. Water For People begins implementing this solution in 2010 as a way to improve school water solutions. A spinning merry-go-round pumps water out of a borehole and up into a tank. Great for hand-washing and serving  part of a community, this will first be implemented in Malawi as a means to create full coverage in a community. This is one of several options available for communities.

Check it out in action:

Monday, June 28, 2010

Cause of the Month: The Girl Effect

I started the Cause of the Month post after the lovely SocialWrkr24/7 started a monthly meme featuring a Cause a Month, where she speaks about a cause that represents her work in the field (child welfare) or something she is passionate about. Be sure to check out her blog! I've learned a lot from her.

Please take a moment to watch this video before reading the post.

Being a woman, an activist, a humanitarian and someone who wants to empower young women, this video gets me every time. I honestly do not remember how I came across this amazing message, but is definitely a message that we all need to hear. Females are very lucky in the United States of America. In fact, most of us do not know how good we really have it. Despite our equal opportunities here, we still see discrimination, and the so-called "glass ceiling" effect.

In many countries around the world, women have no voice, and even though we had to fight for it here, women elsewhere sometimes literally face death in such a fight. Situations have changed and continue to change in a lot of countries, but females have a long way to go. It is unfortunate that so many people do not realize the value of females, aside from their baby-making abilities. Yes - that is a major and very important piece. But they have so much more to offer, as the video above describes.

The Girl Effect is an interesting and inspiring organization.

"The Girl Effect is the powerful social and economic change brought about when girls have the opportunity to participate. It’s an untapped force in the fight against poverty, and it’s driven by champions around the globe: the Nike Foundation, the NoVo Foundation, the UN Foundation, the Coalition for Adolescent Girls, CARE, Plan, the Population Council, ICRW and the Center for Global Development – and many others."

Why Girls?

Because there’s poverty, and war, and hunger, and AIDS, and because when adolescent girls in the developing world have a chance, they can be the most powerful force of change for themselves, their families, communities, countries, and even the planet.

But while those 600 million adolescent girls are the most likely agents of change, they are often invisible to their societies and the world."

  • Girls really are an untapped resource. In developing countries, there are usually no identifying documentation, so a girl doesn't know her age, and cannot protect herself from child marriage, vote, open a bank account, find a job.

  • 70% of the world's school-aged children who are not in school are GIRLS! Girls have the human right, just as much as boys, to be educated and given a chance to make a better life for themselves!

  • Child marriages are the norm in many countries because women's bodies aren't considered their own! Many adolescent girls die from childbirth. This is a major violation of body and soul!

  • Girls can be educated about HIV but it is not enough. Until they don't risk the chance of rape the minute they leave their home, or have a voice when it comes to sexual relations, no amount of education will help.

  • Girls can learn the skills for economic independence! They need to be given the tools, the education, and the respect first.

  • A girl is said to reinvest resources within her community at a much higher rate than a boy would. Girls are better investments.

  • Girls are a distinct category. They deserve this distinction when it comes to aid, education, sports, civic participation, health and economics.

  • Girls need US - YOU and ME - to speak up for their human right to live a life of their OWN! We all have a stake in the future of these young ladies. Their future is our future.
Source: The Girl Effect

So what can you do about that?

Join the movement: A million people can make a lot of noise. Help make girls visible. Stand up and be counted by becoming a fan of The Girl Effect, and getting your friends to do the same. Tell the world that you think the 600 million girls in the developing world deserve better – for themselves, and for the end of poverty.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Thursday's Thoughts: Gay Adoption

This article came up on Social Workers Speak on 6/9/10: Gay, Lesbian Couples Fit to Adopt.

A study done by researchers from two social work schools shows gay couples are just as fit to adopt as heterosexual ones, according to this article in the Ottawa Citizen.

Paige Averett, an assistant professor of social work at East Carolina University, Blace Nalavany also from East Carolina, and Scott Ryan, dean of the University of Texas School of Social Work Arlington and National Association of Social Workers member, interviewed 1,400 couples from around the nation, including 155 gay and lesbian parents.

They found sexual orientation had no bearing on the emotional development of adopted children. What mattered far more to the children’s well being was whether parents were satisfied with the adoption process, had a stable income and functioned well as a family.

I have very strong thoughts on gay adoption. I live in Florida, which is a pretty conservative state. It was here (Miami-Dade County) that good ole former beauty queen/singer, Anita Bryant, went on her Save Our Children tirade in late 70s, spouting nonsense that gays should not be allowed to adopt "based on conservative Christian beliefs regarding the sinfulness of homosexuality and the perceived threat of homosexual recruitment of children for child molestation." There was absolutely no evidence of this, purely based on supposed evilness of gays. [insert barf here] Now, the ban was overturned almost 30 years later because it was unconstitutional and irrational.

Unfortunately, this discrimination was written into the Florida Statutes and thus, is constitutional (unfairly so). People have been trying to remove/revise this statute for years, including myself at this year's NASW Lobby Day in Tallahassee. It never makes it very far due to the still anti-homosexual feelings in this state. It just sickens me.

I'm not turning this post into a religious face-off because I whole-heartedly respect everyone's religious beliefs. However, I cannot accept that people feel they have the right to interfere in other's lives. Yes, I know these individuals feel that children will be living with immoral evil beings and therefore, will grow up to be such themselves. However, I find the idea a bit laughable/ridiculous/unfounded. What makes me even more angry is that homosexuals are allowed to foster children in FL, but they can't adopt them! HOW IN THE BLOODY HELL IS THAT OK? Ridiculous, is what it is.

FINALLY, someone has taken the time to scientifically study children in GLBTQI homes. Granted, only one study is mentioned, but it's a start. I took the time to read the article, which can be found here: Averett, Paige , Nalavany, Blace and Ryan, Scott(2009) 'An Evaluation of Gay/Lesbian and Heterosexual Adoption', Adoption Quarterly, 12: 3, 129 — 151.

Abstract: Many experts in the helping professions have agreed that there is no scientific credence to support a gay and lesbian adoption ban. Nevertheless, there continues to be persistent mythology pertaining to outcomes for children adopted by gay and lesbian parents. This position may be somewhat due to the dearth of research that compares heterosexual and homosexual parenting outcomes with adopted children. To respond to this gap in the literature, this study explored the extent of emotional and behavioral problems among children aged 1.5 to 5 years (n=380) and 6 to 18 years (n=1,004) with gay and lesbian or heterosexual adoptive parents. A multiple regression analysis was used to assess the association between the dependent variables (child internalizing and externalizing behavior) on adoptive parent sexual orientation (gay and lesbian or heterosexual) while controlling for child age, child sex, pre-adoptive maltreatment, co-sibling adoption, adoption preparation, family income, and family functioning. As hypothesized, results indicted that child internalizing and externalizing behavior was not contingent upon adoptive parent sexual orientation. Rather, regardless of sexual orientation, adoptive parents are likely to encounter similar challenges in terms of risk factors for child behavioral problems and mitigating factors of such behavior. Recommendations for practice, policy, and future research are highlighted.

This research study found no significant differences between heterosexual and homosexual parents and had no significant impact on the internalizing or externalizing behaviors of the children.

You don't say? Obviously, you will get bad apple parents with homosexuals, just as you do with heterosexuals. However, that does not mean that all homosexuals are evil incarnate, just like it doesn't mean all heterosexuals are bad parents. Obviously. I actually know someone in my Social Work program who has one of the most successful homosexual parent-child situations I've ever heard of. He and his partner of 9 years have joint custody of his biological daughter. She spends the other half of her time 1 mile down the road at her biological mother and step father's home. That young lady has FOUR LOVING, DEVOTED PARENTS, whereas many children don't even have one. How this is bad for her emotional/physical/mental development is beyond my knowledge. In my opinion, she is one lucky child, who will grow up with a very diverse background, and will have acceptance for those who are different.

The evil mythology surrounding homosexuals and adoption needs to be BUSTED. Too bad we can't get this topic on MythBusters. :)

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Remember the 7 Cs

Remember the 7 Cs

Some children with moms and dads that drink too much think that it is their fault. Maybe you are one of those children. Well, it's not your fault and you can't control it. But, there are ways that you can deal with it. One important way is to remember the 7 Cs.

I didn't Cause it.
I can't Cure it.
I can't
 Control it.
I can
 Care for myself by
Communicating my feelings,

Making healthy Choices, and
By Celebrating myself.

Monday, June 7, 2010

GREAT resources for motivating clients to CHANGE!

I'm doing an online course to better under stand Substance Abuse and how it affects client in the Child Welfare system. I just came across some really great motivators from change. All of this information came from the below source, of which you can register and take the trainings for free.

Parent’s Stage of Change and Motivational Tasks for Child Welfare Workers
Parent's Stages of Change Motivational Tasks for Child Welfare Worker
Precontemplation No perception of having a problem or need to change Increase parent's perception of the risks and problems with their current behavior; raise parent's awareness about behavior
Contemplation Initial recognition that behavior may be a problem and ambivalence about change Foster and evoke reasons to change and the risks of not changing; help parents see that change is possible and achievable
Decision to Change Makes a conscious determination to change; some motivation for change identified Help parent identify best actions to take for change; support motivations for change
Action Takes steps to change Help parent implement strategy and take steps
Maintenance Actively works on sustaining change strategies and maintaining long-term change Help parent to identify triggers and use strategies to prevent relapse
Lapse or Relapse Slips (lapses) from a change strategy or returns to previous problem behavior patterns (relapse) Help parent re-engage in the contemplation, decision, and action stages

Motivational Strategies for the Precontemplation Stage

When parents are in the precontemplation stage on a specific issue, child welfare professionals can use the following motivational strategies to help move them to the next stage:

  • Establish rapport and build trust

  • Raise concerns about a parent's substance-related risk behaviors to self and children

  • Elicit the parents' perceptions of their level of risk

  • Elicit the parents' perceptions of their children's level of risk with respect to safety, well-being, and health

  • Explore the benefits and risks of risky behaviors and treatment, including the timetable of the dependency court

  • Express concern and remain available.

Motivational Strategies for the Contemplation Stage

When parents are in the contemplation stage on a specific issue, child welfare professionals can use the following motivational strategies to help move them to the next stage:

  • Help parents understand that ambivalence about change is normal

  • Elicit and weigh their reasons to change and not to change, including the consequences for the child if the parent does not meet the requirements of the dependency court

  • Emphasize parents' free choice, responsibility, and self-efficacy for change

  • Elicit self-motivational statements of intent and commitment from parents

  • Elicit ideas regarding parents' perceived self-efficacy and expectations

  • Summarize self-motivational statements

  • Elicit ideas for the child's well-being and safety

Motivational Strategies for the Preparation Stage
When parents are in the preparation stage on a specific issue, child welfare professionals can use the following motivational strategies to help move them to the next stage:

  • Clarify the parents' own goals and strategies for change

  • Offer a menu of options for change or treatment

  • Offer expertise and specific guidance, with permission

  • Make sure that parents follow through on referrals for treatment assessment

  • Help negotiate a change or treatment plan and behavior agreement

  • Consider how to help parents lower their barriers to change

  • Help parents enlist social support

  • Explore the parent's treatment expectations

  • Elicit from the parent what has or has not worked in the past

  • Have the parent publicly announce plans to change

  • Explore legal and social consequences to the parent and the child

  • Help parents make plans for dependent children

Motivational Strategies for the Action Stage
When parents are in the action stage on a specific issue, child welfare professionals can use the following motivational strategies to help move them to the next stage:

  • Support a realistic view of change through small steps

  • Acknowledge difficulties for the parent in early stages of change

  • Help the parent find new reinforcers of positive change

  • Help parents assess whether they have strong family and social supports, and how these can be used to support child safety and well-being

  • Help parents engage community supports

  • Reflect on appropriate legal and social interactions and gains

Motivational Strategies for the Maintenance Stage
When parents are in the maintenance stage on a specific issue, child welfare professionals can use the following motivational strategies to help them sustain the benefits that they have achieved.

  • Support parents' lifestyle changes

  • Affirm parents' resolve and self-efficacy

  • Support parents' use of new communication or coping strategies

  • Maintain supportive contact and availability

  • Sustain parents' resolve to meet statutory timetables

  • Review long-term goals with parents

  • Advocate for legal and community supports and rewards

  • Help parents make plans for dependent children

  • Help parents, kin caregivers, and children recognize risk factors and behaviors involved with substance abuse

Motivational Strategies for the Relapse Stage
Many clients will not immediately sustain new changes they are attempting to make. Substance use after a period of abstinence may be common in early recovery. Clients may go through several cycles of the stages of change to achieve long-term recovery. Relapse should not be interpreted as treatment failure or that the client has abandoned a commitment to change. With support, these experiences can provide information that can facilitate subsequent progression through the stages of change and identify new areas in which treatment and case plans can be enhanced. When parents lapse or relapse, child welfare professionals have an especially important role helping parents to reengage by using the following strategies:

  • Help parents to reenter the change cycle

  • Explore the meaning of relapse as a learning opportunity

  • Maintain nonjudgmental, supportive contact

  • Help parents find alternative coping strategies

  • Keep parents' attention focused on the social and legal consequences of relapse for themselves and for their children

The FRAMES Strategies
F Feedback regarding the parent's impairment or risk behavior
R Responsibility for change is the parent's
A Advice (guidance) to change is provided by the social worker
M Menu of treatment and self-help alternatives is offered to the parent
E Empathy and non-blaming style is used by the social worker
S Self-efficacy or positive empowerment is facilitated in the parent