Tuesday, September 29, 2009

there's a cat on my head.

My orange cat is on my head right now. NOT impressed. Oh well.

So, big revelation of the week. I need to SLOW DOWN! Yesterday I came into the office and got right down to business. Things with the student and with new staff had left me kind of overwhelmed, but I came into the office ready to get back on top of the pile and jump start my week.

Well, I not only got on top of the pile, but I just kept climbing. See, I have a habit of being very intense. It's a really ADHD thing (which I've never formally been diagnosed with, but well, I fit all the symptoms...) Anyway, it's that ADHD thing where you can focus really intently on something you're interested in and you just zone right in, but then in other scenarios you're just bored out of your mind and can't focus at all. SO, what I'm trying to say is that I did a TON of work yesterday and really didn't leave a lot for the rest of the week. Or maybe it's that I did all the "interesting" work yesterday, and have boring stuff left for the rest of the week.

See the thing is, yesterday I went through my case load and checked up on them all. Hadn't heard from them? Gave them a call. Missing information? Tracked it down. Needed a letter sent? Wrote the letter and sent it etc... Did I do any class prep or group development? Nope. Now, maybe this is good, but guess which part of being a social worker I like best, class development or dealing with clients...

I'm still working on finding that balance in my day. Finding the time and the pattern so that I spend a good amount of time on my various tasks. Fridays are almost always saved for catching up on my documentation/administration stuff, and since my clients never show up on Fridays I've basically stopped booking their appointments for then. I tend to have most of my clients on Wednesday when we have our job search group, and the rest fall in on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday. I lead class/group on a completely irregular schedule. And I usually see evening clients on Wednesdays.

Basically, what I'm saying is that for me, as it is with a lot of people, it's a lot easier for me to do the counselling/advocacy part of my job then it is to do all the paperwork that comes with it.

Monday, September 28, 2009

busy bee

I interacted with 14 client files today. I cannot tell you how much I hate that expression.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

mindlessness perhaps the opposite of mindfullness

I had an awesome day today.

Starbucks, pick up people for church.

I lead the service a church this morning (sermon and all) and I didn't die during the children's story. Children's stories are NOT my forte.

After church I drove people home and then began watching Grey's Anatomy.

Lunch with bestest bud at Olive Garden (Soup, Salad, and Bread sticks).

The a quick bit of shopping with bestest bud including a pair of yoga pants to wear during movie watching marathons while on vacation, which coincidently, commences in 11 days.

The home to watch the rest of Grey's, hug the cats, check out this new NCIS: Los Angelos thing and start to get caught up on my CSI:NY watching. I haven't finished last season on that one yet.

And so, now I'm heading to be early. all in all. a wonderful day.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

learning contract

So I haven't given you guys an update on my social work student since my panic earlier this month. I had NO idea having a student would be this much work. Or well, I sort of did, but really, it's A LOT of work! I think I'm settling into a routine with her now though, which is really helpful. There was one week when I came into work an hour early on the days she was there as well as leaving late so that I could get all my work done while still spending time with her. Of course, I also had to work on training our new counsellor, so I was trying to do a crazy amount of work...

So, things I've learned so far (some of which I was warned about, some of which I'm figuring out on my own).

1. Having a student makes you hyper aware of what you are doing. I haven't had someone observe one of my counselling session since I did a video session in third year university. Now I have someone observing and critiquing my counselling. I also have to pay a lot more attention to how I spend my time because two days a week, there's someone watching everything I do.

2. I need to slow down. I always need to slow down, so this isn't actually new, however, having a student forces me to take the time to slow down and really think about what I am doing and why.

3. Shoes are an important thing. I have a habit of not wearing shoes while at work. I wear them when I see clients, but other then that... It drives my boss crazy, and if she "made" me wear them, I would make more of an effort, but mostly she just shakes her head. However, now that I have a student, I've started thinking about what kind of an example I'm setting as a professional, and realizing... hmmm shoes... probably a good thing.

4. Having a student makes me go back to basics. I found her my "basic counselling responses" text book and took a good look at it myself. It made me think about some of those basic things which have in a way become second nature to me.

5. Having a student also brings me back to some of that "impostor syndrome" I've felt in the past. That whole, I can't do this, who am I to be calling me a social worker type thing. Only in this case, it's all about not screwing the poor girl up or having her expose me as a fake.

On the whole, I really like having a student. I think she's going to bring a lot to our organization. Having a student means we all act a little "sharper", but it also means we get a new perspective, someone who is right now reading the most current up to the date stuff and learning lots of great things in school. I enjoy helping some one else learn about their passions, about social work and about being a professional. I love reading her reflections and trying to challenge her thinking and get her to explore some of her own strengths and weaknesses. I hopefully will get to keep doing this, because I think it is such a wonderful thing.


Volunteering tonight was exhausting. We had a great youth group in from out of town to help us, but they of course needed direction. One semi good conversation with a guest though.

Also, Olay Daily Facials Express are great for "sponge" baths.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


So get this. I fell down my apartment stairs this morning on my way to work. I've complained on here before about feeling like I have ear problems, well, this doesn't make me feel any better. Thankfully, I caught myself, and my coffee mug fell much further then I did. I have a sore ankle and shin, but other then that, I seem to be okay. I was able to shake it off, put on different (safer) shoes and go to work a few minutes late. I am WAY to young to feel this old though. At 23 I should not be worrying about falling down the stairs, constant ear aches, sinus pain and well, feeling completely crappy all the time. I see my doctor next week though and I plan on be very assertive.

Work was okay today. Nothing all that exciting, well, one of my clients got a job, that was exciting. I'm so happy for her! However, as I mentioned previously, it's a lot easier for our job developers to know that they did a good intervention then it is to evaluate all the work the two of us did in counselling, the advocacy pieces I did with her and the community referrals, all of which helped get her to the point where she was confident enough to interview well.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

decisions, decisions.

My thought for today is that I either need to go back to Yoga or back to therapy. Maybe both. I'm not making a decision till after my holiday though.

stay tuned tomorrow for why I'm pissed off about the material I learned in my food handlers course and how it relates to societies treatment of some of our most vulnerable citizens.

Monday, September 21, 2009


I had a super intense session with someone today. We had a really intense one last week too. I don't know if the client finds things as intense as I do, but I feel like we're really hitting the root of some incredibly deep pain.

I've been thinking about how to assess the effectiveness of what I do. For our job developers it's a lot easier. Either people get jobs, or they don't. Plain and simple. They can count the number of people they help find employment each month. It's A LOT harder for the counsellors. I mean, I can count the time I spend in sessions with people, and in fact, I'm required to. But how do I judge whether what I do has a positive affect on people?

One thing that helps is when clients volunteer that feedback, but it doesn't always happen. For example, I wonder if I'm actually helping the client I saw today. They're dealing with some very intense stuff, and I have no idea whether our work together is helping, but there doesn't seem to be an appropriate way to ask... Counselling is a very abstract thing to measure.

In other thoughts, I wonder if an empty chair exercise would be helpful or hurtful to someone with schizophrenia. I mean, of course it depends on the person, but in general... There's a client I think it would really benifit, but I don't want to play into anything they may have going on for them... I need to do some research on Gestalt Therapy and Psychotic Disorders...

Sunday, September 20, 2009


I love popcorn. Seriously. I love it. I'm eating some right now and it makes me incredibly satisfied. It can't fix all my problems, but it makes things temporarily right in my world.

Hmmm what else can I say. This trying to blog every day thing is interesting, but I feel like I'm just putting crap up on my blog.

My day was fairly good. Church, then lunch with friends, then a hair cut. One of my friends cuts my hair, and this time we traded a hair cut for me trimming her cats claws. The cat is 18 years old but I have 3 bites, multiple scratches and my finger was actually bleeding. Still, my friend does an AMAZING job and I have a super cute hair cut that I didn't have to pay money for.

Then I did some stupid chores like repotting some plants, changing the cat litter and taking out the garbage. After which I went to my parents for supper. I brought Oliver Lockhart with me. He makes a great escape tool. He lay down in front of the door and then I just said "well, Ollie wants to go home!"

Then this evening, I talked to my friend (who I am visiting in just 18 days!) for quite a while, trimmed Oliver's claws and made a meal plan for the rest of the week...oh, and a grocery list. And now, I'm hoping to get to bed a bit early, we'll see if it actually happens though :P

Watch this time tomorrow for a post about assessing the effectiveness of counselling if I manage to find the words to write what I want to say! Either that or I'll post pictures of my plants...perhaps both.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Blue sky

Today was a gorgeous day. I ignored all the calls from the shelter asking me to do a shift and enjoyed the sunshine. Our church put on a free family fun day for the neighbourhood and so I hung out at that, playing with the kids, cooking up some hotdogs and just being outside.

Volunteering last night was hard. We were so short on volunteers that we couldn't open our dining room. We had to pass out bag lunches through the door. It sucked. We've got to think of some new strategies to get volunteers or something. It's really sad for the community that lack of volunteers is what holds us back.

Also, I made this awesome Chickpea Masala for dinner tonight and installed new full spectrum bulbs in my kitchen, so I'm feeling quite good about myself. A cat just walked across me on his way to start combing my hair with his claws, so I'm thinking that's about all I'm writing today.

Friday, September 18, 2009

so blessed

I recieved a letter from my sponsor child today. They (she and her family) thanked me for the picture of Sophie and I and said my cat looked very healthy. Then they said that they prayed for me each day and night. I almost cried. I am sure that they do, and it touched me so much that this family, living in Malawi, was praying for me, who has so much.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Life goes on and on

So, inspired by the Anti Social Social Worker, who was inspired by someone or another, I'm going to try and write at least a sentance everyday. In all truth, I've been too anhedonic/apathetic to write. Having depression sucks, and September is definitely a trigger time for me.

Work is good though. We finally have a full team as of yesterday, and after three days of practicum, I haven't scared away my student yet! That is ALWAYS a good thing. I'm taking her to a wholesale discount candy store tomorrow, everyone working in non-profits needs to know about resources like that...

Oliver Lockhart just climbed up and is combing my hair with his claws... he seems to find this relaxing. I don't.

and...that's all I got today.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

So, I have a social work student...

This is Sophie Cat. See her stare? She is saying "help my girl" (Oliver Lockhart just keeps walking across the keyboard erasing things). So, why do I need help? Well, my social work student arrived yesterday. My very first one. I had done lots of thinking, reflection, and preparation, gone to workshops, done all the paperwork, but now she's here. Now I'm panicking. I am so worried I am going to screw this poor girl up. My biggest problem though, especially this week and next, is figuring out how to balance taking care of my case load and my documentation (which as you know, I'm constantly behind in) and still finding time to do a good job with her. I don't want her to be as bored as I was the first month at my first practicum.

So, for those of you who've been there, cause all us social workers have, what was good about your field instructor? What was bad about your field instructor? If you are still in practicum, what's good, what's bad? If you've had a student, how did you find the balance? Any advice for a first time supervisor?

So yeah. That's what's going in my life. More later though.

The Dreamer.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009