Wednesday, August 3, 2011


Melancholy: a deep, pensive, and long lasting sadness.

I think that melancholy might be a good word to describe how I'm feeling right now. It's hard to explain really. When my naturopath asked me today, the best I could come up with was "contemplative" and that didn't quite do it, so I thought about it some more, and melancholy really seems to fit, especially the part about being pensive. I'm not sure quite what I'm thinking about, and some of it's definitely good, but I'm definitely thinking, and pondering, and just generally, pensive.

The number one thing on my mind these days is "growing up". Now, I don't mean that in the way of now I'm not a kid anymore, I've just noticed lately, that I'm more grown up and more comfortable in my roles than I used to be. I've been working with a few people at the shelter lately who've been younger than me (which is a nice change, to be honest) and it's started to really strike me just how much I've grown and changed since I started working there more than three years ago, and for the most part, in a good way. When I started working there, everything was new and exciting, and I had story after story after story to tell. I was enthusiastic, wanting to learn, and always looking for something to do. I see that a lot in our new staff, especially some of the younger ones. Now, it's not that I'm not enthusiastic, and I don't do extra stuff, and I still LOVE learning and hearing people's stories, that stuff is still all true, I guess it's just that I've settled into my role. It doesn't need to be exciting anymore though, I'm okay with quiet shifts; if there's nothing to do, I'm okay with sitting back and observing. Situations that I might have found exciting, or scary, or challenging in the past are no longer quite so extreme. I don't think I've hardened or become bitter, I just think I've adapted, gained experience and gained confidence. I've also gotten a lot more experienced in how things work in terms of policies, staff dynamics, and client dynamics, which helps A LOT when working in social services. New staff ask me questions, and now lots of times the answer is "I've stopped asking" (I haven't decided if that's good or not, one gave me a great ethical dilemma that I'm still mulling over).

And then there's my full time job. I've been working as a social worker/counsellor for more than two years now and I am now the most senior person on my team. Some days I feel like I'm really comfortable in my role, that I'm a good counsellor, other days, I feel like I'm just playing at my job and not really doing anything. I realize that's normal and I may never get over it, I've just been thinking about it a lot more lately. Counselling is such a hard thing to evaluate though, in other professions I might be able to have objective measures of how things are going, but I find it very hard to figure out this. I mean, most clients thank me and make another appointment and are hopefully moving towards there goals, but there are also a huge chunk of clients who drop off the face of the earth, or who don't move towards the program goal (employment) and I have to close their file whether they like it or not. (Someday I will work in a program that does not have a specific end result and where success is not measured by only one outcome, and my job security does not depend on the percentage of clients who meet that goal).

Finally there's me as a person. I've had a few different people lately compliment me on how friendly and how nice I am. I have a hard time with this. Not because I don't believe that I'm friendly and nice, because I am, but because I feel like I haven't been putting any effort into being friendly and nice and there is so much more I could be doing. I almost feel like I've been avoiding being friendly and nice, and yet, here I am, getting these compliments. This both confuses me and gives me hope. I'm glad that I am coming across that way, because it's the person I want to be, but I wish I could see it in myself. I guess I'll just have to watch harder!

1 comment:

antiSWer said...

In order to get a feel for your effectiveness, you may want to check out the work of Scott Miller and Michael Lambert. They promote feedback informed treatment. You can find some of the tools here: