Being aware of oneself as a social worker is imperative if one plans to be an effective and competent social worker. There will be many incidents and situations social workers may chance upon in their professional work, which may present some difficulty concerning the next step to take in working with a client. Being aware is the first step.
The family subset that will be explored in this paper is a mother and a son dyad that I worked with in my internship last year. The mother, who will be referred to as Ms. Patrick and her son, who will be referred to as Sam were having difficulties at home. Ms. Patrick is a widowed White female in her late-fifties and her son, Sam, is a Bi-racial (African- American/White) 16-year-old male. Sam is the youngest child of Ms. Patrick and her deceased husband. Ms. Patrick and her deceased husband had six children, including Sam. Sam is the only child left, living in the household.
Ms. Patrick stated she was “in a battle with her son for control”. Ms. Patrick described her son as disrespectful and disobedient. Ms. Patrick sought therapy first; she wanted her son to join her in future sessions. Ms. Patrick sought therapy, because she wanted to figure out if there was a way she could change herself to fix her son. Sam did come into therapy at his mother’s insistence, in later sessions.
During a session alone with Sam, he described his mother as being rash and irresponsible. Sam stated that at times his mother would call him the “N” word, especially when she was extremely mad at him. Sam quickly recovered and stated that his mother was not a racist. At that moment, I could comprehend partially why Sam would not have any respect for his mother. From the point he disclosed that his own mother would use the “N” word to refer to her son, I knew I would have a problem continuing therapy with Ms. Patrick. Even so, I still wanted to get to the core of her feelings and thoughts to gather why she thought it was okay to call her son the “N” word. Part of being a clinician is trying to figure out what the problem is so that solutions can be generated (Nichols & Swartz, 2008).
With the situation described, I felt it imperative that I received as much supervision as possible. I did not want to be entrapped in the emotions that I have for anyone who would use the “N” word to put down another human being. I knew this would be a sensitive matter for me and I did not want to be seen as someone who could not handle emotions in a professional setting.
As I relayed the situation to my field instructor, she felt really offended that someone would use “N” word. My field instructor did a quasi intervention with me, to make sure that I was okay. I informed my field instructor, that even though the word holds so much negative power, I would not let it affect me to the point where I could not do what I was required to do at my field placement. My field instructor asked me if I...