Skills Gained During Field Experience
Wk 10 Peer responses
Respond to the blog posts of three colleagues in one or more of the following ways:
Must respond to each peer individually intext citations and references:
Validate an idea in your colleague’s post with your own experience.
Share an insight from having read your colleague’s posting.
Expand on your colleague’s post.
Peer 1: Alicia Simpkins
Social Work Practice Skills Gained During Field Experience
For the spring and summer quarters, I have had the opportunity to intern with a great organization called Community Solutions, which is located in Virginia Beach, VA. The organization has served the Hampton Roads community for over 20 years, first beginning as a foster care agency before expanding to serve youth and their families. We offer services for clients who need peer support through mentorship, as well as offer help with reunification services. Perhaps the biggest service this organization provides is the substance abuse recovery services, which is what I have had the pleasure of working closely with during this time.
Before this placement, I did not have much experience in working with those who had struggled with substance abuse. I had briefly touched on the topic during my senior undergrad field placement; there were families I worked with at the department of social services who had a little trouble with substance abuse, and we would refer them for recovery services. However, being at Community Solutions has allowed room for me to work closely with this population and help connect recovering clients with resources aid in maintaining their sobriety. During this placement, I have had the opportunity to work on my skills relating to communication, active listening, documentation, and so on. These skills have come into play when conducting intakes and comprehensive assessments with clients.
In this placement, I have also had the opportunity to facilitate the Wednesday night recovery group for the Intensive Outpatient Program. While I was initially nervous to do this task, I am slowly finding my feet in facilitating. With these skills in mind, I look forward to the next chapter in this field.
PEER 2: Amber Hopf
An explanation of the social work practice skills you have gained by participating in your field education experience
During my field experience, I have had the opportunity to practice many social work skills that I have learned over my many experiences. One social work skill that I have mastered through this internship was communication. This skill was important as I spent most of my internship communicating with the client, their team and my co-workers to coordinate rooms as well as any questions I may have regarding the case. In addition, collaboration was another skillset that was utilized. For instance, I worked closely with my supervisor to discuss best possible treatment options for clients. On the other hand, collaboration was utilized through working closely with the client’s team members to discuss the clients progress as well as how we can improve the clients progress. In addition, collaboration was used with clients when discussing the treatment options and what they would like to get out of therapy.
Another common social work skill that was utilized throughout this experience was research, problem solving and developing projects. For instance, I had the opportunity to create a program for LGBTQ+ awareness. This program has been used for educational programs for staff and others in the community to understand more about the LGBTQ+ community. In fact, my supervisor had mentioned that this program was helpful in an LGBTQ+ individual to feel comfortable and safe to discuss their experiences. As for problem solving skills I had to engage in these skillsets to work with clients on identifying and coping with the issues that they faced. Lastly, I engaged in developing a community project that provides awareness of the services and resources that my internship offers. In doing so, we hope to raise awareness of these opportunities to community members as well as offering information about foster care trainings, services and opportunities.
This experience has offered me many opportunities to practice these and many other social work skills. I hope to be able to continue utilizing these skills in my future practice so that I can continue to improve my practice!
PEER 3: David Jones
My field education experience has had an immeasurable impact on my career and passion as a social worker. I had an opportunity to practice what I had learned in class, was able to actualize some of the skills I thought would be difficult to implement and got challenged by the extent to which most of the skills I thought would be easier were a bit difficult to implement, (like communication) especially through the phone with an uncooperative client.
One major skill I have gained while at A new Vision for You, was cultural competency. I was able to work with clients from different walks of life. I was very keen, to consciously identify any biases I may have had about any culture, the moment I met a client for the first time. This greatly reduced biases, deterring me from creating obstacles when interacting with clients and helped me keep an open mind with my interpretation of the client’s problem. This in other words, also entails the use of evidence-based focus. I was also mindful to ask the client about what requirements in the intervention would be okay by them, before stamping the intervention as the agreed-upon one. I noticed that religion was a major cultural distinguisher. Some sessions had to be postponed for clients that viewed certain periods as their holy worship days and I had to adjust my schedule accordingly without prejudice. This leads to the next skill that I practiced, which is empathy and the use of self (Reupert, 2007). By empathizing with all my clients, it was easier for me to understand their schedules, their cultures, and beliefs hence easily able to adjust the session or therapy to meet their needs.
Due to the positive role of supervision in practice, there is no doubt that applying theory to practice was beneficial to me. The value of theory application in practice is that it: (1) explains clients’ situations and predicts their behaviors; (2) provided a starting point for me; (3) helped me to have an organized plan and reduced the wandering that can happen in practice; (4) offered me clear framework in a chaotic situation and provided accountability; (5) gave me a perspective to conceptualize and address clients’ problems with appropriate interventions; and (6) I was able to identify knowledge gaps about practice (Walsh, 2010). Without the integration of theory and practice, we as social workers, are easily and overly affected by our own attitudes, moods, and reactions, which may result in infectiveness, inefficiency, even harm clients (Walsh, 2010).
Ultimately, I learned the importance of practice and I could finally understand the importance of having these social work values and skills. Other skills that I was able to practice were critical thinking, organization, advocacy (Van Voorhis & Hostetter, 2006), and patience. Theoretical frameworks included CBT, RBT, Motivational Interviewing and empowerment. Social work requires patience, especially when dealing with an uncooperative client or those that were forcefully required by the court to go through therapy and or treatment. As social workers, we must be patient enough to take the client through the importance of the sessions,explain why they should appreciate the session and go through it for their overall progress and not just as formality.
Reupert, A. (2007). Social worker’s use of self. Clinical Social Work Journal, 35(2), 107–116.
Van Voorhis, R. M., & Hostetter, C. (2006). The impact of MSW education on social worker empowerment and commitment to client empowerment through social justice advocacy. Journal of Social Work Education, 42(1), 105–121.
Walsh, J. (2010). Theories for direct social work practice (2nd ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Cen