"You don't have to think about doing the right thing. If you're for the right thing, then you do it without thinking."
~ Maya Angelou

September 20, 2011

Needing It Vs. Wanting It

Yeah this one is just one of those that can challenge not only those in the profession of helping others, but in your personal worlds when you are trying to be supportive, available and present for those you care for.  If you have not heard the words " Needing It versus Wanting It" let me explain.  When someone is in a stage, phase, period etc. in life when the world just doesn't fit their needs, they are in pain, they are suffering, and no matter what intervention (s), help, or support is thrown their way they just can't respond in a healthy positive way.  The reason (s) are many.  For example, someones skill set, drug and alcohol abuse/addiction, development (lack of or stopped due to trauma or tragedy), environmental influences, lack of a positive support system etc.  As Social Worker' we face this on an ongoing basis, it is something in our profession that is prominent, and with some often permanent.  However,when you are trained as a Social Worker you are trained that you begin/start where the client is at.  For example, our assessment begins at the first point of contact, whether its a face to face, a letter, phone call, consultation with family, friends, schools, community partnerships etc.  This is crucial in our practice, you need so much of everything to make a fair and objective assessment so you can really tap in to someones pain and suffering, skill set, capability and ability, motivation to change etc.  With that being said it never makes it easy when it comes to your friends and family.  You see, another part of our training is boundaries.  We are taught and trained not to be Social Workers in our personal worlds for the obvious and this is hard, particularly if you know so well how to identify/assess, treat, and all and everything that goes in to helping others change for the better...

I am not trying to be a Social Worker in my personal worlds, I really am not.  However, I am a Social  Worker by nature, I get it (how to help others change for the better) and do have the ability to really tap into someone else' pain and suffering,  Often it comes to me when I am not really asking for it.  It is challenging to say the least, and for someone like myself who by nature wants to be available and present for others, I have to be real disciplined with that boundary thing, and so I am.  The only problem with that is that often others can not really understand this, and when you are an active listener and those who know you see your "empathy" in it's truest form they gravitate to you.  What usually happens is you listen and speak when you need to, but one thing that this does not prevent is taking on the energy of someone' anger, frustration, pain and suffering.  So what do you do?  You do what you need to, to take care of you, a little thing in our professional world called " Self Care" something that is so vital and important to not only be healthy, but be effective as a helping professional. 

In closing let me just say that those who need help are very different from those who want help.  The first group are those with many roadblocks, which continue to produce many setbacks.  This doesn't mean that these individuals are bad people, often they are very functional and if you don't know what you are looking at or for you will just walk right past them.... The individuals who want help (also need help) are ready and available to listen, to work, they believe in the process and are ready to commit.  You see the difference?  Both groups need help and support, that is similar, but now which one has a better possibility of changing for the better?  I will leave you with that one, as always be strong, stand up and stay up!

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