Location: Oregon, United States

Friday, January 22, 2010

Spirituality and Social Work

The place where I work is called "Luke-Dorf", which sounds like a really stupid name, especially when people screw it up and call it Luke-Dork. But the name was chosen to represent Healing (Luke, the writer in the Bible, was known as a physician or healer) and Community (Dorf - German for village). So the intent is that we engender a Healing Community. I am ALL OVER THAT. But it is sometimes difficult to walk this out when people are mandated through the courts, breaking rules of the treatment center, and treating one another like idiots. In short, when we get caught up in the daily grind.

Yesterday, we had a training by Dr. Phil Shapiro, a psychiatrist in the area who has also pursued integrating spirituality into mental health practice. It was really encouraging, as there have been studies done that prove that people with a strong spiritual base are able to handle pain more effectively than those who don't. I have been in conversation with a couple other people in the agency and we have been grappling with how to promote the idea of a healing community in each of our programs. I hope that we can actually take what this training had to offer and incorporate it into our work. I hope that there are enough people interested in ongoing conversation about integrating spirituality into our work that we can have a work/study group about it. There were a bunch of us in school that got together regularly to kick around these ideas and psychoanalytic theories and it was a great way to stretch the mind, grow, get outside perspective, and support one another. I miss that.

Also work related: Some of you may have already heard this, but I will be moving into the Program Manager position effective March 1st. This is a daunting and wonderful opportunity, and I am both thrilled and terrified. This week we informed our clients of the change and it has been funny to watch people's reaction, which went something like this:

Current Program Manager (CPM): We want to let you know about a change that will be happening in the near future. I will be moving out of state soon and will need to step down from my position as of March 1st.
Clients: Oh crap!
Clients: Wait! Who will lead us when you're gone?
CPM: Well, that's the other thing I'd like to announce. Lydia will be moving into my role.
Clients: How cool! (Applause and general sense of relief.)
Clients: Wait! Who will counsel us?
CPM: We don't know yet, but we will let you know when we have decided.
Clients: Wow. That's a lot of changes...

I have summarized this as the "Oh crap/How cool" response and I've noticed that it cycles from fear to hope and back around. Funny, that's kindof how I feel about it, too...


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