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ASK A PRO | Social Worker, MSW., RSW.

Professional Title:


Can you share your career journey and how you arrived at your current position? Please include education, volunteering, work experience, etc.

I took a pretty non linear route to social work. Out of high school, I had wanted to be a lawyer and did a BA in politics. Throughout my BA, I realized this was not a good fit for me and ended up doing an MA in gender studies after, thinking I'd then get the PhD. I was super burned out on writer after that and got a job in a daycare. I loved everything about daycare, but especially some of the socioemotional learning and applied for MSW programs with a goal of working with children.

What motivated or inspired you to pursue this field?

A lot of things! I needed a field with a lot of variety, the feeling of challenges/puzzles, and the playfulness, silliness and joy of spending my time with kids. So far, social work has fit the bill.

Were there specific challenges or obstacles you faced in your career, and how did you overcome them?

Not really! The path was full of challenges, but once I got to my social work career it's been pretty smooth sailing!

What aspects of your job do you find most rewarding?

When clients set goals, make changes, and experience noticeable difference! I especially love working with parents who are "cycle breakers" and doing really hard work for their children.

What aspects of the job do you find challenging or less enjoyable?

Paperwork! Particularly treatment plans. I love learning new things and having ideas. Translating them to documents is less fun.

What advice do you have for someone starting in this field?

Know your theory and don't overlook the macro! I think a lot of clinical therapists can be really strong interpersonally, but overlook how systems impact their clients lives. My politics/gender studies background is super useful for keeping the macro in perspective.

Are there specific skills or qualities you believe are crucial for success in your profession?

Thick skin/not taking things personally. You will not be the best fit with all clients and that is ok. People will yell at you, it's not about you.

How do you stay current in your field, or do you engage in ongoing professional development?

I love professional development! I work most from attachment, play therapy, and CBT (including ACT) lenses. I try and take a training at least once a year as well as supplementary reading. There are also some attachment experts on instagram doing incredible work. Talking with coworkers as well.

Did you have any mentors or role models who influenced your career choice?

Yes and no. I don't have any specific social work mentors, but many people who have modeled living their values for me. My grandma was a palliative care nurse and huge advocate for palliative care. End of life work is not for me, but she certainly influenced my need to do work I am passionate about!

If you could go back and give advice to your younger self, what would it be?

Learn more about my own mental health sooner! This would have made some parts of my journey a lot smoother, but I am glad with how it's all turned out!

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