Spring into Spring with Appreciation

Everything is blooming most recklessly; if it were voices instead of colors, there would be an unbelievable shrieking into the heart of the night.  ~Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters of Rainer Maria Rilk

bird song

Spring is here and in Austin that equates to shorts, tanks, strawberries, smoothies, Barton Springs, bluebonnets, bright colors and bike rides all in a day’s work. For some, this leisure will be limited to the weekend, but for all, Spring shines its sun to greet us with the whispering of possibility for inner growth in bird sound.

Much like the holy days that surround this seasonal transition, Spring offers us a chance to see that things change, and for the better; liberation, freedom, faith and community adorn this transition. Flowers bloom, days are brighter, we sit up taller, the grass is greener and there are more outside community activities.

Sometimes it is hard to appreciate and notice this changing season and the significance it has on our bodies, minds and relationships. We work in organizations or companies that have little windows or no windows at all. We get 30 min breaks that allow us to go outside for a bit if we don’t need to tend to emails on our lunch. But if we give a moments notice to the difference the sun, the air and the bright colors have on our daily lives, I think we will be pleasantly surprised.

I urge you, this year notice this time of renewal, cleansing and rejuvenation. Breathe in the fresh air walking to your car, make plans to be outside, travel to the Hill Country to see the bluebonnets and take time to reflect on life’s transitions. See the beauty in change. Reflect on the blossoming in your life.

The season is upon us, so the time is now to notice and appreciate the gorgeousness of your life. Let your heart’s voice be heard across the state and let it invite others to sing along.

-Jess

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Irish Wisdom

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! A day where everyone is a little bit Irish!  One of my favorite quotes of all time happens to be from W.B. Yeats, an Irish poet. It is a reminder that everyone has hopes and dreams and as social workers we can build on what little one may have to help a person get through difficult times.

“But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.”

(Aedh Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven)
― W.B. Yeats, The Wind Among the Reeds 1899

This week try to be mindful of how easy it is to empower or bring down those in need.  As a social worker you may have more power than you realize. Have a wonderful St. Paddy’s day and a great week!

 shamrocks

Hand Written Thank Yous

mail stack

Receiving non-junk mail is such a novelty now a days. The feeling that occupies your body when you receive an envelope hand addressed to you in your mailbox instead of your inbox is comparable to the feeling you had in 8th grade when your crush would smile at you in the hallway. You would think “That was Awesome!” and “OMG I think he really likes me.”

How fun would it be to make someone feel like that again??

There is an affordable and super easy way to make someone feel this good again and it all starts now, in March, during Social Work Month!

The University of Texas at Austin Social Work Alumni Network (SWAN) is leading an “Honor a Social Worker” tribute card initiative for Social Work Month 2013. You can purchase a thank you card for a social worker for just $10.00 through the month of March (ending the 31st).

Besides the cards being extra special and having one of the famous UT monuments as a back drop (this year it is Cesar Chavez), 100% of the proceeds collected will go towards a scholarship fund to help pave the path for a future social worker at UT School of Social Work and all envelopes are hand addressed by the SWAN Board members.

mailbox

Simply click here to fill out and purchase a card.  UT School of Social Work can send cards all around the country, so please reach out to your social work friends who live outside of Texas. Also, note that you do not have to be a UT Alumni to order or receive one of these long-lasting appreciations.

A hand delivered thank you card is sure to win hearts and bring smiles to the faces of social workers all over the country.

Order here today! 

– Jessica

Happy Social Work Month!

March is National Social Work month. That’s right, Social Workers get an entire month dedicated to honoring their profession!  I think of Social Work month as a month for all the other people in the world to say “Hey, thanks Social Workers for all that you do!”  Spread the word and maybe your colleagues will take you to lunch or throw you a party.  I really hope they do, you deserve it.

However, despite my desire for a grand party recognizing social workers, according to the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) there is more to Social Work month than appreciation and celebration of professional social workers.  This year the theme for Social Work month is Weaving Threads of Resilience and Advocacy: The Power of Social Work.”  The NASW has over 100 ways to promote Social Work month in order to help people understand why social workers are so integral to our society.

socialworkmonth2013logo

Fellow Social Workers, this month, we ask that you take a little bit of time to advocate and promote yourself and your profession.  The 100 ways to promote Social Work month are all suggestions of activity (ex: create, advocate, attend, share, join, write, educate, etc.).  As it is known in working with clients, the individual must DO something in order to affect change.  One may desire change but something has to be done by the individual for most treatment to be effective.  In order for social workers to continue to do the positive work that we do we need the support of our legislature, community, agency, and clients we serve.  As a collection of individuals, who care about social work we can take this month to DO something to continue and deepen the role of social work in our society.

“Social Work is the profession of hope—fueled by resilience and advocacy.  Social Workers matter because they help millions of struggling people every day dream differently.”

~ Andrea

P.S.  Just in case you haven’t heard it yet or even if you have – THANK YOU SOCIAL WORKERS for all that you do! Have a great month 🙂

NASW. Social Work Month 2013. Retrieved March 3, 2013, from http://www.socialworkers.org/pressroom/swmonth/default.asp.

Austin has a Preventative Resource!

Seton Shoal Creek Hospital provides both acute impatient psychiatric care and therapeutic group treatment on an outpatient basis. Seton Shoal Creek Outpatient Department, or most recently renamed, Seton Mind Institute Behavioral Health Services, has developed a free mental health resource hotline for any and all community members. That’s right I said free! This service provides resource referral and navigation to all people in need of chemical dependency and/or mental health services in the central Texas region.

512-324-2039

This line is served Monday through Friday during regular business hours (830-5pm CST).

In addition to providing mental health resource referral, the social workers that are on the receiving end of the line assess for safety, manage crisis, determine appropriate level of care, offer some follow-up calls to families and individuals that need extra support, and schedule free mental health assessments.  The therapists at Seton Mind Institute of Behavioral Health Services provide free mental health assessments to any and all community members to determine the most appropriate care for the patient.

Need a therapist referral? Looking for a psychiatrist? Not sure who takes your insurance? Wondering about how to get a free mental health assessment? Wonder if group therapy is right for you? Not sure if you can afford mental health care services? Curious about the various outpatient groups Seton has to offer? Want to talk about residential treatment? Curious about options for detox and rehab?

CALL 512-324-2039.

The social workers will discuss all of the above and more with you when you call. The goal and aim of the resource line is to decrease obstacles and barriers for mental health treatment in Central Texas.

** This number is NOT a crisis line, although the social workers are well trained in crisis management. For crisis needs and immediate help either proceed to the nearest emergency room,  call 911 or 512-472-HELP (4357) if in the Austin area.

Why Social Work?

helping-hand

A common question social workers hear from patients or people we meet that is something along the lines of, “Your job must be really hard. How do you do what you do?”  With a comment like that I usually feel a bit bashful and say, “Oh it’s not that bad you just get used to it and remember not to take it home with you.”  However, this could be said for many professions, say a lawyer, for instance, they likely get used to arguing and litigation and try to make sure it doesn’t bleed into their personal life.  Or I always think being a plumber would be a hard job but I am sure they get used to the smells and the nature of work as long as you know what doesn’t come home with them.

Admittedly, social work is a bit different. Does one ever really get used to suffering? Do humans have the capability to just let it go and not think about it? I don’t know the answer.  I think, just maybe, we can go back to difficult situations knowing that sometimes, some days, we make a difference.  The carrot for social workers is the actual work.  In the work we see people improve, gain insight, change their life, overcome, persevere. Knowing that, we can do our job everyday.  One can go back to the suffering knowing there is eventually going to be a better day down the road.

People don’t do social work for power, fame, or obviously money.  I believe we do social work to make a difference in the lives of a few people.  Our power comes from alleviating emotional pain.  Our fame comes from the individual who remembers the help a social worker provided them in a time of need, and it made all the difference.  At least that is what I think.  What do you think?  Why did you decide to become a social worker or why do you do what you do everyday?  Is it for power, fame, or money?  We would love to know what draws others to this profession and why you choose to serve everyday!

~ Andrea

Finished!

The 5+ year long journey to become a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) is finally over.

It began with an application to graduate school and has now ended with passing my final licensing exam this past week.finishline1

If you are a social worker you know what this means. For all non-social workers out there this means, 2 years of graduate school, passing the initial licensing exam (LMSW), finding gainful social work employment that meets “clinical criteria”, finding a supervisor,  submitting a plan to the board (that is often rejected), spending 4 hours a month in supervision over a minimum of 24 months to reach the required 100 supervision hours, resubmit forms proving your worth in order to sit for the licensing exam, being approved, finding time to study and take the licensing exam, and finally passing. Once you have passed the LCSW exam I think, I hope, there will be no more standardized tests, no need to have your employment and plan approved by the board, and no further licensure that would limit a person from social work job opportunities.

It all started with a big goal. Many little goals along the way helped get me to this point. It took me a little longer than I intended but since day one of graduate school I have been working towards this goal. I am so glad it is finally here so I can make room for the next goal in my social work life!

~ Andrea