Wednesday, January 24, 2007

A few good things

I'm still not entirely up to speed, but handfuls of flaxseed oil capsules are helping me barely cope.

Curiously enough, my mom understands. She's in town, and I saw her on Sunday after spending the weekend at my sister's. I finally told her tonight I've been depressed these past days, and that's why I couldn't spend a day with her during her visit.

"It makes sense," she said. "You went through such a terrible experience at The Bad Place [note: this is what I will now be calling my former doctoral program]."

"I think it's just hitting me now," I said. "It's worse than when I was waiting to get into the social work program."

"Sure, because you just had to get through it. Now you're dealing with the aftereffects of what happened at The Bad Place."

So she wasn't mad that I blew her off and didn't tell her about this mini-depression. Which is great, because when she's upset while I'm depressed, it makes me feel worse.

I made it to school and learned the first Good Thing: missing fieldwork orientation was no big deal, because there are videos posted on the field education department's website. I just have to go through those.

Second Good Thing: instead of having to sit through a class on professional identity -- I love the professor, she reminds me of Rosie O'Donnell, but I think the class is kind of a waste of time -- we went to a lecture by a psychiatrist who joined the social work faculty a year ago. She's collaborated with social workers, has great respect for the profession, and wants us to adopt more research-based assessment and intervention methods.

Hallelujah! They want me to give psychological tests!

Well, not the elegant, difficult tests like the Rorschach or WAIS. Psychologists still have dibs on those. But social workers can administer simple measures that assess depression, anxiety, and other major disorders.

I was able to ask two very intelligent questions after the lecture, and impressed a few people. I can't really reconstruct them right now, because my brain is really not functioning too well. My concentration is terrible, I've got music in my head -- I'm depressed. Sorry if I sound redundant.

I might have got myself into an interesting project: putting together a group of simple, useful assessment tools that can be used to monitor clients' progress during therapy. This is one of the principles of cognitive-behavioral therapy -- regular temperature-taking, so to speak, to see how the patient is doing.

Once I put together this "toolbox," if it's good, the alumni association wants a copy. And I get to spend time working on real clinical psychology. And I'll probably end up doing some stuff with the psychiatrist. Who seems cool, like Dr. Roda, not evil, like most psychiatrists.

Another Good Thing: I finally got a field placement! Every student spends 3 days a week working in the field and 2 days in school. My classmates are working in diverse settings -- social service agencies, nonprofits, hospitals, etc. --some doing clinical work, some doing more traditional "social-worky" stuff like helping elderly people apply for federal entitlements.

My first placement was supposed to be at an orthodox health/mental health organization in Boro Park. I was actually excited about it -- I was supposed to be doing some group therapy work, which I really want to learn about -- then was told they weren't able to supervise another student.

The second placement, which I really didn't want, was an agency in Bedford-Stuyvesant, the Brooklyn neighborhood where Spike Lee set Do the Right Thing. I didn't know how much clinical work was involved, and I wasn't thrilled with the area. And Gd must have heard my prayers, because they moved and didn't have room for an intern.

So now I'll be working in a domestic violence shelter in Manhattan. I'm not sure exactly what they want me to do, but they have a growing adolescent population -- victims of abuse and the children of women who have been abused. I'm not sure what they want me to do with them, and I'm not a big fan of adolescents, but it's definitely a clinical placement. So it's definitely something I'll find interesting. (Wish I could say that about most of my classes....)

But the best Good Thing that happened was: Little Marty called and left a message on my phone, and when I called him back... I was bored. He was talking about the new job he has and blah blah blah, and I sort of tuned him out while making noises like I was listening.

Maybe it's the first step in working him out of my system. A girl can dream, can't she?
Copyright (c) 2007 "Ayelet Survivor"

1 comment:

  1. old HS buddy1/25/2007 3:13 PM

    Domestic Violence is one of my areas of interest/expertise, as you know. A dear friend of mine is an MSW with a LOT of DV experience, based in Elizabeth. If you want to talk with her, or get some reading or personal anecdotes from me, drop me a line directly.

    I think you will find it an interesting placement.

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