Week 1 dq replies | SOCW 6002 – Changing Lives, Changing Society: Introduction to Social Work | Walden University

WEEK 1 STUDENT REPLIES

STUDENT REPLY #1 Raymond Michael Deardoff

Hello, my name is Raymond Deardoff. I currently reside in McDermott, Ohio, which is located in the southern part of the great state of Ohio. I have had the privilege of working with people who suffer from SUDs (substance use disorders). I have been in the field of counseling for 12 years. I currently hold an LCDC III (Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor) certification. I have a BA in Substance Use Counseling, and I have held my licensure for two years now. I began my career in the field as a CDCA (Certified Chemical Dependency Counselor Assistant). This week’s course taught me that social workers are considered generalist practitioners with unique purposes and goals. Their professional role is to help people secure basic needs and advocate for those who can’t advocate for themselves. This is inspiring to me, as I can relate many of the principles of social work to those used in SUD counseling.

The reason I’m pursuing an MSW (Master of Social Work) is to work in broader areas with this population. I will be able to provide mental health services and SUD services in Ohio, holding dual licenses as an LICDC and an LISW with an MSW. Given the prominence of co-occurring disorders in this population, this will allow me to provide interventions and advocacy not only in addiction counseling but also in the mental health spectrum. Reading the course material impacted me because I received care during my own treatment. I didn’t realize that people cared so much for someone like me, and this changed my views on change. I realized that my environment (in the past) influenced me in ways I thought were normal at the time.

After going through treatment and meeting my first social worker, Angie, I was deeply affected. She was genuine and displayed a caring approach; she didn’t treat me differently because I was an addict, poor, and homeless. She took the time to listen and connected me to resources I didn’t know existed. Similar to Mary’s story in the course reading, it was suggested that I pursue a degree in social work. Today, I have 15 years of sobriety, and that social worker played a significant role in my decision to make the changes needed to live a chemical-free lifestyle. Being a social worker aligns with my goals because I want to give back what was given to me and help others.

STUDENT REPLY #2 Emily Peters

My name is Emily Peters and I live in Amarillo, Texas. I am currently employed as a mental health technician with NWT Behavioral Health, a psychiatric hospital. At this job, I get to meet a wide variety of people from unique backgrounds, each with their own problems and strengths. In the past, I worked as a caregiver in a group home for adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities. In each of these jobs, I have made observations regarding the complex relationships that emerge between helping professionals, institutions, and the clients we serve. On one hand, I have witnessed the extremes of the difficulties that accompany this dynamic. On the other, I have seen people receive help and produce better outcomes as a result of an effective partnership between staff and client. My desire to pursue social work began at the group home. Primarily, I experienced a profound sense of fulfillment as I learned how to proactively provide care to my clients, some of whom non-speaking. Although several of them struggled with emotional problems that had the potential to escalate to physical aggression, I found immense joy in preventing and deescalating those problems. Unfortunately, I also learned about poor management. Low wages, egregious levels of understaffing, and concern for my physical safety prompted me to leave the group home with no intention of ever returning to a helping field. A part of me wondered why anyone would ever put themselves in that position, and some internal conflict arose considering that I had loved the job so much despite its hardships. After some time off, I came back around to the idea of being a helper and decided to complete my Bachelor’s in Applied Arts and Sciences in Behavior Sciences, changing my major from Music Education. I took some social work courses and realized that gaining an MSW would afford me the ability to affect change in agencies like the one I was employed with, thus improving working conditions for caregivers and living conditions for people with developmental disabilities. I was able to transmute my doubts, fears, and struggles into motivation for creating a better world. Although my specific goals have now shifted toward mental health and clinical work, I know that an MSW will empower me to excel in multiple different directions over the course of my life (Cox et al., 2020).

I was most inspired by this statement from Kimberly Street: “To find a profession that feeds your passion is invaluable (Walden University, 2021).” Becoming a social worker is more than a career. It is a way of meeting my own spiritual needs through helping and believing in others. As I work to achieve academic and practical excellence, I will become a better version of myself and come out more self-actualized. This will increase the positive impact that I can make on society.

Reference

Introduction to Social Work: An Advocacy-Based Profession, 2nd Edition by Cox, L.; Tice, C.; Long, D. Copyright 2019 by SAGE Publications, Inc. Reprinted by permission of SAGE Publications, Inc via the Copyright Clearance Center. Licensed in 2020.

Walden University. (2016, 2021). Why I became a social worker [Video]. Walden University Canvas. https://waldenu.instructure.com/

Walden University. (2021). What inspired me to pursue a graduate degree in social work [Video]. Walden University Canvas. https://waldenu.instructure.com/

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