Thursday, March 7, 2013

Professional Use of Self

I missed class this week due to yet another sinus infection. While blessedly not cancer, is still a major hindrance to living my daily life. I am sorry to sound glib about huge issues. It is a flawed coping skill that helps me retain my sense of humor. I hope that is ok and if not you will say so. Then I can grow and learn and we can establish a rapport or whatever they call it.
While on the couch literally crying in pain with sinus pressure, my class was "happening" online with my fellow MSW students from all over CA and points beyond. The subject of the class was on the Professional Use of Self.

The Power Point slides were extensive and the conversation full. I know this because I watched "class" afterward as it had all been captured for me to go find when I was in less pain. So I did and what I found was a classroom full of great conversations about classmates experiences, professors perspectives and some great slides referencing specifically Carl Rogers

Carl Rogers is known as an influential American psychologist and is considered to be one of the founders of the humanistic approach (or client-centered approach) to psychology. For full analysis I encourage you to look to this website or even his Wikipedia site.

In addition to many other successes and contributions, Rogers is known for practicing "unconditional positive regard," which is understood as acceptance of a person, without negative judgement of that person's worth. 

Pretty revolutionary thinking for the 1950s and it was further developed into a client-centered therapeutic model (also translated to student-led educational models) as described in this interesting diagram that I certainly did not create.

Carl Rogers was only part of the discussion in "class." The other part was the title of this blog. What is and why would you want to use yourself professionally? This is in relation to self disclosure, acknowledging what barriers there are if that is part of where the client wants to go and remaining authentic while not bowling someone over with personal tale after personal tale. 

In my professional life as it is developing, it is tricky to remain available and authentically who I am while also remaining open to others with completely different worldviews and yet this is the role of a social worker. Not to be what everyone might want, but to be as accessible to the stories that need to be told so issues can be solved. 

I also feel that I cannot be any help to anyone if I do not acknowledge my own flaws. I may have had one set of experiences and read a few things but it does not make me an expert on anyone's life or their experience. Some people want to meet you. Others don't. I am learning to make myself available but not chase people around. I might not be the best fit for someone either. Other than that, lately THESE are what I try to keep in mind:

 Both in and out of work. 

Until next time. Cheers!



  1. Interesting list. Hooray for 1a.

  2. The Four Agreements is a good book. Better than I could write.