It is a Friday afternoon,there goes another hectic week at the office. Still doing what I know best…. social work. On my mind is the equation of the mind over heart!!!!! I realise that there is no way one can avoid the engagement of these two in social work. Professionalism has its limits and sometimes whether we like it or not, something pulls at our heartstrings during the execution of our work.
So how much of the heart should be allowed room in social work??? No human being can switch on and off emotions at will and how then are social workers sometimes expected to put professionalism first before their human nature?If I am affected, dare I show my feelings? Dare i cry?
Often enough in social work one is moved to emotions. This is due to the nature of the work which includes, but is not limited to vulnerability,poverty,helplessness,abuse of children, exploitation of children,abandonment, neglect. All these I have encountered in my line of work, but I have had to bear with it for the sake of the children who need help. “Put your emotions aside, know the bridge between sympathy and empathy”!!!! It comes with practice. I recall working with abandoned new-born babies, picking them in fields where they would have been dumped or being called to come and remove a child abandoned at birth by the biological mother. Often the experience of holding that child in my arms for a few moments en-route to the car and leaving them at their new home which as the social worker it is your responsibility to find…that experience leaves you with a mark. I had so many days when I wanted to bring those newborns home with me, again crossing the boundaries of attachment to the client. But as a woman you just cannot help feeling a motherly tug at your heart.
So where does one draw the line between mind and heart? Mind says these are the principles of practice,heart says “I am hurt, I am disappointed,I am human”…..but who takes care of you as the social worker?????
Well that’s a topic for another day….I am currently researching on care for the carer!!! How do social service professionals get personal care after the trauma they deal with everyday?
Stay tuned and have a lovely weekend!!!!