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September 10, 2012

Clinical Background

I am a 23 year old Caucasian female intern at Assertive Community Treatment and am currently completing my Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Michigan. I was raised in the Northwest Suburbs of Chicago and lived in a diverse community that consisted of many Mexicans and Eastern European immigrants. While in High School, I studied Spanish language and culture and primarily spoke Spanish at my part time job. Although I am white, I was raised in a diverse family and have cousins who are African American, Puerto Rican, Mexican, and Chinese.

Later in my education, I pursued a teaching degree from Albion College and chose to work in failing schools such as Albion High School and Jackson High School. I hoped to make a difference in the lives of students who may not believe in themselves or have enough support at home. While teaching at these schools, I saw the horrific impact that white flight had on these communities and became even more impassioned to make social change and work with minority populations.

As a treatment provider, I use a client-centered approach and attempt to learn about my clients as whole people rather than simply an illness or a person with an illness. I engage clients by learning about who they are and what makes them unique. I use active and reflective listening to show that I am interested in what they have to say. By viewing the client as an equal and creating a more balanced power dynamic, clients may be empowered and trust me as their clinician. With this trust, clients can openly discuss their struggles, and I am better able to assist them. This is especially important for me when working with minority populations because of the Caucasian and Middle Class status in which I was born. It is because of my own cultural background that I strive to alter power dynamics and empower clients.

Posted by desolada at September 10, 2012 08:19 PM

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