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Personal Reflectiona

In: Philosophy and Psychology

Submitted By twobrats
Words 1066
Pages 5
When I was 15 years old I worked at a daycare. The age group I worked with was the 3-4 year olds. I truly enjoyed this job. There were many positive things that came with this. Unfortunately I did experience many negative aspects to this job. There were several children that had gone through some very traumatic events in their young lives. The one that sticks out the most was a 3 year old little girl. She always sat in the corner and would not interact with anyone. I took the time to get to know her. After several weeks of me sitting in the corner with her, when I could, she began to come out. I learned through her mother that this little girl had walked in on her father who had hung himself. When I was not in the room she would go back to the corner and keep to herself.
With this event I did experience a lot of invidious comparison due to my age at this time. Many of the people that worked there felt like I was too young to be getting involved in something this deep. My goal was never to get involved, but to help a little girl enjoy her time while she was there. I grew a very big relationship with this little girl and her mother.
As time went on I learned that the daycare itself was mistreating children. I placed many calls into the upper division to try and fix some of the issues. The main one I remember is when a 3 year old boy was tied to a chair. I immediately notified the parents. This caused a lot of resentment and invidious comparison from the other people that worked there. They were now under a microscope. Eventually this daycare did shut down. This example also lead to invidious comparison.
I learned for this particular moments in life that you should never judge a book by its cover. No matter a person’s age, gender, or race we are all unique. I personally think by looking at the world this way we could end a lot if invidious comparison to others.
The incident with the little girl did leave me feeling helpless. She was so young to go through something this terrible and I felt there was no way to help her. I did learn at my young age that even though I couldn’t change her past I could help her get through the day at the daycare. She became my little shadow and began engaging in different activities with me and the other children. I learned that I had to take one day at a time with her and that if I showed how upset I was about the event she had encountered would only make her feel worse.
The strategies I used to avoid vicarious traumatization in myself with this event was focusing on the positive for this little girl. I knew she needed that. Before going to work I would prepare myself for what the day may bring. I never knew how she was coping that day. This helped me to be there for her without my personal feelings getting into the way. Another way I dealt with this was by connecting to her mother. This would give me the opportunity to find out how the day had gone so far and what strategies were needed to make it a better day for her. These events in my life are the ones that have lead me to the road of Human Services. They have allowed me to create meaning from this event and make positive changes for others.
I do feel that these strategies will help me as a Human Service Professional. It is vital in this line of work to remember that we cannot change what these people have gone through, but can help them to cope and live a productive life after a trauma. If we as professionals take everyone’s story home with us we will not survive in this field. At the same time we have to show compassion and love for our clients.
There are several strategies that we as professionals can use to manage vicarious traumatization. These steps are suggested by Saakvitne et al (2000).
1. Anticipating VT and protecting oneself:
Protecting yourself includes arranging things ahead of time to anticipate the stress of your work and its impact on you. Strategies include:
• Awareness
• Balance
• Connection
Sense of balance is one of the key components to preserving a person’s sense of identity and wellbeing. A professional should have a healthy balance of work, play, and rest. This includes socialization with friends and family.
2. Addressing signs of VT
Addressing VT includes those things you do for self-care. Strategies include:
• Self-care
• Self nurturing
• Escape
3. Transforming the pain of VT
Transforming VT includes things you do to transform the negative impact of the work into a connection with some positive aspects of meaning and community. Strategies include:
• Create meaning
• Infuse meaning in current activities
• Challenge negative beliefs
• Participate in community building
As a Human Service professional there are many key factors to remember about invidious comparison and vicarious traumatization. Most importantly we need to realize that the patients are all seeking help and we need to support them as much as possible. Making sure to not use invidious comparison towards them is extremely important. At times this may be difficult since we may not understand why they have ended up where they are. Professionals need to just be there to help them find who they are again.
To this day I think about that little girl and how she is doing. I know her story has impacted my life greatly and made me want to work with children that have gone through terrible events like this one. I personally feel if I can make a difference in one child’s life I have begun to change the future. I know when I was 15 yrs old I struggled very hard with nightmares from her story. I always imagined what she was going through. I did avoid the vicarious traumatization by realizing that I would be no help to her if I was always devastated by the events in her life. I feel this is all very important to remember as we further our education and careers.

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