The imaginary recording helped me to examine the language that I use commonly, and listen for embedded biases. I noticed that I assumed that the client could hear me and see me, rather than acknowledge the fact that the client could be deaf or visually impaired. It might be helpful to establish immediately whether the client requires assistive technologies when understanding the types of services we provide. I also noticed that I did not readily acknowledge the possibility that the client might not identify with gender binaries. In the future, I could ask a more open-ended question such as, "How do you perceive gender, and how central is gender to your personal identity?" I did not mention religion, but it might be helpful to know if the client values religion and incorporate our stance on religion from the onset of therapy. One of the most glaring mistakes that I make is using language that sounds elitist. Especially since emerging from higher education, I am used to writing and speaking for an academic audience. I need to switch gears when addressing clients, many of whom will not be used to hearing scholarly jargon. This exercise was extremely helpful in showing me how important language is when making clients feel comfortable, and establishing rapport at the onset of our services.
2.2: For this exercise, I began researching the astounding list of ethnic and racial groups in the United States and finally selected Jewish people in America. According to Ismail (n.d.), there are several "do's" and "taboos" that a social worker would need to be aware of and sensitive to when working with members of the Jewish community. One of the most notable "do's" is to respect the diversity within the Jewish community and not assume that all Jews are Orthodox, or even that all Jews believe in God. Many Jews believe that Judaism is more of a culture or ethnicity than a religion and this is something that social workers need to understand (Ismail, n.d.; "Jewish Culture," n.d.). With regard to taboos, it is important to recognize that the more the client identifies with being Orthodox, the more likely the person will be to have taboos, such as the dietary taboos that are inherent in Kosher eating (Ismail, n.d.). Other taboos for Orthodox Jews include gender integration in social settings and the need to recognize that a social worker should only be treating a client of the same gender. This is only something that would be of note for religious people. The majority of Jewish clients in social work would not be Orthodox, and many will be secular ("Jewish Culture," n.d.).
Hello to the World Exercise:
(a) Arabic: as-sal-m 'alaykum, Sam ismee.
(b) Cherokee: Oh-see-YOH, Sam dah-wah-DOH
(c) Chinese: Ni Hao, Wo-duh ming-d'zih Sam.
(d) Hindi: Namaste, Meh-ra nam Sam.
(e) Spanish: Hola, me llamo Sam.
(f) Swahili: Jambo, Jina langu ni Sam.
There are several methods of applying for the Green Card, or lawful permanent residence status in the United States. One of those methods is through family sponsorship. That is, the person might have a relative who can sponsor them to live and work in the United States. Sponsorship usually requires proof of the sponsor's finances and willingness to support the client. Another method of receiving permanent residence status is via job sponsorship. An employer might sponsor the employee, but this is only likely in certain professions. Some clients might qualify for refugee status, if they are from countries in political or economic turmoil.
The eye contact and physical proximity exercise reveals much about body language and non-verbal communications cues, taboos, and norms. There is a feeling of intensity when looking into someone else's eyes for more than a few seconds. This is why the exercise was difficult, unless I allowed my gaze to relax and hit the cheek or chin instead of deep into the eyes. Neither my partner nor I had a problem with being seated directly facing one another, and preferred that method to the parallel placement of the chairs. The parallel placement of the chairs made it difficult to communicate, because we could not see each other's face. The ninety-degree chair placement was generally preferred, because it dissipated some of the tension associated with direct contact, while allowing for direct contact in measured doses. We were able to look at each other when we wanted, and look away when we wanted.
The exercise concerning the expression of caring using body language hinged on eye contact. When I look away, the other person does not feel that I am paying attention. When I show concern, I also tend to tilt my head unconsciously. Other forms of non-verbal communication used in this exercise included my leaning in closely, and even when I was not looking into his eyes, gazing at his hands.
Smiling in a caring and genuine way also connoted caring. The facial expression exercise helped me to see what types of smiles are appropriate. Some smiles may be too big or seem false or comical. Other smiles are gentle and convey caring. When I tried experimenting with facial expressions, my partner correctly guessed shock, sadness, concern, and anger.
When I developed the script for speaking with a homeless person, I realized that I had a lot of fears and concerns. Reading the script revealed a lack of confidence in my voice. However, I do feel that I cultivate an attitude of respect and caring that is evident in the words I use and the tone of voice. Many of my questions are designed to elicit basic factual information. Rather than framing any questions as if the client was at all to blame for being homeless, I focus on solutions and possible steps toward achieving financial independence. If I were a homeless person, I would want to be treated with respect too.
Draft Letter 1: Letter to the Editor
A recent bill passed in Arizona that enables business owners to discriminate against gays, lesbians, and transgender individuals. The bill was framed as protecting religious freedom. However, there are two severe problems with this bill. The first problem is that the bill suggests that religion is more important than civil rights, which is unconstitutional. Second, the bill does not protect religious freedom because only a certain narrow group of people wants to be able to discriminate against gays and lesbians. What about the religious practices and beliefs of gays and lesbians? This bill sanctions discrimination in a way reminiscent of Jim Crow and should be abolished forthwith in that state.
To: My Colleagues
Re: Ending the tyranny of Christianity in America
It has recently come to my attention that a bill in Arizona permits discrimination against nearly anyone a business owner does not like -- but especially targeting gays, lesbians, and transgendered individuals. The motivation behind the bill is that Christians should have the right to refuse service to people who are deemed sinners in their own religion. Thus, the nefarious people behind the bill are claiming they are the persecuted ones when in fact it is they doing the persecuting. It is time to end this ridiculous state of affairs and start taking a more aggressive stance against religious fundamentalism in America before it reaches the level of the Taliban.
My proposal is to launch a nationwide campaign educating people about logical fallacies used by the religious right. A comprehensive set of public service announcements aired on prime time television might be a good starting point. I would also like to work with the Department of Education to ensure that schools are not pandering to religious fundamentalists who want to see the Bible be considered any more truthful than Homer's Odyssey. The notion that Christians are being discriminated against is preposterous, given they are the dominant culture. However, liberals are too nice and conciliatory and it is time for action.
Therefore, I urge a series of meetings with the media, the ACLU, and lobbying groups in order to help our cause. We can harness the power of social media too. With the appointment of several team leaders, we can abolish the tyranny of Christianity in America.
(a) After the listening exercise, my partner said that I used reassurance words a lot and that I seemed to be thinking too much about what to say next rather than tuning into the core emotions and ideas. However, my partner also said that I was a good listener in general. I reflected back what the person said, I did not pass judgment, and I asked questions for clarification. My partner also congratulated me on my ability to maintain eye contact, and my not having interrupted.
(b) I would like to refrain from offering advice. I would also like to cease using too many reassurance words and concentrate more on what the person is saying including his or her body language. Another area of improvement I would like to make…