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Autoethnography Personal Reflection

2879 words (12 pages) Essay in Psychology

18/05/20 Psychology Reference this

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Introduction

This assignment is an Autoethnography of a part of my life, this type of research uses critical self-reflection and explores personal experiences which have made me who I am today, and what has led me on the path that I have taken and why I have chosen to go to university to study Health and Social Care. I have chosen three ideologies to discuss my personal life and these are determinism, professionalism and identity, I will reflect on these ideologies to evaluate whether there’s relationship between my story and the ideologies I have chosen.

Growing up in one of Nottingham’s worst areas, the Meadows, whether it was because of gang violence, poverty, or drugs, this eventually led me to study health and social care, criminal justice. There was a gang called the “Waterfront Gang” that cause havoc in the area. From a young age I experienced pain and heartache because of friends I had lost or seen injured through gang violence or drugs. Growing up in the Meadows we had to be aware of rival gangs.

Throughout my life I have lived in the Meadows and despite all the difficulties growing up as a child I have chosen to live there as an adult and be part of this community because although it has been rough journey it is one of the closest communities I have witnessed. 

Staying in the Meadows I have witnessed the people I went to school with trapped in a vicious cycle of life including drug addiction, violence and suicide, this has made me more determined to get a degree in Health and Social Care. Currently I am working as a door supervisor, although I love my job and enjoy helping people. Working in the security sector I am frequently asked “why are you working in a male dominated role”?  “Are you treated differently compared to men you work with”? My answer to their questions is always the same although I am treated differently it is not always in a negative way, our team is like a family and the guys are amazing and quite protective of me which is a positive.

However, despite my colleagues showing respect, I see a problem in some male customers, as they will try to dance behind me or me grope when in a crowded place to belittle me in front of their friends and disrespect me because I am a female. However, I do not respond to this behaviour by ignoring it or becoming aggressive but instead I remain professional. It is in this area of work that I have come to understand the importance of professionalism.

After researching professionalism and understanding that there is no correct definition of the term ‘professionalism’ although it suggests that education plays a part in becoming a professional. The Health and Care Professions Council (HPCP, 2011) suggests that when they finished their research report ‘professionalism’ was not well defined but found that professionalism was more of a judgement rather than a skill, it also suggests that the organisation plays a crucial part in providing the staff with ongoing training and encouraging them to be professional at all times. It has been argued that professionalism is an individual or groups of people performing or working in a particular area of employment such as social work, an appropriate qualification is essential in order to become social worker (Barnard,2017) I have linked this to my story as working as a door supervisor you have to complete a course and exam to be able to get an SIA license, you are then working through a regulated body and without this you cannot work. Working in the security industry you must always wear a uniform and remain professional no matter what the circumstances. As recorded earlier I mentioned that men often try to belittle me or push themselves on me, although this would be seen as sexual assault and illegal to others they don’t think it applies to me as ‘they’re having a laugh’ it often annoys me because you wouldn’t see this behaviour happen to a male supervisor. Even after this kind of incident happens, I must remain calm and polite and in a professional manor although I will explain that they have just sexually assaulted me and that it’s not acceptable some will laugh it off like it’s a joke. As much as I would want to smack their face that would be unprofessional and result in me needing to have a meeting with the SIA to discuss my actions and result in me losing my job and badge. According to (Juliana Lightle, 2010) men were expected to be strong and go to work to support women and children, this made women dependent and gave men a greater power, over the decades men felt free to engage in behaviours that would be considered as sexual harassment today. However, more women have joined the workforce and moved into jobs that were traditionally seen as male job roles leading to the sexual harassment in the workplace being contrary to the Equality Act (2010), this has altered the way men behave towards women in the working environment.

Also, in my personal and professional life in security I have learned that remaining calm is a better way to deal with crisis and disorder. As a trained first aider, I use these skills when I came to the aid of a boy who had been stabbed in the Meadows. I had to remain professional and use first aid. The whole event scary, and as much as I wanted to cry and panic, I know I needed to remain professional to be able to help him, because I would not have been able to help if I couldn’t remain professional.

After studying at university, (Councl, 2015). If you are not professional the service user will not be able to trust or confide in you, meaning you will not achieve the desired outcome needed for the service user.  Service users want to be more informed and involved with the decisions about the care they receive. Professor Haslam stipulates that trust is hard to earn and in order to maintain that trust you must continue to provide the best service to people possible. It is necessary to strive in order to improve, there are real challenges in this because of bad publicity. (NICE,2019). Professionalism also means putting aside personal feelings in a situation and ensuring that the best possible outcome is attained, particularly in high pressure situations. (Pamela J. Wilshere, 1997)

After doing some research on determinism I understand that it is the philosophical idea that all events happen because of past events that have happened, but there are several determinisms such as soft determinism and hard determinism, these are just some of the concepts of determinisms. Determinists (B F SKINNER, 2000) believes that there is no free will as everything happens for a reason and one action results in another meaning that you cannot change the path that has been chosen for you.

Soft determinism suggests that all events, actions and choices have all been started by a previous event but there is still a link to responsibility and free will for these kinds of actions. By contrast hard determinism consists of two main claims and that is determinism is true, and free will is all an illusion and therefore free will does not exist (Double, 1990)

Einstein put it best when he wrote “Everything is determined, the beginning as well as the end, by forces over which we have no control. It is determined for the insect as well as the star. Human beings, vegetables, or cosmic dust, we all dance to a mysterious tune, intoned in the distance by an invisible piper.” (Einstein, 2019, p. 422)

When reflecting on my own life and experiences I disagree with the concept of hard determinism because it suggests that your path is predetermined for you and there is no free will, But then I wouldn’t of been able to exercise free will and choose to go back into education. However, I agree in soft determinism because although it suggests that your path is chosen for you, it also links responsibility and free will. Poverty is a serious restrictor of potential and shapes what kinds of life choices people make and are able to make. Now I believe that my path may have been written out for me but I had free will and was able to make my own choice later on in life, if I didn’t have free will  I may have been stuck in that circle of life that my friends and family are still stuck in today. I chose not to take drugs and commit crime although I was pressured into doing so as that was seen as the normal way of life in the Meadows, I went to work in several different jobs before an injury left me unable to work for a while, although I never had an education and left school early with no qualifications. I decided to use this time of work to go back in to education and leave that life behind, I am now at university studying to get a degree instead.

Sigmund Freud designed a theory that was structured into three parts these being the  ID, EGO and SUPEREGO, he suggested that the human personality has more than one aspect. The ID is the unconscious and impulsive, the Id consists of inherited components such as biological, the Id responds to instinct. The id operates on the pleasure principle (Freud, 1920) ‘The ego is ‘that part of the id which has been modified by the direct influence of the external world’. (Freud,1923, p 25). the ego developd to intervene between the unrealistic id and the outside world. It is the decision-making factor of personality. Ideally, the ego works by purpose, whereas the id is chaotic and irrational. According to Freud the ego is the secondary process thinking which is rational and realistic whereas id is the opposite, however the ego can sometimes give in to the id. The final one is the superego this consists of two systems: This is conscience and the ideal self. The conscience can punish the ego by causing feelings of guilt. For example, if the ego gives in to the id’s demands, the superego may make the person feel guilty.

The ego-ideal is an imaginary representation of how you should be, and represents career aspirations, how to treat people, also how to behave as a member of society.

Behaviour that falls short of the ideal self, may be punishable by the superego by making you feel guilty. The super-ego can reward us through the ideal self when we behave ‘properly’ this is by making oneself feel proud (Freud, 1923)

I agree with what Freud has said as Identity was a hard one for me because living in the Meadows, I grew up watching my family and friends live a certain way which was negative, such as taking drugs and turning to violence instead of calling the police to sort out situations. But at the time this was all I knew so I grew up thinking this was the correct way of life. As I got older and seen more horrific incidents like death and murder happen to people I was close with I realised that this wasn’t right and I didn’t want to take the path that everyone else was taking. Choosing to go to university was hard for me as I didn’t have any qualifications and I needed to start from the beginning at college, which I struggled with the basics like maths and English let alone the NVQ Health and Social care then on to do my access to social work I thought about quitting so many times because the degree wasn’t making any sense I felt like I was in a black hole that I couldn’t get out of, but I was determined to change my life for the better doing this made me lose most of my friends and support network because they don’t understand what it means to break out of that cycle and want more for yourself. I lost my identity the day I decided to walk away from that life,  Although I have felt like quitting a thousand times over because I believed I never deserved to be here.  I have almost made it through my second year at university and finally feeling like I belong, its as though I have found a new identity.

I agree what  (Winfield 2007) has said because if it wasn’t for me reflecting on life and wanting to help people I wouldn’t have gone to college and if I didn’t have determination  I would have quit and not been university today

Conclusion

By using a number of ideologies that have been  linked to my personal story it is possible to see some kind of connections between each theory and how they have had an impact on my life, such as determinism, although I do not believe in hard determinism this is something (B F Skinner) suggested in the sense that there is no free will and it’s all an illusion. I do believe there is soft determinism because I have had some sort of free will as I was able to choose to leave the life, I knew to get a degree when supposedly my path was already chosen for me. This has allowed me to believe that although there may be some truth to determinism there is some sort of proof that free will really do exists.

Knowing your identity, is important in health and social care because how are you supposed to help others struggling if you don’t really know yourself. Although I admitted to losing my identity when I left my old life behind, and I was finding it difficult to find myself or fit in to this new life, I still sometimes find it difficult, having this experience will allow me to understand what service users go through because of changes in their lives. My third and final theory was professionalism now this one kind of came natural to me because I’ve always worked from the age of fifteen however I do understand that there’s always room for improvement and that I am willing to always try new things out of my comfort zones to improve.

Having reflected on some of my past experiences I underdstand that reflection is an important  role to have as a health and social care practionitor because it allows you to reflect on previous occasions and develop an understanding, and by making our knowledge shareable with others this allows us to take a step back and review these actions. Having done this myself I understand that I’m not where I want to be but I’m a millions miles from where I began

My Bibliography:

  • Einstein, a. (2015). Everything is determined, the beginning as well as the end, by forces over which we have no control. … – Albert Einstein | QuotePerson. [online] Quoteperson.com. Available at: https://www.quoteperson.com/quoteid/55 [Accessed 8 May 2019
  • Grier, PT (ed.) 2007, Identity and Difference: Studies in Hegel’s Logic, Philosophy of Spirit, and Politics, State University of New York Press, Ithaca. Available from: ProQuest Ebook Central. [8 May 2019].
  • Skinner, B. (2009). Beyond Freedom and Dignity. Indianapolis: Hackett Pub. Co.
  • Council, H. &. (2011, November 11). professionalism in health care professionals . Retrieved from Health & Care Professions Council: https://hcpc-uk.blogspot.com/2011/11/professionalism-in-healthcare.html
  • Juliana Lightle, E. H. (2010). Sexual Harrassment in the workplace. In E. H. Juliana Lightle, Sexual Harrassment in the workplace (p. 21-22). NYC: Axzo press.
  • Barnard, A. (2017). Developing professional practice in Health and Social Care (p. 30-10)
  • Councl, N. I. (2015, November ). standards of conduct and practice for social care workers . Retrieved from https://niscc.info/storage/resources/web_optimised_91739_niscc_social_care_workers_book_navy__pink-2.pdf
  • Care, N. I. (2019). improve health and social cae through evidence based guidance. Retrieved from https://www.nice.org.uk/
  • Double, R., 1990. The Non-Reality Of Free Will. In: s.l.:Oxford University Press, pp. 3-7.
  • Freud, S., 1923. In: The Ego and the Id . s.l.:London: Hogarth, pp. 1-65.
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