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Through attending the course of “Knowing ourselves, knowing our world”, I have increased self- awareness. Every week, I keep learning more and more about myself. Self awareness, according to Wong (2003), means recognition of our personality, strengths and weaknesses and likes and dislikes. Developing self-awareness can help us to recognize when we are stressed or under pressure. Self awareness also promotes effective communication and interpersonal relations, and also for developing empathy for others.
After I have gone to the camp, I learn to face something I used to evade. I was raised up by my aunt when I was young. I always feel difficult to live in the love between my own parents and my aunt. These persecute me for long. All these years, I have never told the others about the above thoughts. I just want to escape from these things. However, I feel so pleased that I have finally let my thoughts released out when I told my classmates in the camp. I used to evade the problem of “how to balance the relationships between my parents and my aunts and uncle”. Learning to increase self- awareness, Rothman (1999) suggests that it brings increased openness to other ways of thinking and a greater insight into other kinds of life experience. I will not escape from tackling the relationships and I can know more about my deep self. This enables me to understand my clients when they have something used to evade. I can then guide my clients to release their feelings and increase openness.
It does help me to be more aware of myself by knowing how my past experiences influence my personal values. Having an uncle who experience three marriages because of having other relationships outside of his marriage (with women from the mainland China), I personally dislike women who are come from mainland China, come to Hong Kong to marry a man and to grab our resources. I dislike like them as I think that they always intervene in their marriage. However, this hatred towards new immigrants makes me unable to make appropriate decision when a client who is a new immigrant seeks help from me. Furthermore, Biestek (1961) suggests that the relationship between the social worker and the client has been called the soul of casework. With such a bias, I may have personal value judgment and uncontrolled emotional attitudes toward the clients. As a result, it may be difficult for me to develop close relationship with the client. However, now I know and realize that my past family experiences are affecting my values and thoughts, Rothman (1999) suggested that it assists the worker to work with clients, and to control and minimize the influences of personal attitudes and beliefs that may be harmful and prejudicial toward clients.
According to Rothman (1999), as an adult, one has his own viewpoint towards something. The most concerned part in self-awareness is about the unaware perceptions, especially those negative feelings towards the others, such as biases, prejudices or stereotypes. According to Rothman (1999), they are hidden inside and covered by “acceptable” excuses and rationale. Take several minorities for an example, general people usually have some negative personal feelings and comments towards the disabled, homosexuals, prostitutes, the street sleepers and so on. Unaware perceptions may be expressed in conversations, acts or behavior since they are hidden in the subconscious. Having these unaware perceptions, as a social worker, I may unconsciously say some words which hurt clients’ feelings and make them become defensive and do not trust in me. Thus making it hard to develop good relationship with the client and hard to have intervention processes.
Besides, sharing my own feelings and opinions among peers can also help to make up my own viewpoint towards the population. I can know more about the peers’ attitudes and how the others react towards some issue by listening and sharing among a group of peers. By exchanging opinions in an overview, I can learn to think more comprehensively and to view an issue with different perspective. By gaining opinions and experiences from the others, I may then gradually change my former views towards an issue.
When it comes to the social work profession, it is common to have values or attitude conflicts with certain aspects. Self-awareness promotes several essential traits, such as openness, acceptance, willingness, trust, knowledge, interest and courage towards the clients (Rothman, 1999). When social worker can have comprehensive thoughts and view towards an issue, it can enable social worker to have a better understanding on the perceptions of the clients. Even the opinions of clients is different from the social worker’s personal view, the social worker can give clients an appropriate advice without any bias and would be more comfortable and easy to deal with the circumstances with their attitudes, values and beliefs (Rothman, 1999).. Social workers’ role is to stands right on the clients’ situations to provide services for them according to their wishes and needs. Self-awareness enables social workers to assist clients in a suitable and appropriate way.
According to Segal E.A, part of self awareness is understanding one’s down personal problems and biases, and addressing them so that they do not interfere in work with others. As a social worker (in the future), self awareness enables me to know myself and be aware of their own values, assumptions, beliefs, strengths, and weakness, so that I am able to help the clients effectively. Rothman (1999) suggests that increased awareness brings increased openness to other ways of thinking and a greater insight into other kinds of life experience. So, keeping my mind open, as a social worker (in the future), I can then listen to client’s sharing patiently, even when clients have other point of view different from mine, I can have an appropriate response and advice.
Self awareness promotes effective communication and interpersonal relations, and so as developing empathy for others. These are all elements which enable social workers to provide skillful service and positive attitude to clients. Increasing self awareness do helps me with my professional development.
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