In preparing for this post, I decided to do a brief survey of current literature on the topic of “Professional Use of Self”. During this process, a miracle occured. I found an article that I believe says everything about the topic in a way that is useful and that makes complete sense to me. You see, part of mypersonality (a key component of my profesional use of self) is my love of language, so it is somewhat rare for me to find a piece of writing that I don’t want to edit or tweak in one way or another. I am never one to deny or ignore the miraculous, so I will not spend the next hour rewriting what has already been said so well right here.
The artice was originally written for students in their field placement, but I think it is good for each of us to pick up our old intern hats from time to time in order to get a fresh perspective on our work. So, who are you? What traits, stories, experiences, do you bring into the thereapeutic relationships that you establish and maintain each day?
Many if not all of us have attended workshops on cultural competence. One presumes that we should have collectively learned quite a bit by now about different races, cultures, genders, classes, ages, abilities, orientations, etc. But the word competence with regard to the unique configuration of these descriptors, is troubling for me. Troubling because it assumes that I need to learn the truth about others, when really, I have found that it is even more useful to learn the truth about myself. This is a notion that I am continually trying to revisit with myself and with teachers and families in our collaborative educational endeavors. Here are a few conversation starters that could be used at teacher trainings, parent workshops or as a part of a student diversity group in a secondary school:
- Diversity Bingo
This can be a fairly lighthearted activity for students to get a group thinking about issues of difference.
This adult version of Colored Corners or Tug of War, starts what I have found to be a much needed conversation about the neutrality of values. Many of us go through life having heard that individuals either have values or they don’t. In fact the truth is we all have values and more often than not they are logical and credible, once one is able to step out of a culturally normative evaluation system. Having members of a group choose one value over another and then give a rationale to the group can be a real eye-opener!
The Culture wheel is an activity that I created to encourage sel- honesty. Once I realize why and how I came to have certain values I can better begin what I call the 3 E’s: