Discussion 1: Existential Questions and Post-Traumatic Growth Upon hearing

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Discussion 1: Existential Questions and Post-Traumatic Growth
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Upon hearing the stories of sometimes horrific atrocities clients or client families have experienced, you as a social worker may find yourself confronting existential “why” questions. For example: Why do horrible events happen to good people? Why do people abuse their children? Trying to make sense of such trauma is not easy, and you may seek answers to these existential questions your whole life. And yet, there are opportunities for growth despite trauma for both clients and social workers. This is known as post-traumatic growth, where a renewed sense purpose or a more profound outlook on life is the by-product. In this Discussion, you work to seek meaning from the trauma your clients experience and the subsequent healing you help your clients achieve in your social work practice.
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To Prepare
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• Read about trauma-informed social work, and read this article listed in the Learning Resources: Vis, J., & Boynton, H. M. (2008). Spirituality and transcendent meaning making: Possibilities for enhancing posttraumatic growth. Journal of Religion and Spirituality in Social Work: Social Thought, 27(1–2), 69–86. https://doi.org/10.1080/15426430802113814
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By Day 3
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Post a response to the following: PLEASE USE SUBHEADINGS
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• In 1 sentence, identify an existential question with which you have grappled in relation to a client who has been traumatized.
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o Reflect on your fieldwork, or perhaps identify an existential question that might arise in working with the client in the case study you have selected throughout the course.
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• In 3 brief sentences, describe where there is potential for growth for the client as a result of the trauma.
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• In 3 brief sentences, explain where there is potential for growth for you, the social worker, as a result of listening to the client’s stories and bearing witness to their trauma.
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• Describe any challenges you may experience between the meaning you hold based on your personal beliefs and working within the client’s potentially different belief framework.
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Respond to two colleagues: Please read the two separate posts specified below and respond to each answering the below question in 2-3 sentences.
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• Provide a suggestion for how a social worker could help clients to understand and make meaning of the trauma within the client’s values and belief framework.
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Response 1: T.R.
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Existential Question(s) Regarding Ella Schultz’s Case
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If I were to state an existential question after working on assignments for Ella’s case study, it would be based on the abuse she has experienced. If there is a higher power or a force of some kind looking out for all of us, I would want to know why that power has allowed Ella to reach this low point in her life. Why is a person whose life is truly only beginning experiencing abuse from one of the people she’s supposed to trust the most? Why is the other person who is meant to look out for Ella doing nothing (Walden, LLC, 2022). Before continuing my post, I do want to state that I am not attempting to blame anyone present in this case study; nor am I trying to ignore the variety of factors that are present in this case. However, these would be the questions I would struggle with had Ella been a real individual I was working with.
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Areas of Growth for Ella Schultz
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One area of growth for Ella that I propose could occur would be her respect for herself and the control she exerts over her own life. The reason I think that Ella may grow in this area is because of the ultimatum she’s essentially given her parents. She would like to return home. However, she will only do so if her parents’ behaviors change. I also find Ella’s choice to seek help (Walden, LLC, 2022) both admirable and a sign that she does care about her well-being. In essence, I propose that Ella may grow in the areas of self-love and self-respect.
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Personal Areas of Growth for Myself
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One area of growth that comes to mind for me would be the immediate assumption that I feel sometimes tends to come to mind that everything is an either/or situation. By focusing on how the family needs help and not on what negative choices been made, I can stay focused the ultimate goal of service. I can, and do, disagree with how Robert and Rose were parenting their child prior to Ella running away (Walden, LLC, 2022). However, my opinions will not help the family heal.
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Challenges Regarding Personal Growth
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As I stated, I do not agree with Robert and Rose’s parenting choices. Knowing that these decisions ultimately led Ella to run away from home (Walden, LLC, 2022) would make it difficult for me to remain objective when working with all three family members. However, the purpose of social work services is not for me to place judgement on any of my clients. It is to help them heal and move forward in a positive direction. Thus, I need to meet the family where they are at and focus on positive change, not the negative instances that have already occurred.
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Reference
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Walden University, LLC (2022). Theory into practice: Four social work case studies. Walden
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University.
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RESPONSE 2: R.M.
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Existential Question
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-I once had a client that was five, turned six, when I began working with him. He was severely abused by his biological parents, along with his four siblings, but he got the brunt of it. He then in turn began abusing his siblings, especially his younger siblings when he went into an adoptive home with the four of them. My existential question in regard to this client was,
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Why are we doing this if we can’t undo his trauma and also prevent him from abusing other people?
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Potential growth for client
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-For Zeke, I think the areas of potential growth were about exhibiting appropriate boundaries with his siblings and (adoptive) parents. He would need intensive therapy to understand and process the abuse that he endured and to understand how to appropriately interact with other people. Zeke experienced physical, mental, and sexual abuse and in turn attempted, with intention, to sexually abuse his youngest sibling and would frequently hurt his two brothers. Zeke was a creative and smart child and used that to his advantage to take things that he wanted or would manipulate other children. If he was able to use this as a tool for other areas of his life that were positive we could have seen how it could benefit him.
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Potential growth for myself
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As the social worker, there is potential growth in understanding how a client got to where they are. In Zeke’s case he was a child trying to survive a situation for most of his life that caused a developmental problem with understanding right from wrong (Turner, 2017). This specific case allowed me to understand the role that trauma can have on a person, even as young as Zeke, and that it can be difficult to recover from even with therapy. It also increased my awareness of my own boundaries and understanding my limitations as a social worker with a client that I was able to connect with on a different level than the other brilliant clinicians around him.
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Challenges between personal beliefs and client’s belief framework
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-In working with Zeke’s adoptive family they were utilizing the program as the last checkmark in order to relinquish custody of him as they felt he was a danger to himself and to his other four siblings. During our time I saw small glimpses of improvement from Zeke and he would then go completely the opposite direction. The family was highly organized and did what they could to alleviate the situation including changing their entire lifestyle to be sure they could be safe and their children would be safe. The hardest aspect for me was their unwillingness to see growth when it happened and their unwillingness to try to have him in their home how they presently were. Zeke was the most complex cases I have ever encountered and so I did not judge the family for doing what they felt was right but this was a testament to my belief in recovery and resilience and was very difficult to understand.
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Turner, F. J. (2017). Social work treatment: Interlocking theoretical approaches. (6th. ed.). Oxford University Press.
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