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Thursday, June 25, 2020

How Can You Do This Work?

Disenfranchised Grief - Renaissance Life Therapies

How Can You Do This Work?

I get asked this question fregquently.

Here is my attempt to respond.

I had read Sue Mann’s article, “How Can You Do This Work?”, in Trauma, Narrative Responses To Traumatic Experience edited by David Denborough in which she describes her work as counselor in an agency serving adults who were sexually abused as children. Sue describes sharing with others, who ask, what she does for a living and them then saying, “How can you do that work?” Throughout my career of 49 years, I have continually reflected on this question myself. 

A career in clinical human services brings one continually into contact with stories of pain, suffering, injustice, and abuse. We are not only recruited, but required, to insert ourselves into situations where we witness and engage with the worst in human behavior and activity. Often these jobs pay very little, provide meager, if any, benefits, provide little, if any, social status and respect. A naive outsider sometimes asks why would a person go through the time and trouble to acquire a college education and training at significant expense to engage in such difficult and financially unrewarding work? Even further, people being aware of the vicarious trauma the counselor is subjected to in the course of her work, appropriately ask “How can you do this work?”

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