Reflection of end of year WIL placement

Identify the personal growth and skill development as a result of the WIL placement

Being a student in a workplace enabled me to really learn whilst practicing. It may seem obvious but the opportunity freed me of a lifetime of limiting beliefs of needing to ‘get it right’ before I try. I fully embraced both being brave and trying with being professional and assisting people. What I learnt was we are all giving it our best effort at any point in time and it’s ok if it isn’t perfect, it never will be, we just need to keep moving in the right direction with the best intention.

Another personal skill I started to work on was finding my limits to saying no. I feel I need to do it all and put pressure on myself and achieve it. The lesson I learnt on WIL placement is that going at a slow pace still results in good work wit good outcomes. This is something that I need to continue to be mindful of. That it is not a bad reflection to say no I have enough on my plate and can’t take on another project. I began to learn to value my work and trust tat I am enough.

Skills I developed on my WIL placement were around understanding trauma theory from a neuroscience perspective to deliver culturally appropriate interventions to older people. Understanding trauma theory provided validity for techniques I had previously valued personally but not in a professional setting. Understanding how the body stores trauma and that it remains in the nervous system until it is released was exciting and new and

information as was how the brain remains ’offline’ unable to undertake higher functions if it is acting in a fear response using the limbic system. Using somatic experiences including mindfullness enabled release from trauma for older clients who did not want to talk about their experiences of trauma and war. It was a wonderful way to create some rest and ease for people at this age of life.

I also developed counselling techniques and it was a privilege to be with people and share their stories and help them reflect and find their strength to deal with events and circumstances in their lives. I noticed a growth in my counselling skills from first client I met with at the beginning of my WIL placement to meeting with the same client on the last day of my placement. The biggest change was my increased confidence to trust my ability and have more gentle direction in the session.

How the ACEN Scholarship supported the recipient’s career aspirations

I suppose my biggest career aspirations are to trust the ability I have and to let it shine. To not be afraid of adversity and to take discomfort as growth and not shy away from it, there are no mistakes – not putting myself out there to try is the only failure. To know that in advocating a point of view that is not shared by other services is ok – that is my job, to raise what is not being spoken. Not to be fearful, I am doing my job and I can be proud. Doing it well means the road will be bumpy – be ok with being that leader and representative.

I wish to take this growth and confidence and continue to expand on it. Not being concerned about how to harness it and reflect too much on that, just to keep moving in the same direction will build a bridge of experience which in no time will become a sturdy and familiar path.

For now I feel passionate and able and willing to continue to support humanitarian entrants to have a voice, especially around mental health issues and services. This is not an area I initially chose to work in but becoming comfortable with myself through reflection of my biases assumptions and honestly looking at who I am, what my background and privilege are I am able to work in an area that is remarkably relevant that I had been overlooking. It is a gift to have revealed this to myself and to be available to contribute to this area.

Evidence of the ability to think critically and question biases and assumptions

During the WIL placement i reflected on my relationship with power. Through layers of reflection I was able to see what my ‘hidden’ assumptions were around power and how they had formed. By doing this I was able to see how I applied this in my practice and was then able to consciously change and develop a new way of seeing and being which I believe has been at the core of my transformation to be able to work in an uncomfortable space. Now that I can see and have revealed myself I can ‘work’ in the space.

My assumptions around power was that it was bound up in structure and those who were connected to it were the only ones able to access and enable it. Upon reflection I realised that this thinking was both binary and adopted from my parents. I learned that neither of these things were relevant or useful.

When I became aware of my binary thinking, around many matters, I realised that it was at the root of many of the tensions and limitations I created. Being one or the other left no room for humanness and colour and scale and difference and uniqueness. These are the things which make the world an interesting and fun space to be. In the context of working with humanitarian visa entrants I see them using it as a survival technique. My parents were in this situation, of being refugees, and this scarcity thinking of it being absolute may have been fruitful in times of survival but it is not helpful in the context of where I am today. I appreciate diversity, variation and the complexity it brings. Yes it means that I can’t neatly package the world, and it’s contents but I don’t need to control it either.

Power was seen by my parents as something that others held and I too had unknowingly ‘inherited’ this point of view. Becoming aware of my binary thinking helped to shift this assumption. I began to see power in a Foucauian way, of it being out there accessible to everyone. This released my thinkin of power being either held or not held. Power then became an intangible thing that could be accessed by anyone at any point from any perspective. It wasn’t exclusive or out of reach. I took hold of some of that power, even though others had it too and felt comfortable to hold it simultaneously. I now see it was the beginning of greater things – being able to work in a place of discomfort and advocate and support people beyond the limitations of myself.