It's safe to say that Lutheran Social Services of North Dakota couldn't exist without social workers. These hard-working professionals help, support, encourage, guide and promote healing for people of all ages, whether they're dealing with depression, trauma, adoption, grief, aging, loneliness, parenting, addiction or just about any other issue possible.
As part of National Social Work Month, we sat down with Emily Jones, a Licensed Certified Social Worker with our Abound Counseling Team, to learn more about her and what attracted her to social work.
How did you become a licensed social worker?
I obtained my undergraduate degree in social work from Kansas State University in 2013. I achieved my Master of Social Work from University of North Dakota in 2016.
What attracted you to this field?
I was attracted to social work while my husband was active duty in the US Army. I developed a passion for advocating for my fellow military families and finding gaps in services and supports during deployments. I needed to find a way to serve my community and social work was an excellent vehicle for me to do this.
What is the best part of your job?
The most rewarding part of my work is watching change unfold in my clients. I so enjoy watching the “aha!” moments come across my clients’ faces. Seeing them embrace the change and move forward with their lives is a phenomenal feeling.
Yet we know social work attracts caring people, and so can be quite demanding and all-consuming. What secrets do you have for keeping work and home separate?
I don’t know that there’s a special secret to not taking your work home. I absolutely do bring it home, I think it’s unavoidable at times. I think the key is acknowledging that you’re bringing it home, validating the stress, finding your supports, and practicing self-care.
Self-care is the No. 1 way to reduce your compassion fatigue and/or burnout. Self-care may look like an extra cookie after dinner and sometimes self-care looks like seeing your own therapist. No matter what yours looks like, it’s imperative that it’s practiced.
Why does the world need social workers?
Social workers are important because we bring the gaps between possibly oppressive systems and those who aren’t able to advocate for themselves.
We bring compassion, empathy, and the ethical responsibility to model unconditional positive regard for humanity as a whole.
Social workers fill so many roles in our communities, in our physical healthcare, and our mental healthcare. We are willing to take the brunt of society’s negative feedback in order to best serve our clients.
What's your advice for someone who is interested in a career in social work?
I highly advise seeking out opportunities to shadow or interview other social workers. I recommend seeking feedback from those who are currently in school for social work and finding a program that speaks to you. Challenge your own thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and bias. Prepare to be challenged!