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Values in practice?

2016

My name is Melissa Tran and I am going into my second year practicum in Child and Youth Counselling at Mount Royal University. 

In class we had discussed the importance of our values and understanding how our values are put into action when working in this profession. Going into my second year practicum, I have not yet encounter problems with other workers who disagree with my values and how I interact with the youth. I have learnt through class that it is okay to hold diverse opinions and thoughts, because in potential work placements, I may encounter co-workers who have different values than what I believe in. I know my personal values and actions affect clients that I work with and why it is important to find a workplace that fits my personal values and others that work along with me. 

However, through lots of reflection, not everybody, including the peers and future workers, share the same thoughts, ideas and values. My question is, what could I do if the peers in my practicum or future job have different values than those I hold and there are issues in the way we approach a child and help them? 

Michelle
...

Hi Melissa,

I think a good chunk of the field you are going to have to work in multidisciplinary teams and they won't all have the same take or values that you hold as a CYC or even just as a person. For example, I was working with a colleague who is knowledgeable and very caring, she couldn't understand why a particular client was really grumpy. I looked at a client and with my experience as a parent, I immediately knew that our client was unwell and lo and behold, after a visit to the clinic, we learned he had strep throat. You are even going to find fellow CYCs who see things radically different than you, based on their own life experiences. This can be enriching, frustrating and both all at the same time.

I've learned a few things through professors/mentors and trial and error. I'm still a newbie, so hopefully some more experienced colleagues will have some valuable advice as well.

I think setting a good example is important. If people see how clients are responding to you because you are doing strong relational work, they may follow suit. They will certainly be curious.

I think also having strong professional skills to work with colleagues and address differences is really important. It would be a good thing for colleges and universities to have a strong unit, if not course, in it. I usually try to tackle differences by finding the common ground and building from there. Often the goals are the same or similar overall, it's the paths we take is where we diverge. That and just being a people person with colleagues and fostering a positive work environment. Ask questions, learn about their field, again, find common ground and build around that. I don't think nearly enough attention is paid to group dynamics in the workplace.

This also touches on the area of self advocacy as I have heard many times CYCs/CYWs are not really taken seriously by other professionals, but it's important to ensure our views are heard and if necessary produce the evidence based research from our perspective. Being well read, communicating with other CYCs in the field can help with the knowledge base and confidence in doing so. But speak up and often, teach and learn.

Good luck with your studies and practicum. It's a great opportunity to learn and grow.

Joy Henderson


Hi Melissa

If values or beliefs are in conflict making sure that everyone's focus is in the best interests of the child/youth/family is key. At times you may need to set aside your own values and beliefs to move forward with a team approach. Respecting the diversity of team members and the families we come into contact with is essential to providing holistic approaches. Trust the power of team and be open to trying alternate interventions in the interests of meeting the needs of a child/youth/family.

Keep questioning and be open to feedback.
Be well.

Charlene
...

Hi Charlene and Joy,

Thank you for replying to my question and I am grateful for your feedback. I do agree our best intention is to focus on the child, youth or families. Our values is what defines us and what makes us passionate in moving forward in this field. This field of work can be very demanding and can be extremely emotional because of the interactions that occurs in the placement. I do believe that trust is an essential aspect in building effective relationship with the workers and for the children, youth and families we interact with. I have learned throughout this program we need to understand building effective, caring relationship with the youth is important to changing their lives. I do believe that I will grow to learn and experiences these struggle along the way to help enrich myself. Your advice of finding a common ground and from there tackling the situation is a helpful tip when working with other colleague that are conflicted with my values. I believe that overall group dynamics in the field is important and should be brought up often to prevent any harm towards the children, youth and families we work with. Very eager to learn and ready to tackle unforeseen obstacles. I appreciate your wisdom as this would be a very valuable experience to me, as it would allow me to further understand and appreciate about how important a Child and Youth Care Counsellor is used in real life applications. Being given the opportunity to become a part of the team of my practicum as a student would not only encourage me to work harder, but to over achieve and dedicate my absolute best to become a key asset to the field.

Thank you!

Melissa
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