I am struggling a bit.
When I left college, I thought I was really up to date and ready for practice. But now, just a few years later, I read the journals and stuff and feel like I am falling behind. Does anyone have any ideas, tips, etc., about how I can 'keep up' with the field – which seems to be changing rapidly?
My advice is to focus on what has not changed at all, and that is the
need for kids in care to experience healing relationships with people
who care about them. The “field” doesn’t provide salve for their wounds
– people do. Focus on what you have to give kids who need you, give of
yourself to them, and read about movements in “the field” in your spare
I recommend attending any Child and Youth Care workshops/training or start up a support group and gather every two weeks to discuss questions and concerns related to your own practice and new developments in the field.
Change is hard particularly in your first few years of Child and Youth Care development. What you have been learning to practice has provided you with a structure providing you comfort. As you learn new ways of being in relationship the structure of interaction needs to adapt as well. You are including progressive mindset into your practice which is fantastic. Keep in mind that you also need to balance it with self-awareness, compassion for self and a willingness to lean into the discomfort, which is what we ask of the families and youth we work with everyday.
Life, personal and professional is a journey with a multitude of choices – balance it with what is best for me and what is best for my clients, win-win mindset.
What works for me is goal setting. Hone your current skills, and select an area or two of particular interest to pursue that keeps you fresh, encouraged, and in a learning mode.
Yes, I agree with the others who responded; the many workshops and resources through CYC-Net are invaluable and certainly provide the tools you'll need.
Build your foundation slowly and skillfully and all will fall into place. Keeping in mind, what the youths needs are, what your priorities are, and perhaps, areas to work on that are lacking, all in good time.
I hope my words are encouraging as well as helpful.
I agree 100% with Lorraine – I find that the more I read about recent research in the “field” the more I realize that the relational, strength-based work we have always done has sound scientific underpinnings – it is relationships and caring that heal – on every level.
I agree strongly with Lorraine here. There is a lot of new "science" and there are many new models to consider but Child and Youth Care remains foundationally and practically "an art"...and that art is all about the building and nurturing of healthy relationships with kids and their families. I suggest to continue to focus on that as you go forward
I’m newer to Child and Youth Care practice, so maybe I can provide perspective at this end of things.
Personally, I LOVE reading new information and scientific underpinnings (I like this term, thanks Donna) in child and youth care – even other types of care. I think a lot of people reach deep understanding by connecting theory to practice, but my brain seems to work backwards; theory helps me tie all my rich experiences together into a cohesive thread.
If you’re finding yourself overwhelmed, it could be an accessibility issue. Other CYCs will probably agree that journals and academia can be pretty good at gate-keeping. I know this can play a role in anxiety around “keeping up”, because academia was designed to keep others out. To have an anxious response to this system is more than fair!
I think having conversations about/demonstrations of different ways wisdom can be shared is super valid. Thank you for bringing this up.
CYC practice is such a good space to share diverse ways of knowing. Does the written word speak to you? Perhaps kinaesthetic movement does? (Don’t feel pressure to pigeon-hole yourself either, humans are way more complex than that)
On a slightly different note: sometimes I feel – yes, *feel* – that one of the best ways to keep evolving as a practitioner is to keep evolving as a person. The more I do my own healing and growing, the better I can serve those who need the same. If you feel there is a stagnancy somewhere in your life, addressing it may help clear any professional blockages you might have.
It sounds like you’re really invested in providing the best care possible, and your dedication is so valuable! I’m sure the young people you work with can sense that about you, and I’m sure they are benefitting.
Best of luck,
Danu's question is excellent, because it is unanswerable.
Perhaps some of the existential philosophers are helpful here – or at least entertaining – we are "thrown" into the world – behind from the very beginning and never able to catch up. Keeping up is a kind of slavery to someone else's idea of what and who is important; an alienation from the world and from ourselves.
If we refuse the slave mentality of keeping up, we are free to pursue ideas, values, experiences, things, that are meaningful and useful. We are free to ignore the shiny objects making loud noises that are dangled before us, and free to ignore demands for adherence to a vocabulary, ideology, or "ism" – whether old or new.
Still, we can never escape the "curse of having to choose," because "not choosing" is not an option.
[My next career will be composing bad free verse for posters sold in university student unions.]
Apologies to Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Sartre, Marcel.... and to Danu.