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Career Moves, What’s Next?

 

 

 

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Sunday was my 28th birthday. Instead of New Year’s Resolutions I like to reflect on what I’ve learned this past year of my life and consider the year ahead. This past year has been exciting; I’m in a place in my life and career that I wasn’t a year ago, and I wanted to share with you all some of the challenges and triumpths I’ve discovered along the way. I also want to share some goals for the upcoming 12 months that I can use help holding myself accountable for.

Sometimes we try to ignore our bodies and minds, despite clear signals communicating that something needs to change. For me, this reality was born from my learning to prioritize myself better and recognize my needs. 

Healing is valuable work. It is draining – emotionally and financially. My creativity and conviction and belief in full recovery has given me hope and inspired others to keep swimming.  For the first time in my life I became my own best advocate, I was and am on a mission. I pushed through the fears that I should just be grateful and accept myself and my life as it is. Ignore pressures to compartmentalize, repress, dissociate and “move on.” It makes others uncomfortable at times and they seem to have lost hope and think you are giving in to your past. DON’T listen to them! Healing is not linear, and these past few months have taught me so much that I would never have believed just a year ago. 

I am forever thankful for my tribe who continues to believe in me and remind me of my strength when I waver.

 

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A fellow social worker entrepreneur, Nicole Clark, writes:

“It’s always been said that when you make a decision to play big, the Universe will rearrange itself to bring in people and opportunities that will get you closer to your dreams. When you have a big enough WHY, the HOW will always present itself.”

I am proud of how far I’ve come since I first put myself out there consulting and coaching in 2012. I remember the Omega Women’s Leadership (Omega Women’s Leadership Center) Intensive that was my launching ground. This growing circle of women who believe in their power and what it means to share power, continue to inspire me. This summer I have the chance to give back to the OWLC and I can’t wait-stay tuned for details! 

Beginning in July 2016, I began hosting a podcast called Transforming Trauma. I still have a lot to learn, but I am proud of and excited by this new opportunity to break the silence. In April 2017, I was offered the opportunity to do be in a direct service role with the coaching business I was contracted for marketing and consulting these past few years. I’m officially facilitating a monthly virtual support groups for adult survivors of physical, sexual, and/or emotional child abuse or neglect, bringing them together within a nurturing and supportive community. This past month, 17 survivors joined the call from around the world-one person calling in from across the world! In the Fall of 2017, in addition to completing the last leg of my Masters in Clinical Social Work @ Smith College (at a college counseling center!), I will be be providing one-on-one coaching to support survivors going through the Beyond Surviving Group virtual program.

This Spring, I’ve been developing a program for Volunteer Facebook moderators who will help maintain a safe space for survivors who seek support in the “Healing from Sexual Abuse” Facebook Community. I’m interested in how people can learn to utilize social media as a rich resource while still protecting themselves from triggers and traumatic experiences. I continue to be amazed at the ways that technology intersect with social work/therapy and how we can leverage online resources and apps to meet people where they are at in their healing. 

Finally, these past several months, I have begun collaborating with various local organizations like Beth Israel’s Center for Violence Prevention & Recovery, Survivor Theater Project, Incest Resources, Cambridge Women’s Center to design more services and spaces to support survivors. I am so energized by this work and am working on creating a scaleable web platform that will be a resource for survivors everywhere (contact me if you’re interested in getting involved.) I’d LOVE to hear from you!

Coaching

Therapy

Action Oriented Thoughts/Feelings Oriented

Tools:

Inquiry Listening
Accountability Reflecting
Requests Confronting
Goal-setting Interpreting
Strategic Planning Diagnosing
Telephone & Email Face-to-face at a
special time and place

What are some of my career goals that I want to achieve by my 29th birthday?

Well, I have a few:

  • Complete my college counseling internship.
  • Complete an independent research study with Smith Social Work faculty who have similar research interests. 
  • Chart a strategic plan for the open-source web platform I am creating to facilitate resource sharing and connections for the survivor community in the Greater Boston area.
  • Complete Level 2 of Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy training (apply for a mini-grant to make this happen!) 
  • Continue my meditation practice and meeting monthly with KM group. Go on an extended retreat.
  • Cultivate multiple (and sustaining) streams of income (by way of speaking engagements, writing, coaching, and consulting.
  • Share a story at a Live Moth Event.

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Of course, these will change slightly or significantly. The accountability of writing them out should help keep me focused. Feel free to ask me how I’m doing! 

Jack Canfield says:

“The quickest way to hit a target is to fire, see where the bullet landed, and then adjust your aim accordingly. If the hit was 2 inches above the target, lower your aim a little. Fire again. See where it is now. Keep firing and keep readjusting. Soon you are hitting the bull’s-eye. The same is true for anything.”

Despite how scary and challenging the world can be, today I feel more hopeful than I’ve ever felt. I feel creative and energized and connected and surrounded by incredible friends and colleagues.

I wish ease and abundance for every human in my life and around the world.

Change. Hope. Possibility.

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In Strength & Power,

 

 

*Self-Care & Sustainability: Why Healing is Valuable Work was first printed on Rest for Resistance https://www.restforresistance.com. Read more of Shivani’s writing at @shivaniseth05

Celebrating a decade of advocacy work.

“…I saw your post about sexual assault awareness month. i’ve thought so many times about the speech you gave [in college] (i guess like 8 or 9 years ago now…) and I’ve wanted to go back and read it again. i was wondering if you have a blog online or something. You explained how you felt so eloquently. Thanks again for telling your story back then – it made an impact on me and I was very proud of you.”

“You created a remarkable healing opportunity on Saturday with your facilitating of the Healing Through Creative Arts workshop. I looked around the room to see the wide range of participants and appreciated how skillfully you affirmed our shared purpose of healing from sexual trauma.  When you stated it simply and clearly I felt you ground all of us in the courage of that common intention.  Then the tone you set of respect, generosity, loving kindness, honesty and nonjudgmental acceptance gave us all permission to write with honesty and vulnerability.   This tone combined with your thoughtfully sequenced guidelines and prompts created an afternoon filled with beautiful moments of support, appreciation and powerful writing.”

-Healing Arts Workshop Coordinator, Survivor Theater Workshop & Teacher tumblr_oir0pxQGPh1sz0omqo1_1280.jpg

This past week, I led a healing- arts writing workshop for survivors through the Survivor Theater Workshop @ the Cambridge Women Center.17309460_4460534826654_7108000988534932529_n.jpg

At my first American Group Psychotherapy conference in New York meeting new inspiring colleagues. March 2017. 13406756_4062022864104_6612211373539402086_n.jpg

With my mentor at MASOC’s annual conference in April 2016. I am grateful for her example and showing me the power of writing groups.

Inspiring Quotes from my first AAPCSW Conference 2015

Inspiring Quotes from my first AAPCSW Conference 2015 (Click Here for Inspiring Quotes!)

The American Association for Psychoanalysis in Clinical Social Work (AAPCSW) Aims & Purposes:

  • To represent and protect the standing and advancement of psychoanalytic social work practitioners and educators.
  • To provide an organizational identity for social work professionals engaged in psychoanalytically informed practice.
  • To promote and disseminate the understanding of psychoanalytic theory and knowledge within the social work profession and the public.
  • To affect liaisons with other organizations and professions who share common objectives for social work and the advancement of psychoanalytic theory and practice.
  • To advocate for the highest standards of practice and for quality mental health care for the public.
  • To bridge social work and psychoanalytic discourses by integrating concerns for social justice with clinical practice, and to conceptualize psychoanalytic theory and practice within its broader social-political context.

A Week I’ll Remember

This past week has been a roller coaster ride of emotions. I feel full, inspired, and ready to try to integrate these experiences aka make sense of the madness. IMG_3053 Saturday I attended a fundraiser hosted by Haymarket’s People Fund for Community Change. The community conversation led by longtime anti-racism activist and author Tim Wise and Haymarket People’s Fund Executive Director Karla Nicholson focused on the recent lack of indictments, the Black Lives Matters movement and the impact of these events on the anti-racism community. I was drawn to the event because Tim Wise was my introduction to antiracism work (heard him speak my first semester of college at Mount Holyoke). The highlight for me was getting to talk to an inspiring Smith alumnae, currently Director of Client Services at Project Place.  I’m looking forward to meeting with her next month to learn more about her awesome work! Also, I loved Tim’s perspective on the importance of remembering that mistakes are part of organizing and activists and leaders should be supporting young people leading this movement. Monday was Martin Luther King Day. I participated in a protest against police brutality, mass incarceration, etc. Out of the 4 other protests I’ve been to this Fall, this one had the most children and most energy of solidarity, and the most inspiring speakers. I learned Samuel Jackon’s I Can’t Breathe Song, which gave me chills. Cassandra Bensahih, Community Organizer from EPOCA , was one of the speakers and it was amazing to learn about her organization’s work. Friday, I finally made it to an organizing meeting. I can’t believe they keep scheduling them on Friday evenings. Still, there seemed to be a great turnout (over 100 people). I left at 9:30PM and most people were still there! The setup was thoughtful and I was pleasantly surprised by the inclusion of a segment on self care for activists! I so appreciated the question posed to the crowd: What can we do to make the movement inclusive to ALL people? As I headed to my car from this meeting, I was struck by the fact that I was literally walking around and between sleeping bodies who did not have a warm bed to go home to. My thoughts began wandering from short term solutions to anger. How could our society allow this to happen? How do we justify this? How do we look away and become numb to these human beings without family, without jobs, without beds to sleep in. IMG_3055 Rewind to Tuesday evening- it was the first Girls Empowerment (waiting for the girls to give us a better name!) group. This is something I’ve been planning and talking about for over a year now. I attended multiple trainings last year that fueled my passion for group work with teen girls and finally the opportunity arrived.The experience of getting the group started reminded me how patience and persistence pays off. I believe whole heartedly in the power of groups to transform us- and I couldn’t be more excited to create and hold space for these beautiful young women. I have no doubt these girls will change my life, in fact, in a week’s time, they already have.

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The next night, I joined two of my colleagues at Wayside for a panel and screening of A Path Appears. Despite some anxiety about being on a wait list, it all worked out. I was blown away by the documentary clip (focused on anti trafficking work in Boston) and can’t wait to see the rest on PBS. There was a huge acknowledgement of the real heroes of the story (not Nick Kristoff, the film producers, the celebrities, the nonprofit, etc. )—but the women who chose to share their story in the documentary simply for the sake of helping others. I was elated to learn Becca Steven’s Thistle Farms social enterprise is one of the select few organizations featured in the film because of their effectiveness in this issue. Can you BELIEVE the average age of girls who are trafficked in the US is 12-14?! My Life, My Choice (Boston NGO) begins their prevention work in middle schools. TUNE IN TONIGHT 10PM ON PBS.  Then this weekend I received tragic news about one of the families I’ve been working with over the past several months. I won’t be able to go on here due to confidentiality concerns. As you can imagine, I was tired after such an intense and full week. I was grateful to have planned an overnight with one of my closest friends. We snow-shoed, relaxed in a sauna & whirlpool, met an interesting social worker on a beach, cried, tried some delicious beverage with my mother, watched Broad City, cooked an insanely delicious salad for our friend’s housewarming/birthday party. I am definitely looking forward to this blizzard and getting to enjoy a quieter week since I’m ready to hibernate the rest of Winter! On a lighter note, I recently started dating again as an adult for the first time and these are my findings. 10407218_3426649820175_1425560900590800704_n