Michaela Svoboda

Antioch College


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00:00:00 - Introduction / Early Life as a Social Worker

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Partial Transcript: Alright, this is Hannah Kenny. I am at the Harbor House in Holland working on a social work project.

Segment Synopsis: Svoboda reflects on her early years as a social worker, sharing that she entered the field with high expectations that she could change her clients for the better. She reports that this perspective was unrealistic and she now emphasizes the relationship she shares with clients and works to create a safe environment with healthy boundaries.

Keywords: boundaries; challenges; change; expectations; healthy; process; reflection; relationship; responsibility; safe; social work; supervision; underprepared; unrealistic

Subjects: process; social work

00:02:49 - Current Role as a Social Worker

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Partial Transcript: And it certainly sounds like you have a lot of experience with that process and you alluded a few times to the sobriety process in your place of work.

Segment Synopsis: Svoboda recounts the emotions she felt throughout her adjustment to her role in a residential facility. She shares that she has experienced secondary trauma from the stories her clients share, including stories about sex trafficking. She notes that her client's trauma's often come from a lifetime of feeling unsafe and that through therapy they are learning coping skills. Svoboda cites therapy, supervision, and detachment as techniques she uses to protect herself from absorbing trauma.

Keywords: adjusting; anger; anxiety; aversion; barrier; client; confidentiality; coping; emotion; internalize; presenting problems; residential; role; sadness; safe; secondary trauma; sex trafficking; stories; supervision; therapy; trauma; triggers; uncomfortable

Subjects: secondary trauma; therapy

00:09:34 - Implications of Social Work on Home Life / Boundary Setting

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Partial Transcript: So, I know that you mentioned earlier your daughter and how you feel as a mother and in other roles in your life other than just at your job that trauma has an impact.

Segment Synopsis: Svoboda explains the impacts of her job outside of the workplace, saying that being constantly on-call often interrupts her family and self-care time. She also shares that there are many roles she fills both in and outside of the workplace, so she focuses her energy on relationship building and demonstrating healthy boundaries. Svoboda employs a method of empowering her clients and teaching them the skills to take care of themselves so that they are not dependent on her as part of her self-care practice.

Keywords: boundaries; daughter; emotional; empathy; family; friend; impact; mature; mom; physical; separate; sister; skills; time; wife

Subjects: boundaries; roles

00:13:58 - The Need for Self-Care / Methods of Self-Care

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Partial Transcript: Do you notice any signs that you need to pay attention to in yourself that could be, maybe, reminders, like, I need to practice self-care, I need to take a break for myself.

Segment Synopsis: Svoboda talks about the importance of taking breaks throughout the workday for self-care. She speaks to the importance of her family and friends as supports and she pays attention to her emotions, such as low frustration tolerance, lack of patience, resentment, or dreading work as red flags that she needs to use supervision for processing as self-care. Svoboda also shares her hobbies that she uses to detach from work, such as watching sports or mindless tv.

Keywords: balance; breaks; detach; emotions; escape; family; friends; frustration; outlets; patience; relationships; resentment; self-care; supervision; supports

Subjects: emotion; supervision

00:18:41 - Positive Impacts of Self-Care Action

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Partial Transcript: What effects does your self-care action have on your emotional health both in and outside of work?

Segment Synopsis: Svoboda states that self-care is an active and intentional process and that when she is using it effectively, she feels that she has a greater capacity for emotional attention. As she reflects on the times in her profession during which she experienced secondary trauma, she again emphasizes the importance of using supervision to process her reactions. She uses visualizations, such as herself as a mesh strainer rather than a bucket, to remind herself that she does not have to hold onto her client's trauma.

Keywords: active; broaden; emotion; exhaustion; intentional; mindful; patient; perspective; process; reaction; recharge; secondary trauma; self-care; supervision

Subjects: secondary trauma; self-care

00:22:26 - Advice to Emerging Social Workers

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Partial Transcript: So, based on your own social work story, do you have any advice that you would want to share with new social workers in the field or students who are still studying to get their degrees?

Segment Synopsis: Svoboda shares three pieces of advice for emerging social workers. She says that it is a social worker's responsibility to be on the receiving end of services, such as therapy. She also says that having an available supervisor or mentor will help the social worker develop realistic expectations about change. She recommends that once these things are in place, a social worker should do what feels healthy for them in terms of self-care.

Keywords: advice; burnout; change; disappointment; healthy; honest; humble; needs; process; realistic; responsibility; secondary trauma; social work; therapy; vulnerable

Subjects: advice; self-care