Laura Buitenhuis

Antioch College


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

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Partial Transcript: This is Hannah Kenny. Today is July 22, 2019 and we are in Holland, Michigan working on "Self-Care: The Social Worker's Story."

Segment Synopsis: Buitenhuis talks about her early years as a social worker in the hospital setting. She shares that she felt underprepared for crisis situations in the emergency room. Buitenhuis also speaks to her time working with terminally ill patients in hospice settings before she returned to the emergency room, private practice, and counseling roles.

Keywords: crisis; early years; emergency; family; hospice; medical; overwhelmed; relationships; shelter; social work; support; terminal; underprepared

Subjects: early years; social work

00:03:08 - Current Role as a Social Worker

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Partial Transcript: And, I started doing counseling, went into private practice doing therapy, also working in the middle schools seeing students.

Segment Synopsis: Buitenhuis talks about her current role as a counselor. She shares some of the presenting problems of her patients, which include crisis situations, anxiety, and depression. Buitenhuis discloses some of her emotional processing when hearing clients share their trauma.

Keywords: adolescent; anxiety; counseling; depression; emotional processing; private practice; relationship; therapeutic alliance; trauma

Subjects: counseling; private practice

00:07:49 - Self-Awareness

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Partial Transcript: Can you talk me through what that shift in boundary setting was like when you were an early social worker versus how you set boundaries now?

Segment Synopsis: Buitenhuis reflects that in her early years as a social worker, she often jumped straight to a solution or intervention. Now, she feels that she listens better and is more present with the client, which slows down the therapeutic process and allows her to check in with her own emotions.

Keywords: emotions; intervention; listen; moment; physical; present; self-awareness; self-care; self-check; slow; solution; stop

Subjects: listen; self-awareness

00:09:27 - Responses to Secondary Trauma

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Partial Transcript: So, what else could you share about your experience about secondary trauma or burnout in the field?

Segment Synopsis: Buitenhuis reflects on her time in the emergency room when she was feeling burnout and compassion fatigue. She also discloses that she felt secondary trauma when dealing with infant death. Being a crisis social worker in this setting caused nightmares, lack of sleep, and lack of appetite for Buitenhuis. She uses exercise, unplugging, pets, and social support of other helping professionals as self-care.

Keywords: burnout; clients; compassion fatigue; continumm; death; emergency room; emotion; exercise; family; infant; mental health; nightmares; pets; psychiatric evaluations; quiet; run; secondary trauma; self-doubt; separation; social work; victim

Subjects: secondary trauma; self-care

00:13:21 - Implications of Social Work on Home Life

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Partial Transcript: So it sounds like emotionally you take things home with you whether you like it or not because you're human, but you can't really share that emotion necessarily.

Segment Synopsis: Buitenhuis shares that it is difficult to emotionally process the trauma that she encounters at work. She notes that her children and husband also notice the heavy emotions that Buitenhuis carries and they help her notice when she needs self-care.

Keywords: emotion; family; friends; heavy; home; personal life; self-care; short-tempered; transfer; well-being

Subjects: personal life; self-care

00:16:07 - Methods of Self-Care

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Partial Transcript: So you mentioned exercising, having friends who are social workers, walking your pet, some different methods of self-care that you practice.

Segment Synopsis: Buitenhuis elaborates on other methods of self-care that she uses, including mindfulness, gratitude, yoga, running, and family time. She says that when she spends time with friends who are also social workers, they do not talk about their jobs. She also takes vacations, unplugs from social media, spends time outside, and reads. She mentions that early in her career, she didn't practice self-care because it wasn't part of the conversation.

Keywords: beach; experience; family; friends; gratitude; intentional; mindfulness; outside; practice; read; run; self-awareness; social media; time; unplug; vacation; yoga

Subjects: practice; self-care

00:20:08 - Using a Self-Check as Self-Care

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Partial Transcript: So, when you're in a situation with your client and you feel like you need to step away or set a boundary for your own self-care, how do you do that while at the same time showing your client you still care about the situation they're going through?

Segment Synopsis: Buitenhuis uses nonjudgmental, slow listening when working with clients to show her commitment to them. She uses a self-check to notice her physical reactions to her client's situations. Buitenhuis comments on various online resources that she uses as tangible self-care checklists.

Keywords: active listening; blogs; commitment; confidence; emails; experience; feelings; mindfulness; online; physical; reflecting; self-check; social networking; trainings; websites

Subjects: self-care; self-check

00:24:09 - Advice to Emerging Social Workers

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Partial Transcript: So, as you've reflected on your own journey and your own experiences with secondary trauma and compassion fatigue and also self-care, what advice would you want to give to emerging social workers?

Segment Synopsis: Buitenhuis advises that emerging social workers are self-aware emotionally and physically, know their own triggers, and attend personal counseling. She thinks it is important that each individual finds what works best for them.

Keywords: aware; change; compassion fatigue; constant; counseling; emotional; know; passionate; personal; physical; secondary trauma; self-awareness; self-care; social work; triggers

Subjects: advice; self-awareness