Looking Back to Look Ahead

How to gain clarity for your career post-licensure

Associate Social Workers are all on a journey.  We are headed towards full licensure.  We are moving towards our future and the career that awaits us.  This period while being supervised is a unique time to gain more insight on what you want and don't want in that future.  Here are some recommended steps to help find more clarity on your clincial passions and interests:

1) Review Your Caseload 

Take some time to look over all the clients you have worked with.  Write down and take note of those that you have worked with effectively.  Who are the clients you were excited to see and felt passion around the work you were doing with them?  Notice anything that defined those clients (identities, problem areas, etc.) and what you liked about working with them, such as the types of therapies you utilized.  

2) Directly Ask Your Supervisor and Your Peers

Make it known to your supervisor that you are trying to gain focus in your career and ask for their input.  What strengths do they notice in you?  What clients do they see you working most effectively with?  What modalities of therapy do they see you successfully practicing? Where do they see challenges and room for growth?

Check in with you coworkers and ask those same questions that you asked your supervisor.  Ask other associates who are in group supervision with you.  Ask more experienced coworkers whom you have gotten to know.  Ask people you co-facilitate groups with.  Anyone who has a view into your clinical work may offer helpful information.  

3) Listen to Client Feedback

Pay attention to the impact you've had on clients as they report it.  Listen to their feedback - solicited or unsolicited.  Are there any common themes with those who report having good rapport and positive results with you?  

4) Take Notice of What Catches Your Interest

Any chance to learn something new is also a chance to measure your interest in it.  Try to experience as many different things as you can at your job.  If you get the opportunity to do a work training, read a book or do an online course, notice which of those make your heart race a little faster and your mind focus eaiser.  What captures your curiosity?  What clients or modes of therapy spontaneously inspire you to do extra research on your own?   

Investing some time into intentional reflection can go a long way towards better understanding your preferences and strengths as a clinician.  What you discover may go a long way towards defining what steps you take in your career once you are fully licensed.