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Jul. 21st, 2017 02:12 am
staranise: A star anise floating in a cup of mint tea (Default)
[personal profile] staranise
I need to get someone to sit with me and help me deal with work email, because I've reached the point of really, SERIOUSLY intending to deal with it... and achieving as much as opening my inbox in a tab, before I have to walk away from my computer for three hours to stave off a panic attack. There's not even anything that bad there! I'm just being... blah.

In better news, I had a good fannish week for once. I started a kinkmeme! ([community profile] omgsexplease)

Next week I'm going to Ottawa to visit my girlfriend, so that's nice.

(no subject)

Jul. 15th, 2017 10:03 pm
staranise: A star anise floating in a cup of mint tea (Default)
[personal profile] staranise
Tonight I watched All the President's Men with my mom, since I keep seeing references to the Watergate scandal these days and I wanted to get a better understanding of it--so many sources assume such an intimate knowledge of it that I find them hard to untangle, so seeing it in movie format made it easier to understand. I came away with two big thoughts:

1. The quote I've always heard about Watergate is, "It's not the crime, it's the coverup." Which makes sense in the specific sense of the Washington Post's investigation of Nixon--they kept uncovering facts that in themselves were completely inconsequential; what led them on was the fact that shortly after, the person who disclosed that fact would issue a terrified denial that the fact was untrue, they had never said the fact was true, they'd never heard of anyone connected to the fact, and they'd never issued a previous statement about the fact at all.

Whereas the truth I'd never quite realized is that Nixon's crimes were in fact far worse than what he did to cover them up. I grew up hearing vague explanations like "Nixon paid someone to keep quiet" or "Nixon recorded conversations" as to what the wrongdoing was--not the final, absolute fact, which was that Nixon put the government to work destroying his political opponents, and only got caught at a bare tenth of it. And I can't tell if that's because the grandparents who set the political tone of my childhood were very politically conservative, or... what. But a lot of hippie conspiracy theories seem a lot less crazy to me now.

2. Oh my god, seeing all those board rooms full of very important white men making all the decisions, seeing women continually relegated to the sidelines, only getting tiny hints of people of colour, is bizarre. That's... that's what the world used to look like. "Mona, take my calls," a reporter barks out as he dashes out to chase a lead. Is that actually Mona's job? Is Mona also a reporter, who has to chase her own leads down while being ignored and asked for coffee, Peggy-Carter-like? My god, there are still people who remember that world, who think they live there.

(no subject)

Jul. 10th, 2017 12:12 am
staranise: A star anise floating in a cup of mint tea (Default)
[personal profile] staranise
Cool TV encountered tonight: Victorian Slum House, a show wherein people go back and live in the clothing and conditions of London's East End from 1860 to 1910. (I think they spent a week in each decade, and timeskip forward weekly?)

It's really neat to see history from the POV of poor people, where they can demonstrate the actual effects of social change, big and small, on various different people. The episode I watched was the 1890s, the formation of temperance movements, the Salvation Army, and social housing, and it was very simple and effective in showing both the desperate need for these things, and making the audience empathize with poor people's mistrust of do-gooders and improvement schemes.

It made me have warm fuzzy feelings towards sociologists and social workers all the same, though. We can't move forward without accurate data and committed human beings.

(Other cool TV: Homestead Rescue, where an experienced outdoorsman helps people who are trying and failing to live self-sustainably off the grid. Because as an ex-farmchild I enjoy gloating about how much smarter I am than those silly people. >.< I am not always a good and compassionate person.)

(no subject)

Jul. 9th, 2017 09:41 pm
staranise: A star anise floating in a cup of mint tea (Default)
[personal profile] staranise
Uuuuuugh. Today is a bad pain day and I have no idea why–I just hurt all over the way your muscles do when you have the flu. But I’ve checked all my meds and everything–no obvious culprits. The most I can think is that I skipped Aquafit this week.

Maybe it’s worth going to the doctor about maybe having fibro or something after all? I was always under the impression that it would be a worthless waste of time, but there are pain disorders with actually functioning treatments, right?

(Later positive thought: I have a sore throat! Maybe I just have the flu or mono or something "easy" to treat like that! HA HA OH GOD)

(no subject)

Jul. 8th, 2017 11:01 pm
staranise: A star anise floating in a cup of mint tea (Default)
[personal profile] staranise
I'm reading up on relationship therapy and just ran across a reference to a weirdo relationship idea. I'm wondering if anyone knows where it's from.

Cut for discussion of infidelity )

(no subject)

Jul. 7th, 2017 04:35 pm
staranise: A girl's downcast face, viewed from above. ([personal] Doppelganger)
[personal profile] staranise
Clinical supervision is so wild. Nothing in my educational or vocational career has prepared me for it.

I'm used to being evaluated. You go out, do the thing, people observe you, they tell you how you did. You get a mark on a report card, a raise, a list of your shortcomings, kicked out of the program, whatever. You go away. Done.

Meanwhile I come into my clinical supervisor's office for a session, dragging my laptop with a camera dangling from a USB cord, and we sit down. "So," she asks, "How has the week been?"

I fill her in on my cases and how I've been doing. Things I'm thinking about, books I'm reading, progress I've made that I'm proud of, the state of my to-do list. She asks what my goals for supervision are: concerns I want addressed, techniques I want to know more about, topics I want us to cover.

I can say, "I feel like I'm doing pretty well but I just want a gut-check and ideas of where to go next." Or I can say, "I'm really struggling to get this client to engage with me emotionally, can you suggest any techniques?" I can even say, "I feel awful, this session went really badly, can you watch the tape and tell me whether I should quit psychology and set up a hot dog stand?"

When we watch tape together, she always turns to me first and says, "What are you seeing?"

I'm not used to being treated as possessing essential competence. I can't say whether it was stated as such, but it always felt that in anything I did--taking a test at school, being coached in fencing, getting my story beta-read--I was being judged against a basic standard of "acceptable" and "unacceptable". There was "good enough" and "not good enough", and I was in a constant hustle to be good enough.

But in having graduated with my Master's, I'm assumed to be in a basic state of competence--a default "good enough", deviation from which would be a serious act of misconduct. So when I walk into supervision, my default is already good enough in the sense that I'm assumed not to be engaging in malpractice and fucking up my clients.

I tell you, therapy where I talked about myself to someone who gave me unconditional positive regard is great, but professional evaluation no longer conducted over a trapdoor labelled "UNACCEPTABLE" is fucking lifechanging.

(I can't tell if it's an actual change in professional culture, or if I would have had access to shades of this before had my mental health problems been less acute in the past. Because for the last few years my anxiety and depression are pale shadows of their former selves, which is definitely a factor.)

The other thing that's different, and this definitely feels like an external systemic thing, is that the purpose of supervision now--an absolute requirement for the early part of my career, but discretionary later on--is very largely to make me self-reflective and capable of assessing my own performance. In the future, I'll be allowed to practice with no supervisor, no boss, no god, one Master's. I'll need to be able to tell when I'm doing well or when I need to improve, so I'm being prepared for future independent practice.

Western education is entirely about training you to submit to external evaluation, and has practically no interest in making students autonomous judges of their own behaviour. The assumption is that if someone knows what the right thing to do is, they will, of course, do it; failure to do so is laziness or wickedness or some kind of moral failure. The assumption is that if you ask a child, "Do you think you behaved well today?" they will of course say yes--because that evaluation is of course achieving Acceptable over Unacceptable, and no one would willingly submit to the failure condition. We're trained never to draw attention to our mistakes or struggles, just to hold our breaths and hope the external judge will pass them over.

Clinical supervision is like... doing a spelling test, and then having the teacher tell you, "Put a check mark next to any words you absolutely know you spelled correctly. Circle words you aren't sure you spelled correctly. Put an X next to words you're sure you misspelled. Then I'll provide you with the correct spellings and you can see if you were right." (Except with more disclaimers that the teacher and dictionary are subjective resources and cannot be taken as 100% correct.) And then your mark is based not on your spelling, but your accuracy in guesses about your own performance.

God, it's just... it's so liberating. It's amazing.



July 2017


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