Rendering social services during a pandemic is very interesting, to say the least. Personal and professional fears morphed into a monster of anxiety and uncertainty for many social service professionals, and I was not exempt from that.
I think everyone who is faced with this pandemic (which is everyone in the world), is confronted with the basic human fear of the unknown. We don’t know what our next day will hold, we don’t know what our next month will hold, or our next years.
We are unsure of how our world will look, how our families will be affected, or how our country will bounce back from this time. How are we supposed to plan ahead, hope and dream when we are faced with so many uncertainties? How are we supposed to plan ahead and have some sense of normality in our families?
How are we as professionals supposed to guide our clients through this maze of uncertainty when we have not even made sense of it for ourselves?
Needless to say, navigating this pandemic has been beyond challenging, both personally and professionally. Rendering therapeutic services via technology is a challenge. Seeing clients with PPE on, such as masks and visors, is a challenge.
Not being able to read facial expressions which give us so much insight during the therapeutic process is a major challenge. Not being able to convey empathy with your own facial expression is a challenge.
Feeling like you are not doing enough to support your clients, your friends and your family during this time is a challenge, but let’s talk about some positives that have come out of this as a social service professional.
I think we all had to become super creative in this time, to ensure that we are rendering the best possible services to our clients in this time. And many of these practices will now become part of our “normal” service rendering, even when things return to a somewhat normal state. The practices that will come out of this time will change the social service profession forever, and I believe it will be for the better. What will that look like? We don’t know quite yet, but we are excited to see it unfold.
This time has reminded us that as professionals, and as human beings, we cannot become complacent, and we need to continue to innovate, dream and adapt the ever-changing world we live and work in.
It has forced us to take moment to reflect on how we are living our lives, how we are approaching our work, and how we are going to go forward. I think we all were confronted with many changes that we had to make in order to actually be able to deal with this pandemic, not only professionally, but just as human beings.
We have realized the importance of spending time with people, we have realized how much we can learn about someone’s frame of mind from just being able to see someone’s facial expressions, the importance of a hug in tough times. And I think we all realized how much we took for granted before this happened. I hope we all can take what we have learned in this time and hold fast to it as we walk into whatever the future holds.
When we look at history, we see that so often incredible breakthrough comes after major challenges. I am choosing to believe the same will be true for this pandemic. I am excited to see how this is going to bring about innovative changes in not only our profession, but in so many other facets of our world.
Yes, there has been destruction on a major scale, and we cannot shy away from that, but “normal” was not working in our world, and the world needed this wake-up call.
Let us not waste this opportunity that we are facing as the human race. Let’s make sure that what the history books will say about this pandemic will include all the wonderful breakthroughs that came about due to people trying to find creative solutions for the challenges they faced in this time.
Let’s continue to grow, to cultivate home and dream about that better tomorrow, because friends, it truly is in our hands to create it.