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1 Undergraduate Studies ePortfolio Danell Pugh BA in Psychology 2010
Personal Statement I have spent the last several years working toward an undergraduate degree in Psychology and would now like to couple all that I have learned with a focus on Social Work. Social Work is a profession in which helping others deal with various life situations is standard. I would like to be among those who are able and willing to assist others in overcoming their drug or alcohol addictions and provide the necessary resources to those who are in dire need. By obtaining a Masters in Social Work from the University of Denver’s Graduate School of Social Work, I feel that this dream can become my reality. As a Veteran of the United States Army, a Civil Service Employee at Evans Army Community Hospital, and a friend to many military service members, I have witnessed service members returning from wartime missions, having done combat with a formidable enemy, only to hide their traumatic experiences and feelings inside of a bottle or a drug addiction, instead of seeking the proper assistance in combating their unseen foe. These are my brothers and sisters in arms and I have a strong desire to do what I can in order to better their lives as well as those of their families. For me, becoming a Social Worker is key to satisfying my passion to help others. In five to six years, I can see myself working with Veteran Affairs or Evans Army Community Hospital on Fort Carson as a Social Worker, helping these men and women sort through the many layers that have ultimately led to substance abuse. These Soldiers are Heroes and they deserve compassionate, caring, and considerate people who can provide them with the proper guidance and advice. I long to fulfill the role of that compassionate, caring, and considerate person.
Reflection I am currently in the process of completing my undergraduate degree with Argosy University in Psychology with a concentration in substance abuse. The projected date for completing my Bachelors Degree is April 2010. I feel that this degree plan has really opened my eyes to the world of human services and social work, specifically. Over the last few years, Argosy University has provided a wealth of information pertaining to Behavioral Health that is beneficial to the Social Work field. Courses from Argosy University, such as Counseling Techniques, Personality Theories, Substance Abuse Treatment I and II, and so many others, have provided me with valuable knowledge, that when added to the skills, techniques, and lessons that are taught in your program, could very well produce a successful Social Worker.
Strengths and Weaknesses Though, generally a positive trait, I believe that my bleeding heart is one of my weaknesses. It will take some hard training and repetition to mold my mind to be able to think in terms of what is best for a client as opposed to what I think will make them feel better. This is definitely something I believe that I can overcome. I am an extremely emotional person. I will have to work very hard, and through education and experience, learn to keep my own personal feelings out of a client’s situation. This is a fault that could definitely impact my performance in the Social Work field. I know that through commitment, I can develop a plan to transform this fault into a point of strength and motivation. Integrity is an integral part of who I am and I feel that this will fuel my success as a Social Worker. The fact that I always try to do what is right, even when no one is looking, will allow me to, in good conscience, make honest assessments and suggestions for improvement for those with whom I work. It will be necessary to build a good rapport with my clients and trust is the major ingredient in those bonds.
Table of Contents Cognitive Abilities: Critical Thinking and Information Literacy Research Skills Communication Skills: Oral and Written Ethics and Diversity Awareness Foundations of Psychology Applied Psychology Interpersonal Effectiveness **Include work samples and projects with a Title Page and organized accordingly to demonstrate each of the Program Outcomes above
Cognitive Abilities Patients with symptoms and diseases such as nausea caused by cancer, chemotherapy, anorexia or wasting due to cancer, AIDS, chronic pain, spasticity caused by multiple sclerosis, and glaucoma, have been using marijuana as treatment for years. Angel McClaryRaich from California was one of those patients until a Supreme Court ruling, on June 6, 2005, declared that she was no longer protected by the state laws that permitted the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes (Okie, 2005). I must question the moral and ethical implications of this ruling. Should patients requiring the use of marijuana to relieve pain, be forced to suffer due to a court ruling based on the fact that the Federal government wants to maintain control of interstate commerce? Many countries have legalized the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes (O’Donnell, 2006). How can people in different regions of the world differ so drastically in their decisions regarding the pain and suffering of individual patients? There are two primary reasons that the ruling of Gonzales vs. Raich should be overturned. Angel Raich has declared on several occasions that her cannabis is the only treatment that has truly relieved her pain (Reporter of Decisions, 2005). Is it moral for the Federal Government to declare that any person should have to suffer under any circumstance? I do not think so. The United States Declaration of Independence states that all American shall have the right to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. Two of these three rights are being taken away from Ms. Raich. The law forbidding her use of medical marijuana has potentially removed her right to Life and the Pursuit of Happiness. How can anyone be happy when they are forced to suffer an untreated physical pain? This is not to say that everyone who want something should get what they want to alleviate suffering, but a medical scenario is a special case in that a person’s physical well being is at stake. Secondly, the ruling by the Supreme Court has made it necessary for most patients requiring medical marijuana to acquire their prescriptions illegally. America has been fighting a continuous battle against illegal drugs. By prohibiting the use of a drug that is a necessity, the Government has further increased the potential of the illegal drug market. Morphine, another illegal drug, has been made available for medicinal purposes. Any drug that can be shown to have positive medicinal effects should be made available. References: Okie, S. (2005, August). Medical marijuana and the supreme court. New England Journal of Medicine, 353 (7), 648-651 O’Donnell, R. (2006, April). Rx for medical marijuana? Interview by Susan Trossman. AmericanJournal of Nursing, 106(4), 77- 79 Reporter of Decisions (2005, June 6). Syllabus Supreme Court of the United States Gonzales v. Raich. Supreme Court US. Retrieved May 18, 2008, from http://www.supremecourtus.gov/opinions/04pdf/03-1454.pdf.
Research Skills Rafael’s experiment resembles that of a quasi-experiment. Quasi-experiment research is a comparison of groups or circumstances. This form of research is used quite frequently when random assignment is not an option (Gribbons & Herman, 1997). The trademark of a quasi-experiment is the lack of randomization or random assignments, which we see in his hypothesis measurements (Shaughnessy, Zechmeister, & Zechmeister, 2009). Random assignment occurs when the researcher randomly place the participants into equal groups (Troohim, 2006). In quasi-experiments, this does not happen. He plans on grouping the children based on whether or not they have registered to play baseball with the park district teams; which is not random at all. The purpose of this research is to determine if children who have self efficacy in softball are more likely to play baseball and quasi-experiments can provide a comparison based on the results of the survey. Groups are determined based on intervention or treatment results and sometimes the groups may become uneven. Researchers cannot assume that people in the control and treatment groups will be equal because the comparison group (children who have signed up for the district baseball league) was chosen based on specific factors instead of randomly (Shaughnessy, Zechmeister, & Zechmeister, 2009). When this occurs, the researcher has a nonequivelant control group design and that will, most likely, become the outcome of Rafael’s experiment. The basic nonequivelant control group design looks like this: N O1 X O2 ---------------------- N O1 O2 N = nonequivelant groups O = observations or measures X = treatment or programs (Troohim, 2006). References: Gribbons, B., & Herman, J. (1997). True and quasi-experimental designs. Practical Assessment, Research & Evaluation, 5(14). Retrieved October 9, 2009 from http://PAREonline.net/getvn.asp?v=5&n=14 Shaughnessy, J., Zechmeister, E., & Zechmeister, J. (2009). Research Methods in Psychology. Boston, MA: McGraw Hill Troohim, W. (2006). Design. Retrieved 9 October 2009, from http://www.socialresearchmethods.net/kb/design
Communication Skills The topic that I would like to discuss in my research paper, and therefore have been researching, is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Having served in the military myself, and being married to a man who actually spent time in the war zone during the ongoing war on terrorism, I have had first-hand experience with this disorder and one of my goals is to someday help in the treatment of PTSD and other similar illnesses for my fellow veterans. This falls within the “realm of psychology” in that this disease is an emotional reaction to a traumatic or painful event and this illness is treatable with the proper counseling and therapy. There are quite a few Soldiers who are afraid to seek the proper help because they fear repercussions. I want to help them alleviate that fear. In the last few years, due to the increase in PTSD diagnoses, Soldiers are now required to participate in PTSD and suicide awareness training. Many Soldiers are now aware of the signs and symptoms so that they can check their battle buddy (Military peer) and offer their counterparts proper guidance so that they can, one day, feel whole again. The Soldiers are taught three main things to look for once they return from traumatic events. These three things are: “1) re-experiencing the event over and over again; 2)avoiding people, places, or feelings that remind you of the event; and 3) feeling “keyed up” or on-edge all the time” (Academy of Health Science, 2007). The decision making process when choosing my research topic was to find an issue that I found interesting and that I wanted to learn more about. I know that learning the signs and symptoms associated with PTSD will benefit my life tremendously. I have several military friends who have deployed multiple times. Each deployment plays a little more with their minds and if I can point them in the right direction for the proper help, then that is one more military person or veteran who won’t have to suffer anymore. The title for this review paper is “The Effective Treatments for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in the Military”.
Reference: Academy of Health Science, (2007). Battlemind mild traumatic brain injury and post traumatic stress disorder. Fort Sam Houston, TX: Academy of Health Science.
Ethics and Diversity Awareness My experiences in the Army have played a part in the person I am today. The Army has seven values that are infused in each and every Soldier. These values are loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity, and personal courage. Even though I was in the Army for only four years, these values will follow me throughout my lifetime. Along with these values, my Army experiences have taught me discipline, promptness, and the ability to remain calm under pressure, all of which are important traits for a Social Worker to possess. Along with these characteristics, I feel that I am able to make ethical and non-discriminatory decisions. Being in the Army, I met so many people that were from all over the world and each individual had something new to show me. When I look at someone, I do not see skin color or disabilities. I see that person for who they are on the inside. I think that so many people judge others by what they physically see and they miss out on meeting some really great people. We, as humans, are all different and unique. We all have something interesting to bring to the table and some people do not have that chance because others shut them out based on appearance. My mother taught me that there is one person who has the right to judge others and that person is God. It is not my place in this world to disregard another person based on these discriminatory factors. As a Social Worker, one must keep an open mind and abstain from judging others. By discriminating, the Social Worker is doing more harm than good, and that is not the goal for this profession. Each person is entitled to fair treatment regardless of skin color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, age, and race. I have taken several classes in the Army and as a Civil Service worker on Equal Opportunity. Every quarter we are required to cover some aspect of Equal Opportunity, such as discrimination, prejudice, harassment, or sexual harassment. I am also an Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Collateral Duty Counselor and I was given 40 hours of instruction which taught me the history, laws, timeframes, and regulations that cover EEO.
Foundations of Psychology The integrative approach to therapy would be especially beneficial for Sabina as her issues are multi-faceted. The therapeutic philosophies that would best be used for Sabina include the person centered, cognitive behavior, and existential therapies. The combination of these three therapies would likely create a winning situation for Sabina A person centered therapist would categorize Sabina with a group that is “trustworthy, resourceful, capable of self understanding and self direction, able to make constructive changes, and able to live effective and productive lives” (Corey, 2009, p. 168). This therapist focused on the positive aspects in the client’s lives, instead of on the negative. Sabina already exhibits a desire to become fully functioning; therefore she has a head start on a successful counseling session. Cognitive behavior therapists would believe that Sabina has “predisposition for self-preservation, happiness, thinking and verbalizing, loving, communion with others, and growth and self-actualization” (Corey, 2009, p. 276-277). It is quite apparent that Sabina desires a stronger relationship with her husband and her family. It is simply necessary for her to understand her role in each relationship and develop the ability to communicate her desire to each family member. The Existential approach would probably prove most valuable for Sabina. Existential therapists believe there are six basic dimensions to the human condition. They are “(1) the capacity for self-awareness; (2) freedom and responsibility; (3) creating one’s identity and establishing meaningful relationships with others; (4) the search for meaning, purpose, values, and goals; (5) anxiety as a condition of living; and (6) awareness of death and nonbeing” (Corey, 2009). It is important for Sabina to accept the fact that she unique and different from others. She has a distinct identity that hers and hers alone. Sabina needs to search and uncover her purpose in life. She may not realize it, but she needs to search for meaning in her life and answers to the following questions: “Why am I here? What do I want from life? What gives my life purpose?” (Corey, 2009, p. 144). The primary goal of therapy would be to create an environment in which Sabina could feel comfortable discovering herself. She has yet to find her identity as a woman or a person in general. Her general fear of failure and desire for acceptance tends to prevent Sabina from exploring her own personality and desires and from exploiting her talents. It would be a good idea for the therapist to encourage Sabina to expand upon her hobbies as possible sources of employment. The other therapeutic goal would be to build Sabina’s confidence. There is a serious lack of self confidence evident in Sabina that must be overcome. Exercises that would shed light on her skills and abilities would help to generate more confidence. More confidence will translate into willingness to take risks, which could in turn help Sabina to feel more alive. The therapist would basically serve as a catalyst through which Sabina could transform herself into a self-motivated, hard driving woman who is in control of her emotions and ready for whatever life throws her way. It would be imperative for the therapist to help Sabina find sources of motivation and assist in the building of her confidence. The therapist would also play the role of relationship mender by helping Sabina find the proper ways to express herself without seeming to clingy. By showing respect for Sabina’s thoughts and ideas the therapist will help her to understand that her husband, with whom she has a stronger, more intimate relationship than the one that exists between therapist and patient, will also support her. Reference: Corey, G. (2005). Theory and practice of counseling and psychotherapy. (7th ed.). Belmont, CA: Thomson Brooks/Cole.
Applied Psychology Social work is a profession that uses a combination of the nondirective approach and the directive approach in their interview process. The main goal for social workers, like any counselor, is to gain the trust of the client so that they feel comfortable disclosing their personal beliefs and thoughts. With the use of the nondirective approach, the client has some control over the interview because they decide how much information they want to divulge to the social worker (Stewart & Cash, 2008). The social worker, later in the sessions, may switch to using the directive approach to help the client decide what outside resources would provide the most assistance. The situation and context of each interview depends on the issues of the clients and those are different for each individual. The social worker will need to be knowledgeable in a variety of human problems, such as drug and alcohol dependency, family issues, and traumatic experiences, so that they can respond appropriately. The client’s situations will, more than likely, differ from other client’s; some will be more tragic; some will affect other family members in a more dramatic manner, and others will be less disastrous. Social Workers are needed around the clock. Social workers are on call at the hospital that I work in and they are needed around the clock. Soldiers returning from the war attempt suicide at all hours of the day and social workers need to be available so that these men and women have someone to talk to about the problems that they are facing. Out textbook, Interviewing: Principles and Practice, Stewart & Cash (2008) tells us that “counselors note marked increases in crisis interviews with lonely people during family-oriented and happy seasons such as Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Passover” (p. 40). This is not the case with social workers who work with the Military. There are more increases in crisis intervention after returning from a combat zone and coming home after long, stressful deployments. The place and setting of each interview can differ between each encounter. Social workers may an office from which they hold the majority of their sessions, but they also may travel to the client’s home, to the client’s medical provider, or other agencies and resources used by the patient (Stenson, 1993). Social workers can conduct their interviews almost anywhere as long as both parties, the social worker and their client, are comfortable discussing personal business (Argosy University Online Lecture, 2009). The social workers office should be organized, the desk should not be messy, and their office should look professional and inviting. I would guess that most initial interviews would take place in the office so that the social worker can properly assess the client and a professional office may help the client to relax and place trust in the social worker on a quicker level. References: Argosy University Online Lecture (2009). Place. Retrieved September 19, 2009, from Argosy University, Module 2 online lecture website http://myeclassonline.com/ec/crs/default.learn?CourseID=3638484&CPURL=myeclassonline.com&Survey=1&47=4478291&ClientNodeID=404511&coursenav=0&bhcp=1. Stenson, K. (1993, February). Social work discourse and the social work interview. Economy & Society, 22(1), 42. Retrieved September 19, 2009, from SocINDEX with Full Text database. Stewart, C. & Cash, W. (2008). Interviewing principles and policies. Boston: McGraw Hill.
Interpersonal Effectiveness See the Crisis Management Power Point slides.
My Future in Learning Harvey Ullman once said, “Anyone who stops learning is old, whether this happens at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps on learning not only remains young, but becomes constantly more valuable regardless of physical capacity.” Learning is certainly a life long process. I completely agree with this quote. Learning is important at any age. One does not only learn from books, also from every day, ordinary occurrences.
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