Therapist, Know Thyself: Self-Reflective Practice through Autoethnography
Date of Paper/Work
Master of Social Work (M.S.W.)
Type of Paper/Work
Clinical research paper
Typically, in a social work graduate program, students are taught human behavioral theories, methods and interventions, ethical practices, policy and cultural competence among other areas. The primary tool used by social workers are themselves. Therefore, it is important the social worker is competent. The academic curriculum ensures that professionally, they are. However, how much does a social work graduate program ensure the social worker is competent personally? Theorists and current literature express the importance of a therapist possessing selfawareness— that essentially to know oneself is to know others. In this autoethnography, I aimed to enlighten the importance of self-awareness by participating in the self-reflective practices of clinical supervision and self-reflective journal writing during my graduate year as a social work intern and student. I took this data and interwove it with personal history and knowledge from social work literature and education. Through the process, I discovered the importance of the therapeutic relationship and its ability to provide relational repair, along with personal issues such as insecure attachment surfacing in order to be acknowledged and begin to be healed. Ultimately, I experienced the reason why self-reflective practice is essential in being a competent therapist. Self-reflective work brings self-awareness. Self-awareness brings self-knowledge. And, self-knowledge enhances the therapeutic relationship and increases a therapist’s overall competence and confidence.
self-reflective practice, clinical supervision, attachment, therapeutic relationship, autoethnography, countertransference, self-awareness
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
DiVirgilio, Nikki, "Therapist, Know Thyself: Self-Reflective Practice through Autoethnography" (2018). Social Work Master’s Clinical Research Papers. 837.