My friend and colleague Donna Ellenbogen and I presented three workshops this year: Domestic Violence, Support for New Mothers and Humor Therapy. Diverse topics for a diverse audience. A total of 10 hours of presenting. It is both exhausting and exhilarating. There is such a wonderful energy among our fellow Social Workers. We come together to share our ideas and lend our support to each other. We learn from each other as many of us interpret things differently. We’re open to learning new ways of doing our difficult work.
I’ve written about Social Workers being the under-dogs; about us being misunderstood. Every year in Atlantic City, we become a powerful group with the energy and desire to take on the world. There is such a sense of hope and opportunity. We laugh and share our struggles. We provide hope and feedback. I feel like the conference is one big shot of adrenalin and confidence so we can all return to our work renewed and refreshed.
Many Social Workers go to the conference because they have to. We have to meet our Continuing Education credit requirements, after all. Yet, my hope is that all those who were reluctant to go got something out of it. None of us can effectively do this work without the support of each other. We are a community. Together we provide strength and camaraderie. The conference is our own mini-self-care crash course. That’s how I see it. It’s certainly work for me as I present and teach. Yet I learn so much from my fellow social workers. So many amazing points are made and debates are had. My eyes are always open to new ways of thinking. I feel less alone in my work as I see my colleagues nodding their heads to some of what I have to say.
Best of all, we Social Workers know how to have fun! Hard to believe, I know, but this conference had such a wonderful energy. Maybe I’m biased since we presented on Humor Therapy, but my cheeks still hurt from laughing! We all needed a good laugh and I believe most of us felt that this year. Our work is so intense. Our days can be incredibly stressful and the stories we hear can be utterly heartbreaking. I am so thankful we were all able to come together and laugh. Be light about the work we do. Reframe our perspective to see the hope and comedy. It is possible!
So thank you to all my fellow New Jersey Social Workers! See you next year!