The theme for today was self-compassion. I listened to the following podcast (link below) last night and it truly shaped my day today. We are our own worst critics–self-compassion is the practice of treating yourself with the same compassion that you would treat others. I have crippling public speaking and social anxiety (a terrible weakness to have going into this program since it is very discussion-based and inherently social). Instead of being fearful, I decided to imagine what I would tell someone else  in my position. I would say, “You know this information, your only job is to share this knowledge” and something like “you’ll do great, and you’ll look good doing it”. These thoughts provided security for me before and after my presentation. 

The Greater Good Podcast: Power of Self-Compassion

On another note–I guess it would be helpful to list my classes on Tuesdays, so that you can see what the structure of this blog will mostly look like:

1) Community Organizing

Nicole Lee of Urban Peace Movement came in to talk about the organization. UPM is a youth advocacy group. “(UPM) builds youth leadership in Oakland to transform the culture and social conditions that lead to community violence & mass incarceration in communities of color. UPM’s model of “Healing-Centered Youth Organizing” supports young people to feel self-confident & hopeful while empowering them to work for healing, social justice, and a brighter future for all!!”   Urban Peace Movement of Oakland

The discussion about identifying as white and trying to organize in a community of color came about, and how we approach this dynamic. The following article by Kenneth Hardy spoke to this topic: Tasks of the Privileged. What are your thoughts on this? 

Nicole Lee also spoke to how her organizing in 2004 with Books Not Bars has helped to minimize the harmful effects of The Department of Juvenile Justice on our youth. It is also amazing that today, April 4, 2017, “CA: Bill to Ban Prosecution of Kids Under 12 Gets Hearing Today. A bill to keep children under 12 out of the juvenile court system gets a hearing before the state Senate Public Safety Committee today. SB 439 would instead require that children 11 or younger be referred to child protective services and thus be spared time in juvenile hall and have no criminal record”-Child Welfare Information Gateway

CA Bill to Ban the Prosecution of Kids Under 12 Hearing
2) Direct Practice with Children and Families

We learned about assessment tools/approaches for Child Protective Services (CPS): Structured Desicion Making Tool (SDM), Signs of Safety, and Solution-Based Focused Approach. Most counties use the SDM, because it is evidence based and is backed up by plentiful research. But, Signs of Safety is highly favored by the new, more liberal, generation of social workers because it allows parents more of a voice in their safety planning and helps to identify strengths and signs of safety, not just deficiencies. It is however not empirically based. Here is a quick powerpoint about Signs of Safety that was made 2min before our presentation. 

Signs of Safety 

 3) Psychopathology

This week we covered (1) eating and elimination disorders and (2) sexual and identity disorders. I’ll just post the questions/concerns that I had about these diagnosis in my reflection: 

  • How does the LGBTQ community view the Gender Disorders Diagnoses section of the DSM? – It seems to me like the purpose of the section is because of the distress caused by this identity. But maybe it is similar to being distressed due to racism and then pathologizing the recipients (minority stress).
  • Anorexia is a mental disorder, but obesity isn’t. What does it mean when they say obesity isn’t an eating disorder because it lacks psychological factors?
  • Why aren’t other beauty ideals that can be harmful besides weight through cultural ideals aren’t added into the DSM if anorexia is (i.e. Tanning, plastic surgery, etc.)
  • Do we treat medically precarious clients like a 51/50 as a social worker?
  • Why do some diagnoses (binge eating) require the patient to consider their condition as pathological (mania) while others do not?
  • How are some ways to bring the conversation up to a friend appropriately and sensitively whom we believe to be struggling from an eating disorder?
  • Definition of pedophilia is sexual acts towards prepubescent—so if it is directed towards pubescent, say 12-18, are they not considered as having pedophilia, but still criminal?

Lastlyyy–I have a big decision to make because, I JUST GOT PICKED TO INTERN FOR BOTH SAN MATEO and SACRAMENTO COUNTIES FOR NEXT YEAR’S INTERNSHIP!! This is great news, and also conflicting. I could either stay in the Bay Area (my favorite area), work with my ideal county, be close and take advantage of resources at school, but work to support my living. Or I can move to Sacramento, have free housing, but commute for class for 2 hours back and forth once-twice a week, but not have to work, and carry my own caseload (which is amazing and intimidating). It would be a total change in lifestyle if I choose either one. Any thoughts? 🙂 

🌟 (OK LAST NOTE) I was also listening to this podcast: Myths to happiness, and very interesting research shows that oxytocin/ hypothalamus system, which regulates compassion, is destroyed in youth who grow up in orphanages. This is definitely worth looking into and researching further in the future! 

Fuck ok I really can’t complete today’s post without talking about the news in Syria. I am distraught. I feel worthless. I don’t know what to do. How can this happen? Suspected gas attack in Syria reportedly kills dozens – CNN

Suspected gas attack in Syria reportedly kills dozens
Damn, that ended on a sad note. Alright well, I guess that is why I am in this field and why I need to stay. I need to keep at it so that I can extend my hand to farther boundaries and eventually reach global issues.


Spring Forward


This is a blog to follow my path through UC Berkeley’s School of Social Welfare Master’s Program. It is my personal way to organize all of the theories, resources, approaches, ideas, organizations, + other lessons for the day. It will also serve as a diary for me to reflect on my school day, since it is stressful for me and an outlet is needed.

This can also be used for the public to get an inside look into what it is like to enter this program or to learn about social welfare!