I have partnered with the University of Wisconsin social work programs for the past two years in hosting student interns. I have loved this experience and sharing what I have learned over the years and giving back to the field of social work. I had great field supervisors in my time in college and that is where I found TBRI®. What I didn’t expect with interns was to get so much back! The clients, horses, and I love the excitement, passion, and creativity students bring! In addition, it gives an opportunity to practice “goodbyes” in a healthy way and process related trauma for the client. So many children from hard places struggle with this.
Marissa, our most recent intern from the Masters of Social Work program, wrapped up working and sharing herself with us here at Wholehearted Herd Counseling this month. She gave me permission to share her final remarks she submitted to her professor on the blog. It is so beautifully written and thought out! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!
This was my last week at Wholehearted Herd Counseling. As we thought about the best way to facilitate this closure with the clients, it was important to Justine and I that they experienced a “good goodbye”. Most of the children we work with have been in the foster care/adoption system, and have traumatic histories related to adults who abandoned them in one way or another. A “good goodbye” experience was imperative. With some we did collaborative art where each of us contributed to a project, played games, shared memories, created “invisible strings”, went on nature hikes, or just said a simple “goodbye” with a smile. No matter which version of goodbye activity we did, we wanted it to be meaningful and I believe we succeeded in this!
What an incredible field placement this was for so many reasons. On an educational level, I have learned an incredible amount of useful skills and information. Justine and her practice will remain imprinted in my memory and will help shape my own style as a practitioner. The horses have taught me so much about authentic connection, trust, and relationship. As they do for our clients, they also mirrored back to me the many internal dynamics I carried with me into field each day. They helped me grow, heal, and release over and over. I am deeply grateful for the gift of their presence. I learned that I am good at facilitating mindful meditations. I have been challenged to think outside of the box to come up with creative activities and interventions that carry a purpose and a goal.
The clients have blown me away at their strength. These kids carry an incredible amount of trauma, yet they show up every day. They entrust themselves to our care despite the fact that adults who came before us have broken their trust and their hearts. They allow us to speak life and hope into their shattered dreams. They conquer their fears of big animals, of talking to grown-ups, and of remembering and processing through difficult things. They still laugh. They show empathy and care towards their horse partners. They are incredibly strong. I believe attachment is the key to wholeness. It is the secret ingredient God uses to heal us and connect us all together. This experience has taught me that oftentimes we have to un-do what we were taught and then re-build ourselves. Sometimes we have to allow people into our dark places to help us re-build. This rebuilding is not a bad thing but a necessary step in the journey of learning how to show up to in the world as the brightest, most authentic version of ourselves.