How do I know who I am?

How do I know who I am?



How do I know who I am?

Human self-reflection refers to the ability among people to apply introspection and the readiness to gain a greater understanding of their underlying nature, reason and spirit. Individual self-reflection perpetually sets in motion an investigation into the state of the human being and the real meaning of humankind in general. Understanding who we are has always been a challenging task for most human beings. Tackling the depths of one’s inner feelings, thoughts and perceptions can be difficult. Most people would prefer to avoid the issue altogether. According to Rothenberg (2011), every individual has his or her own approach or perspective towards something. The thoughts and values among human beings are molded throughout their growth process until they are mature (Rothenberg, 2011). Therefore, this line of thought can be based on personal experiences, learning experiences as well as societal influences. It is evident that historical experiences, social traditions, features, and stereotypes mold the thought process for each individual. This paper is designed to discuss the topic of self-reflection. I particular, it investigates how the course materials foster student knowledge. Additionally, it will also address how the subject of self-reflection and professional ideas either align or contradict with personal thoughts and findings.

Human beings normally classify their existence with their position in society, their acquaintances and relatives, the physical and mental demands, as well as the cognitive expressions of people’s mind. For instance, people rarely allocate time to think about the authentic nature of human existence and specifically to ask the question: How do I know who I am? Self-awareness is concerned with having a better understanding of human behavior and emotions (Rothenberg, 2011). After the student-practitioners finish understanding the concept of self-awareness, they will have the chance and freedom to alter elements about oneself allowing them to create the life they desire. It is relatively impossible to transform and to acknowledge oneself if they are uncertain of their identity. Possessing clarity about one’s identity and the preferred changes can be useful, giving the individual the confidence to make changes.

Educational Context of Self-Reflection

Student social workers foster the ability to reflect and expand awareness of their personal attitudes and values. In the event that they undertake this process, there are significant elements in the process of instructing learners for social work practice. Writers on teaching and studying propose that learning has a higher possibility of being elaborate and resonating with the recipients when it incorporates self-reflection: the ability to attach new information with personal significance or historical experiences.

Weekly Materials and Impact on Knowledge

The weekly material offered significant insight into the study of social work and human services. Self-reflection and awareness are closely related to social work. Kondrat’s publication on the issue of understanding the functioning among human beings offers a unique solution. I think that self-awareness is a vital element among professional social workers particularly if they are interested in running a successful practice (Kondrat, 1999). In Kondrat’s as well as ther related literature by authors such as Heron and Lorde, self-awareness is heavily dependent on changing descriptions of the implication of self and as well as the meaning of being aware (Kondrat, 1999). In the analysis of professional self-awareness that emerges in popular literature, I have noted that several types exist. One of them is the basic conscious awareness that is the type of awareness of what is being experienced. The other one is reflective awareness. This is very common and involves the consciousness of someone experiencing an event and lastly, the reflexive awareness. This last form is very complicated particularly since it involves a self-awareness of how consciousness is composed in direct contact. The delivery of social work and human services demands an initial understanding of the self. Most social workers experience the challenge of talking to people about their esteem problems. I know that it is very difficult to translate the things learnt in school into workable aspects while practicing the vocation.

The anxiety of the unknown is a serious issue that influences the quality of the services offered by this category of employees. Sharing personal stories about the level of anxiety is a direct offshoot of being anxious. part of this reaction is caused by prior experiences with other people and this history shapes the current behavior either positively or negatively. The function of doubt within the greater framework of self-awareness cannot be overlooked. Therefore, having already noted that the human brain has the power to identify occurrences by comparing one with the other and consequently creating a definition through a label by outlining the discrepancies. Therefore, labels create an easy way for a person to recall a specific definition. After this process, the individual assumes that these definitions are true. However, it is imperative to ask ourselves the question: are they correct? Another alternate situation is that the observations, comparison and definitions can be based on false assumptions. It would be very difficult if all the elements used to compare were taken away.

In the article entitled “Self-reflections in critical social work practice: subjectivity and the possibilities of resistance” by Barbara Heron, further discussion on the significance of self-reflection is done. Heron examines the relationship between reflection and social work practice. Heron was useful in providing substantial information on the significance of self-reflection (Turner, 2005). Heron’s coverage of the same topic served to increase the weight of the self-reflection drastically (Heron, 2005). Indeed, all of the professional embracing the process exhibit a raise in excellence standards across a plethora of professions, not forgetting social work (Brandell, 2014). Several scholars including Lorde and Kondrat proposed that the capacity and readiness to engage in self-reflection is a central factor in enhancing the intricate decision-making procedure (Kondrat, 1999). Heron’s work also adds to the existing knowledge on how social workers function (Heron, 2005).

In previous occasions within the course, it has been noted that social workers reflect on the choices made concerning regular cases, ponder critically and describe the changes that would be made upon encountering a similar case. This article reinforced the function of the social worker as reflecting on cases: the successes, the failures as well as the changes that can be introduced (Brandell, 2014). Reflection entails thinking critically concerning the event and inquiring about the experience. This type of reflection holds the potential of contributing to the search for new viewpoints and new strategies, creating practitioner’s strengths and prospects in practice. Consequently, an endorsement of social work employees’ self-reflection may add to increased conscious thinking about the lessons learned (Turner, 2005). Additionally, Heron’s coverage of the same topic of reflection on history and current experiences influences practitioners’ associations with customers, together with successful and efficient implementation of relationship-based practice. Social workers also have to learn ways of addressing with stresses in useful ways. In other words, all these publications emphasize that social workers have a duty to themselves, their customers, and the occupation to indulge in regular reflection.

Reflection represents a vital element of social work practice and learning and it is specifically imperative for social workers as they start on a new career. In its basic form, reflection offers the experts with the chance to evaluate our decisions. However, in practical terms, reflection is a more intricate concept (Brandell, 2014). It is vital that social workers possess the ability to investigate their own work, the company that they work in, and influential power units in society. Reflection and specifically, critical reflective practice makes up a vital part of this, since social workers are expected to reassess and recreate the dominant social discourse. Different theories of reflection support social workers through the reflection process. A popular one is the Gibb’s Model of Reflection that endorses a recurring approach to reflection, whereby self-reflection is continuous and not a straight process (Brandell, 2014). As expected, not all the social workers progress through stages of reflection in a linear fashion. Some of the experts pass through them, often revolving back to the conceptual point of origin several occasions before deciding on a holistic comprehension of an event that integrates all systems affecting that scenario. David Rothenberg (2011) aptly noted that theories like those mentioned in the previous section are most effective during the initial stages of out the reflective process. Social workers are quick to adapt and develop new variations of their models of reflection that generate the best results for them (Turner, 2005).

Lorde’s publication titled “The uses of anger” offers equally effective descriptions of self-reflection. Social work has conventionally been understood as the professional expert on all maters concerned with the though processes in man (Lorde, 1997). This high priority allocated to the practitioner continues to be practiced even in the current era. A significant part of reflection in social work practice is the implementation and deliberation of theories in practice. The theory aspect of social work is vital to all the functions carried out in practice (Brandell, 2014). Social workers have to prepare themselves to reflect on the theory they are implementing. Since there is a high amount of diversity in the definitions and structures for reflection and the practical application of reflection, a common theme that resonates across the writer’s fraternity is that there is no single appropriate way to approach reflective practice. In the same way, there is consensus on the value in reflective practice. The authors from different disciplines perceive reflective practice in diverse ways and apply a variety of terms to define processes and techniques (Brandell, 2014). These different ways of comprehending the practical aspects of reflection and the settings in which it is experienced produce a significant amount of intricacy in understanding reflection theoretically, and in practice (Turner, 2005).

Alignment of Self-Reflection and Personal Thought Process

            After the analysis into different literature focused on discussing the theoretical and practical aspects of self-reflection particularly in the social worker practice, this section is designed to illustrate the level of alignment or contradiction between the subject of self-reflection and professional ideas with my personal thought process (Lorde, 1997). The research into self-reflection and professional ideas served to restructure most of my initial attitudes concerning the topic. I realized that most of my earlier understanding on how to do self-reflection and its importance in my life were very misguided. In doing several session of self-reflection, I always assumed that it was a linear process. In other words, I tended to assume that I would follow a straight course until reaching the highest stage that resulted in self-awareness. However, after analyzing works presented by Heron and Lorde, I came to a new understanding concerning my thought process (Lorde, 1997). One thing I am certain about is that the school of thought formulated by these authors heavily contradicted my assumptions.

            The claim made by Rothenberg (2011) and Kondrat (1999) that self-reflection is an effective tool when used by social workers to assist in solving psychological problems presented by clients. These arguments align closely with my thought process as far as treating intellectual aberrations is concerned. I have always preferred that social workers approach their clients with the need to rectify their problems. I agree with the idea that self-reflection is the best approach to eliminate internal obstacles, to initially become aware of the aspects in life holding someone back and consequently address them by searching for a solution. Certainly outlining it into a journal is a very easy and effective way to handle it. Nearly all the authors on the topic of self-reflection propose communal solutions. This claim resonates highly with my personal beliefs about self-reflection. I have always supported therapies that can be done with friends that are comfortable to take the course. Some types of therapy have been shaped in this manner. I thin k this is a noble cause. As the competent listener assists in the process of reflection, it prepares the client to be absorbed back into the society. This process of exposing innate obstacles and desires is a fundamental one to facilitate for people seeking personal inner growth. Both the authors and I agree that it is an effective way of realizing lucidity and consequently, power.

            One of the things that emerge common between my thought process and the ideas proposed by scholars on the topic of self-reflection is that learning is sufficiently facilitated through self-reflection. According to Heron (2005), reflecting on previous encounters promotes insight and advanced learning. The other authors argued that humans foster their own growth by directly influencing their learning. In such a context, reflection is most effective when done at an individual level. Additionally, self-reflection is also improved when people mull over the lessons in groups. Reflection demands connecting a recent experience to past lessons through approaches such as scaffolding. Vaughn & Perron (2013) claimed that reflection entailed extracting emotional and mental information from diverse sources: images, aural, kinesthetic, and physical. For reflection to occur, people must execute and process the information, examining and assessing the data (Vaughn & Perron, 2013). Eventually, reflection also implies implementing the elements that were learned to settings that extend beyond the initial learning environment. Personally, I have always thought that reflection can assist student-practitioners deal with their workload while acting in the capacity of social workers. Similarly, I also know that reflection is easy when the distractions are limited. This implies that reflection is best done alone, in a secluded location with little noise as possible.

            Conversely, while the aforementioned sections outline the close alignment of my personal thoughts and the professional ideas offered by various authors, there exist unique contradictions between these two comparisons. This emerges in the stand assumed on developing and using reflective practice (Tuzeo-Jarolmen, 2014). Nearly all the authors propose a direct model that assists professionals and student-practitioners to deal with clients within the social work context. However, the real problem emerges in the proposal that a rough framework can be adopted while dealing with psychological issues among human beings. Personally, I think that the ordinary human being has to many psychological, metal and emotional variations to fit in within the framework offered by the likes of Turner, Kondrat and Heron (Brandell, 2014). Most of the models follow a structure that includes asking, observing, and feeling, discussing and thinking about the situation faced by a client (Kondrat, 1999). I always assumed that human beings experiencing social issues should be dealt on a one-to-one basis. Confining the approaches to several models equally limits the efficacy of the proposed solution. In conclusion, the analysis of self-reflection, self-awareness and its different manifestations in the practical context are useful (Rothenberg, 2011). Answering the question of “How do I know who I am?” might seem like an easy quest. The paper has proven that it is a complicated task, demanding honesty before one can realize self-awareness. Applying the models proposed by professionals in the field such as Kondrat, Heron and Lorde holds the potential for improving the pursuit for self-awareness within the classroom or individual context.


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Brandell, J. R. (2014). Essentials of clinical social work. Los Angeles: SAGE.

Heron, B. (2005). Self-reflections in critical social work practice: subjectivity and the possibilities of resistance. Reflective Practice, 6, 341-351.

Kondrat, M. E. (1999) Who is the ‘self’ in self-aware: professional self-awareness from a critical theory perspective. Social Service Review, 73, 451-477.

Lorde, A. (1997). The uses of anger. Women’s Studies Quarterly, 25 (1/2): 278-285.

Rothenberg, D. (2011). Survival of the beautiful: Art, science, and evolution. New York: Bloomsbury Press.

Turner, F. J. (2005). Social work diagnosis in contemporary practice. New York, New York: Oxford University.

Tuzeo-Jarolmen, J. A. (2014). School social work: A direct practice guide. Los Angeles: SAGE.

Vaughn, M. G., & Perron, B. E. (2013). Social work practice in the addictions. New York, NY: Springer.

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