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Empathy and passion. How important are they ?

Internship is an intricate part of social work and counseling and this gives one work experience in desired field. I feel the most important aspect of these fields is empathy and passion. My question is how can internship be structured to invoke these qualities so that an individual will be better suited for job?

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Glen’s Answer

I would say they are essential.

Socio-emotional development is something that, as a parent, has become a critical area of focus. When I see what little is offered today compared to what's needed and then compare that to what was offered in the previous decades it's clear there is a deficit in learning and fostering critical skills in these areas for many children and the adults they develop into.

This is an interesting study - https://www.acf.hhs.gov/opre/training-technical-assistance/socio-emotional-development

Nowadays you can interview companies and assess where they fit with respect to values and teachings. Do they have development programs? What are some of their key metrics around value alignment, diversity, code of business ethics etc? You can quickly 'filter in' companies that are prioritizing these values and 'filter out' the ones that are behind where you want to be.

This is good food for thought as well: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zzvsyr8U3IM
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Alban’s Answer

Hello.

First, I would not worry about the internship structure. Instead, I will focus on the places where I could learn the most while developing critical professional skills. With that being said, try not to prioritize private practices. Take a look at public agencies or community centers for your internships. If you end up in a clinical setting, you will develop both qualities (and many others) through your interactions with clients/patients. Remember, social work is all about being empathetic and caring for others. And you will see that it takes passion to support people in a helping profession.
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