My Experiences in Service Work

I have been engaged in service work throughout my adult life, as both a clinical social worker and an ordained interfaith minister. This work has included providing psychotherapy for individual adults, couples, families, adolescents, and children, facilitating art/dance therapy in the psychiatric units of a hospital, caring for autistic children in a residential center, tutoring and mentoring at-risk youth, teaching sexual abuse prevention curriculum to elementary school students, answering calls on a rape crisis hotline, counseling women and children in a domestic violence shelter, teaching creative arts to teens from impoverished urban areas, presenting outreach education about sexual assault in community centers, providing school counseling to teens at an alternative school, leading community service and mindfulness education for youth, facilitating meditation and support groups, officiating weddings and funerals, teaching at alternative schools (secondary and graduate-level), and offering spiritual care as a hospice chaplain to dying patients and their loved ones. I am also the mother of three children, a role that requires serving beyond any boundaries that work provides.

I know both the fulfillment and the emotional drain that service can involve. It is work of the heart, and it requires continual re-sourcing. Over and over again, we have to find ways to release other people’s energies and replenish our spirits. I have always been most effective when I am centered, open-hearted, and strong, but that inner well-being doesn’t always come easy. There are real pressures in the systems of healthcare, education, and social service, not to mention the never-ending learning curve of motherhood. The “care of the caregiver” group work I do now is created in honor of all the dedicated, heartfelt individuals I have known over the years. I use the tools of meditation, writing, deep conversation, energy work, and movement to bring us all back to center, to unblock the flow of giving and receiving, and to bring passion, authenticity, and compassion to our lives and to all the lives we touch. I hope you’ll join me in caring for yourself in this way.

Wishing you a peaceful heart and a joyful spirit,

Julia