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7: Learning to Be Competent

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    Chapter 7 discusses the ability to continue improving and developing competence while facing challenges at the site and in the field. Further, we look at some of the other dimensions of human services work, particularly those that have an impact on the intern or workers and how to cope with them effectively. For example, the emphasis is placed on the importance of developing a protective barrier to insulate yourself against the difficulties that may affect the emotional or psychological well-being of those who work in these fields. This chapter also offers suggestions and tools that service professionals can use to encourage and maintain a consistent perspective.

    Key Words

    • Burnout: Physical and/or mental fatigue resulting from excessive stress over time. Also known in human services as “compassion fatigue.”
    • Emotional “Heat” Shield: A personal set of self-care techniques and practices aimed at protecting the individual from stress and preserving a sense of well-being concerning negative emotions.
    • Style: A particular way of perceiving, understanding, and expressing oneself that is characteristic of a person and the way they either react to or go about dealing with a situation, task, or activity. Everyone has a unique style and each one has a set of related strengths and weaknesses.

    Competence, of course, concerns the ability to face various challenges and to do something well. It is closely related to the developmental idea of mastery, which begins in the first moments of life and does not stop until death. In this sense, we all face the challenges of living and, hopefully, learn to increase our skills and abilities to deal with them.

    Similarly, the internship and work in your field will present a never-ending series of challenges that you will be able to deal with effectively as you master your responsibilities. In other words, it is an environment that supports the development of the abilities and skills necessary to function competently in each domain of human services work. Because many of these skills are personal and interpersonal in character, the internship experience may also help you grow as an individual.

    In addition to training you, the internship also offers other benefits. For example, it may provide opportunities to do work that you can add to your developing resume and present to future employers. If you conduct yourself wisely, some of the people you meet at the site may serve as future references. Each new duty at your internship is an opportunity to learn something new and to increase your skills. One small but important sign of increasing competence is not having to ask as many questions, because you already know what to do and that you can do it. Over time, this “I can do that” attitude often results in a feeling of self-confidence as well.

    The internship is an excellent place to upgrade your interpersonal skills. The experiences you have will help you ask increasingly sophisticated questions as you move to the next level. Your ability to observe how people respond to situations will also grow as you begin to understand why the agency, staff, and clients operate the way they do. Making sure that you do your best to act as a professional is also important, but do not attempt to do too much too soon. Although there may be important learning opportunities often described as “trials by fire,” it is best to take things one day at a time as developing competence in the workplace usually requires patience.

    Your questions, observations, and discussions, will also help you gain insight, see things from different perspectives, and with practice, increase your ability to be tactful, all which comes with experience. New experiences will give you an opportunity to implement what you learn as you take up increasingly sophisticated duties. These developments are also indications of increasing competence.

    Maintaining Perspective in Difficult Situations

    One thing many people in human services have in common is the desire to make a difference in their communities. At the same time, human nature is such that some areas will be more attractive to you than others. For instance, someone who has experienced a very painful loss may find working with survivors rewarding. If you choose to work in an area that is personally meaningful in this way, you will need to pay attention to the possibilities of countertransference a bit more than in other areas. However, your experience might also be an advantage as it gives you more credibility than someone without it.

    Working in human services means helping people face a variety of difficult challenges. Some will be straightforward and have a relatively simple solution. Others may be far more complicated and difficult to solve. Occasionally you will also encounter situations that are genuinely heart wrenching. Many of these will be difficult to deal with, especially if they are new to you, and may create some stress.

    Sometimes people have complicated problems that cannot be easily solved, so it is easy to feel overwhelmed at first. It helps to realize that change does not happen overnight, so developing patience is important when working in the field. It also helps to know about problem-solving, emotional coping, goal setting, and so on; all of which should have been taught in your coursework.

    The internship is the time to apply theory to practice. If you feel insecure or overwhelmed, there are several things you can do to help make the situation more manageable.

    • Self-awareness is the key: The more you are aware of your own reactions, tendencies, beliefs and style, the better able you will be to set limits, avoid traps, and hold a steady course at the internship and beyond.
    • Stay calm and focused: An overwhelmed client may lead to an overwhelmed intern. You are usually not alone in the internship, so help is available – you do not have to do it all!
    • Boundaries are important: Always maintain appropriate boundaries and try to avoid taking your work and emotions home. If your internship has a classroom component associated with it, that can be a good place to process your reactions and experiences.
    • Utilize teamwork: You are part of a team and do not have to figure things out alone.
    • Support is available: As an intern, you can readily turn to others for help.

    Examples of Skill Development in Specific Areas

    Human services has many branches, and each one involves mastering a set of skills. Your internship will introduce you to them in appropriate ways. The next few pages present some personal and professional challenges that interns may face in different settings. However, the number of examples is far from exhaustive. Instead of trying to cover every area you might encounter at an internship, we focus on becoming more competent in areas that most interns are likely to face.

    Staff Conflicts

    There are disagreements and sometimes even conflicts in every workplace. Stressful situations like these can bring out the worst in people, including staff as well as clients. Consequently, it is important to know about your conflict style, especially its strengths and weaknesses. Knowing how to talk about and deal with different points of view is an essential skill because it can help us de-escalate situations and reach reasonable solutions. However, acquiring this ability takes time. If a stressful situation occurs among coworkers, try to stay within your role as an intern. Doing so will help you remain neutral and reduce the risk of contributing to the situation.

    Working with Abused or Neglected Children

    Child abuse and neglect is an area of human services that some professionals struggle with because the cases can be emotionally powerful. Protecting children is something that most professionals in this field see as a priority. Legally, a professional is obligated to report instances of child abuse. Yet, many professionals struggle with their own feelings when working in this area as they can range from outrage against the abuse to fear about some form of retribution by the alleged abuser. Consequently, it is important to remember that you are the voice of the child, perhaps the only one in this situation.

    If you are working in a setting where you are likely to encounter abuse, it is important to develop some skill in detecting abuse and knowing how to handle or report it properly if it occurs. After all, children typically do not question the actions of adults, especially their parents, and child abuse occurs predominantly within the home. In addition, the children are often coached about what to say and how to answer in the event of an intervention. You need to be aware of this possibility and know how to address it. Fortunately, there are training sessions and continuing education courses where these skills can be developed, and you should be ready to take advantage of them.

    Placing Children

    Working with children in your internship can be particularly painful because it often involves watching children experience the loss and separation of one or both parents. The child may even become a ward of the foster care system. To be effective in this area, you must develop some sense of clinical objectivity. If you find yourself getting angry with the parents of abused or neglected children, it is time to re-examine your perspective. Blaming behaviors will only make the situation worse. Instead, try to follow procedures, document events properly, and adhere to your role. After all, that is what you are there for. Of course, in these situations an intern is likely to be only an observer, so use the opportunity to see how clinicians respond so that you can decide which behaviors to model.


    Some children are placed for adoption for a variety of reasons. One of the most common is that the birth parent(s) believe that it is the best way the for the child to have a chance at a better life. Closed adoptions, which means that even as an adult the adopted child cannot learn about their biological parents, were common at one time. However, that practice has been replaced by what is called open adoption. Open adoption allows the birthparents, the adoptive couple, and the child to know more about their genetic histories and have an ongoing relationship with each other if they choose.

    Open adoption can also be done in a semi-open form, which allows for minimal contact between the child and biological parent(s). For example, letters and pictures may be shared through the adoption agency. In-person meetings are also scheduled if the birth parents agree to them. Of course, it is important to be able to maintain a professional demeanor and to follow the policies of the agency where you intern. Your role is to observe, learn, and model as you acquire the necessary skills to meet the needs of the clients.

    Poverty and Homelessness

    When a family has little money, necessities such as food and temporary shelter often matter more than anything else, sometimes even more than a permanent home. The number of people living in poverty is constantly on the rise. Poverty often continues generation after generation and breaking the cycle can be very difficult. Poverty also tends to make dreams and aspirations seem unattainable. Some parents even discourage their children from having dreams of greater economic status to protect them from being disappointed.

    Poverty is a major contributor to many of the problems that a human services professional will encounter when working with people in a mental health or juvenile justice setting. Many clients simply do not have the means to provide for certain basic needs. This situation is often complicated by the fact that many people hesitate to ask for help. This factor can be moderated by providing a more compassionate atmosphere for such clients and guiding them toward resources that are available to them.

    Human services workers often work with the homeless, families in shelters, and outreach programs aimed at helping so-called “street-people.” Homelessness is a problem that most people do not want to think about. Having a primary residence is often taken for granted by most people and the thought of losing such a necessity is so frightening that many prefer to ignore it. People react differently to homelessness. Some even assume that homelessness is a choice or “deserved” when, in fact, it often is due to such misfortunes as fire, illness, or the loss of a job.

    Many interns are poorly prepared for their first encounters with those who are genuinely homeless. That can be a very humbling experience and leave the intern feeling inadequate or incompetent. Even professionals working in this area may feel that their contributions are only drops in a great bucket. However, it is a growing problem that needs to be addressed with compassion, understanding, and dedication. Dealing with the homeless can be one of those opportunities to receive more than what you are giving, if you are willing to learn from the encounter. This population provides you with an excellent opportunity to see how harsh life can be, to learn how to respond compassionately, and to remember to treat people with dignity.

    Part of becoming competent with this population is to learn about things like emergency shelters and transitional housing. Knowing what resources are available in your community and understanding how they work is a good way of increasing your competence. For example, many transitional homes include programs to help with finding employment, learning how to set up budgets, and finding a place to live.

    Mental Health Issues and Settings

    Many human services aim at helping with mental health issues. Typically, they offer outpatient services for children, adolescents, adults, and families. Often medications will be involved along with day-treatment and other wrap-around services. Sometimes more serious conditions, such as schizophrenia, also require agencies to work together. For example, many homeless people suffer from the debilitating effects of chronic schizophrenia. This problem was made worse by de-institutionalization, which you should have learned about in your other classes. As a result, it is not uncommon to find mental health agencies interfacing regularly with police departments.

    It takes time for interns to become accustomed to dealing with those who suffer serious mental illness such as schizophrenia. However, learning how to see the person who has the disease, and not just its manifestations, can go a long way in getting past these initial barriers. Learning about the major mental illnesses, seeing how professionals relate to the people who suffer them, and modeling your interactions after those clinicians who seem to make a positive difference are steps you can take toward becoming more competent with this population.

    If you have never taken a class in abnormal behavior, it will be more difficult for you to make connections, so be sure to either take such a course or do some intensive reading, including the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders or DSM 5 (American Psychiatric Association, 2013). It may also help to watch videos and movies, especially those that show both the symptoms of mental disorders and stories of recovery. Remember, over the course of a lifetime, one in every two Americans will suffer a diagnosable mental health condition.

    Criminal Justice Populations

    There are many types of criminal justice settings that employ human services workers. They include police work, probation services, victim rights advocates, and juvenile systems. Some involve counseling services or protective services as well. Many mental health and substance abuse centers will have clients and programs that serve people who are in or who have been through the criminal justice system. Ex-convicts are a particularly important population because we all have a stake in helping them complete their parole and become fully integrated citizens. Yet, these individuals have the odds stacked against them in terms of such things as obtaining decent housing, finding jobs, and so on. Sometimes communities establish community-based volunteer programs dedicated to supporting people in this situation. If one is connected to your internship, attending a few of these meetings can increase your understanding of this population and perhaps your competence.

    Chemical Dependency and Substance Abuse

    Chemical dependency and substance abuse are on the rise, especially regarding opioid use, though alcohol remains a chronic problem. Therefore, you are likely to encounter clients who deal with addiction in one way or another. These difficulties range from a client having a problem to having a family member who has a problem, which can occur in any type of human services setting where you are interning. Moreover, some engage in criminal activities to get drugs. Chemical dependency and substance abuse can affect anyone regardless of age, race, or socioeconomic standing, and can, of course, involve criminal activity.

    There are many types of treatment programs for such individuals, including Alcoholics or Narcotics Anonymous and support programs for family members, such as Al-Anon (support for families of alcoholics) and Nar-Anon (support for families of addicts) as well as professional programs. Our understanding of these issues has grown significantly over the years, but successful recovery is still difficult, and relapses are a part of the process. Human services workers in general should have some knowledge about addiction because the program affects so many, especially if families are included. Fortunately, most colleges have courses on addiction and recovery that are helpful in this regard.

    Death and the Process of Dying

    We do not usually like to think about the unpleasant reality of death. Losing a loved one can cause depression. Most people turn to their religious communities when dealing with these issues and hospices are now common. If you are interested in this type of work, these sites usually are cautious about taking on interns because the patients and families are having a difficult enough time. However, some facilities offer internships for especially mature students and usually have them go through a rigorous sensitivity training as a part of the process.

    Special Issues Concerning the Development of Competence

    Countertransference (Again)

    Each one of the internship settings and occupations mentioned above can trigger countertransference for those who work in them, especially interns. For example, children are extremely vulnerable and innately appeal to our capacity for nurturing. If we have unresolved issues in that area, then it is easy to become over-involved. Dealing with child abuse invokes strong feelings of anger and disgust in most adults, but if you have been abused yourself, then the risk of living out unconscious issues and feelings is even higher. Many of us have mental health issues in our families and some of us have been in treatment ourselves. People who suffer from these conditions can affect us in many unconscious ways as we try to help them. Addiction, adolescence, crime, and death are all areas that effect our life experiences at deeper levels, especially if it is a part of our past or is a part of our current experience.

    As mentioned earlier, increasing your self-awareness, especially your ability to monitor your reactions and responses is the key to dealing with countertransference. Knowing which types of personalities, issues, and populations “trigger” countertransference responses can help you avoid them. Talking with your supervisor or working through your own issues, which often means talking with a therapist, are usually helpful too. However, there are some other general behaviors to cultivate that will help you become more competent in this area as well, whether you have issues or not.

    Establish and Maintain Clear Boundaries

    Most of us who work in these fields care about people enough to take the lower-than- deserved salaries that usually come with such work. We often see or feel ourselves called to the field, perhaps because in some ways we have been on the other side of these experiences. This combination of factors can create a situation where we are tempted to do as much as we can to help someone who is without a home, with little income, or in some other condition of need. Since we are human as well, it is easy to overextend ourselves, be too generous, offer to do too much, and so on. At other times, we can be tired, frustrated, or discouraged about a person’s reaction, slow rate of progress, and so on. Both conditions make it easy to slide down the slippery slopes of countertransference, poor judgment, and mistakes.

    One thing that helps to avoid this situation is to establish and maintain clear professional and personal boundaries. For example, you should not do “special favors” for a client, give them money, offer belongings, or take them into your home, all of which are ethically problematic behaviors that could lead to serious entanglements. Some situations encountered during an internship can be heart wrenching. You may even encounter a situation where you may be helping someone you know personally. Learning how to monitor yourself in such situations, especially for the possibility of countertransference or personal biases, is part of becoming more competent in terms of self-awareness. If you have difficulty maintaining a professional attitude and boundaries because of these or other factors, then it is important to talk with your supervisor or instructor about the situation.

    Paying Attention to Safety

    Violence can occur anywhere and at any time. Even though most people do not encounter violence at the workplace, human services workers often deal with individuals who have cognitive and behavioral limitations, including poor impulse control or aggressiveness. Sometimes our clients are desperate, or our site is in an area that is economically distressed, even dangerous. And, of course, some sites deal with risky situations, such as those associated with taking children away from parents, home visits, or criminal justice settings.

    There is always a possibility of encountering some form of danger in these and other situations. Therefore, it is imperative to follow the safety policies proscribed by your site, especially as an intern. Be aware of your environment, avoid potentially dangerous situations, and carry a cellphone. If you feel uncomfortable, remove yourself from the situation if possible and discuss it with the supervisor or instructor later. Remember, you are there to learn, not to put yourself in harm’s way.

    Your Professional Development

    Professional Style

    By now it should be clear that many human services professionals encounter a variety of difficult and complex situations. Each one is unique. As an intern, of course, no one would expect you to have a fully developed professional approach or even to have a clear idea as to what your general style might be. However, the internship gives you a chance to start discovering one, and it will be based on your personality, beliefs, experiences, attitudes, abilities, as well as experiences at the site. Developing your own style may seem awkward at first, but it will become more natural as your confidence in your professional work grows. It is also important to realize that every one’s style has strengths and. Of course, it is best to be aware of both.


    The concept of style or approach is often difficult to understand because it is something we take for granted, that we automatically do, and are not necessarily aware of. Accordingly, we often use metaphors to help people identify their style. For instance, the clinical editor of this book once described his style as like a dog at work. That may seem like a derogatory metaphor at first, but dogs have great abilities: They are loyal and have extremely sensitive noses that allow them to track scents no matter how subtle. Moreover, once on a scent trail, dogs are famous for being diligent in their untiring pursuit of the goal. Sometimes we even describe this behavior as “dogged” and may admire a person for their ability to focus on a goal until it is reached regardless of the obstacles they encounter along the way.

    Being motivated, dedicated, diligent, and persevering or dogged are all positive qualities that can be helpful when dealing with problems, whether one’s own or someone else’s. Such strengths are desirable in most fields and many areas of life, including being a good student. However, each style also has weaknesses. For example, once a dog gets on a scent, it does not easily break off of it, which connotes a certain rigidity that is likely to cause difficulty from time to time since flexibility is important.

    Animals, insects, trees, plants, historical figures, and other characters can be used as metaphors to help you cultivate self-awareness. For example, knowing your style can increase your awareness of your strengths, which may help you develop them further at your site. Since every style has weaknesses associated with it, too, knowing about those tendencies can help you minimize their impact on your work. If you cannot find a metaphor for your own style, ask someone who knows you well to come up with one to describe you.

    Problem-Solving Skills

    Above all else, a human services professional is a problem solver. Therefore, becoming more competent at solving problems in your area is a primary goal of the internship, as well as a large part of your workday. The types of circumstances you may encounter could be difficult, which is why the experience provided by internships is so important. It allows you to test your wings and act on your own while still having the support and guidance of a professional. Consequently, it is a good idea to interact with as many people and experience as many situations as possible. They will help you understand the differences between theory and practice.

    Knowledge, information, experience, flexibility, and creativity are all necessary for effective problem solving. Some of that can be learned in the classroom. However, the agency and clients will provide you with lessons about how to deal with real-world problems. Turning theory into practice increases both your competence (i.e., the ability to help) and confidence (i.e., the feeling that you are equipped to deal effectively with various possibilities). Flexibility helps you adjust when necessary, and creativity is oftentimes the only way to address an issue as there is no textbook or policy that always works.

    In addition, there are some very good problem-solving techniques you can easily learn as well, such as one developed by D’Zurilla & Goldfried (1971). Theirs is a 4-step easy-to-learn process that begins with making sure that you understand the real problem and thinking about possible solutions. Those two steps are followed by selecting the best solution and then developing a detailed step-by-step plan of action to reach the goal. Remember, having a clear plan is a good starting point and the steps you begin to take can be modified as new information emerges.

    Developing an Emotional “Heat” Shield

    Most experienced human services workers will tell you that the work is very rewarding but stressful. Just ask some of the people who work at your internship sites. The stress of the work comes in many forms: low wages, difficult clients, case overloads, lack of staff, high “failure” rates, agency turmoil, lack of appreciation, and more. These things can occur at the end of any day, build up over time, and eventually lead to a condition referred to as “burnout,” although compassion fatigue may be a more accurate description. In short, it is best to be proactive and develop some ways of dealing with stress in the near and long term.

    One helpful tool is to create something akin to a “heat shield.” Among other things, a heat shield is a device that protects objects from damage or harm caused by heat from combustion, friction, or high temperatures. For example, the exhaust system of a car has a heat shield to protect passengers from hot fumes and the space shuttle had ceramic tiles on its underside to protect the crew from the heat caused by friction as the vehicle re-entered the earth’s atmosphere. The shield stands between something that is crucial in a system, in our case, the individual, and the source of the heat, in this situation, the stressors associated with working in human services.

    An “emotional” heat shield (Murphy & Dillon, 2011) works in the same way. It is a behavioral and psychological set of practices that protects human services professionals from the everyday stress of the job and decreases the risk of negative consequences related to stress that could build up over time. After all, dealing with a steady flow of emergencies, child abuse, fear, loss, poverty, and so on can take a toll on anyone over time.

    Of course, since everyone is unique, a person’s “heat shield” may take many forms. Some people are good at leaving work at the office. Others exercise, have hobbies, or belong to support groups. Many people meditate or have “me time,” and so on. The internship experience is a good place to figure out what elements may be helpful in the construction of your own heat shield. A personal heat shield will not only protect you from getting “burned” by the stress of the job but will also help prevent you from becoming too attached or connected with the clients. Each of the following can be a component of an effective “heat shield”:

    • Maintaining a positive attitude by focusing on what is possible, not what is not.
    • Count the positive more than the negative: Make a list (mental or written) of all the things you did to help someone that day or week, especially those that were successful.
    • Cultivate and use positive relationships with co-workers to provide a good system of support, advice and a safe place to vent when needed.
    • Keep things in perspective. Remember the internship (or job) is only one part of your life. Other parts can be important, too, and provide a sense of balance.
    • Set aside time for yourself to recharge your batteries and prevent burn out. That is one reason clinicians have down time between appointments.
    • Learning proper meditation or exercising can be a way of discharging stress daily.
    • Do not let paperwork build up! Your supervisors depend on proper paperwork, such as intake information, case notes, documentation, and so on. Develop a system of getting it done before it becomes overwhelming. Make sure all the required documentation is done before you leave the office or, if that is not possible, arrive early to complete it the next day. These are excelent habits to develop because they are proactive ways of reducing stress.

    It is not always easy to deal with stress, but the attitude you bring to the internship is something that is completely within your control. By focusing on the positives, keeping goals in sight, trying to maintain an attitude of confidence and flexibility, and counting your successes more than failures can help make your experience a good one and that is what the internship is all about.

    Practice Good Self-Care

    Interns generally do not have to worry about burnout or compassion fatigue because it usually takes many years of working in the field before that is a problem. However, you will be involved in stressful situations, or at least witness them, at the site. In addition, these days, many students are already dealing with some substantial stressors themselves, such as attending classes, raising a family, holding down a job, paying off loans, all while interning at a site for no pay. Therefore, you may want to start developing good self-care habits that reduce the buildup of stress on your physical and emotional well-being. Here are some of the more common self-care strategies professionals often use to get away from the stress of their job.

    Hobbies: Having a hobby is a good way to relieve stress because it creates a positive state of well-being called flow which makes us feel good, alive, and competent. The hobby can be something as relaxing as knitting or as adrenaline pumping as racing. Whatever it is, it should be something you enjoy, that helps you unwind, and that may even give you what positive psychology calls a sense of “flow.”

    Taking Breaks (Pacing Yourself): If you begin to feel like you are losing perspective during the internship or hating what seems like an endless amount of work, then it may be time to stop for a few minutes and regroup. Do something simple that you find relaxing and enjoyable. Perhaps you can catch a few minutes alone or take a walk. Some people like to have a snack, although you do have to watch that one for obvious reasons. Consider this time as an “earned” break and try to build it into your day.

    Meditation/Contemplative Prayer/Exercise: Considerable research on such calming practices as meditation show that there are easy-to-learn techniques to reduce stress and improve well-being. Building such practices into your daily routine are all good ideas. Finding the one that works best for you and practicing it regularly is one of the best forms of good self-care.

    Staying Connected: It is easy to feel lost when starting something new. Socializing and staying in contact with supportive and helpful people can create feelings of belonging, reduce stress, and increase self-confidence. Talking to other staff members when feeling stressed may help you feel connected, realize that you are not alone, understand these types of feelings as being normal in this line of work. Sharing experiences with your colleagues in the class (if there is one in conjunction with the internship), is an excellent way to find some relief by “sharing the burden.”

    Tools for Chapter 7

    Activity 1: What Would You Do?

    A longtime client has asked you to buy a bottle of soda and a pack of cigarettes for her before you arrive for a home visit. You have formed a good rapport with the client, and you know she would not ask unless she really wanted them. You also know all the stress she is under with her health problems, lack of work, and custody issues. You have even witnessed that a bottle of soda helps with her migraine headaches.

    There are several courses of action you can take:

    • Buy the cola and cigarettes. It is only going to cost you $5, and you know it will calm her for the visit.
    • Empathize with her and politely tell her that the job will not permit you to do so; it is against policy, and you are prohibited from paying for a client’s personal items.
    • Just buy her the cola. You were craving one yourself anyhow, and you know a bottle of cola will help her get rid of the migraine she has and make her more cooperative during the visit.
    • Just plan on telling her you forgot all about it when you arrive at her house. She will have to understand.

    What do you do? Why? Discuss the options with your classmates.

    Activity 2: Matching

    Match the vocabulary word with the scenario that best matches it:

    1. _____ Competence

    2. _____ Style

    3. _____ Burnout

    4. _____ Emotional “heat” shield

    5. _____ Self-care

    A. A co-worker seems to be lacking motivation. She used to come in every day cheerful and ready to start the day. Now she comes into the office a little late and seems like she is ready to go home immediately
    B. You decide to take a moment to yourself and practice meditation or mindfulness, while on your break because you are stressed. You may even plan for a weekend out after your long week.
    C. One of your peers seems to be able to handle most of the issues that come their way and has no trouble asking for help when something is beyond the person’s ability
    D. You have reached a point in your internship where you have found what your strengths and weakness are when it comes to different situations. You even found a metaphor that fits both your strengths and weaknesses.
    E. You have learned that the next client you are to work with is often irritating, annoying, and critical. You do not enjoy dealing with these behaviors, but you know they are part of the job. Instead of taking the client’s complaints home with you, you decide to focus on the good things that happened at the internship that day because they reduce negative feelings.

    Answer Key: 1C, 2D, 3A, 4E, 5B

    This page titled 7: Learning to Be Competent is shared under a not declared license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Christopher J. Mruk & John C. Moor (Bowling Green State University Libraries) .

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