Amy’s Life in Brief


You lost me at shaman….
March 13, 2010, 12:50 pm
Filed under: MSW, social work, social work ethics, social work practice | Tags: , , ,

So, I went to a social work conference yesterday. Those of you who have gone to conferences, social work or otherwise, realize that it’s a bit of a grab bag as far as speakers. You get some good ones, some mediocre ones, some great ones and then some others. The frustrating thing, also, is that the titles and class descriptions often to match the actual class content.

So, I signed up for a class that I thought would be about vicarious traumatization…you know, how to recognize it and what to do about it when you experience. I guess it was sort of about those things but the world view of the speaker was decidedly new age.

There were pieces that were definitely helpful. She talked about yoga and breathing techniques as well as some good visualization techniques. The aromatherapy piece was helpful. All of those things I felt would be helpful to me and useful interventions for clients. I guess it’s probably not likely I could use aromatherapy in the hospital setting, but for myself I could see it being somewhat useful.

But, then she started talking about crystals and stones. And I really don’t want to offend any of my 6 readers who make place some sort of value on crystals and stones. I really don’t, but I may end up. I am trying to keep an open mind about this….really I am.

She talked about smoky quartz as a stone that could absorb negative energy, as well as rose quartz. There were others she mentioned as well…hematite was one, I think. But, she lost me when a person asked the question about clearing these crystals of their negative energy and she said, “Well, magnetite is a good stone for clearing negative energy but I recommend using it only under the guidance of a shaman.”

That’s when the opening doors in my mind started to swing shut. My first thought was, “Did she really say get the guidance of a shaman?” My second thought was, “Where in the hell would I find a shaman?”

I see the value of crystals and stones, in the sense that holding something that is smooth and pleasant and cool can be relaxing. It could distract someone from the pain and discomfort they are feeling. But, I just can’t make that mental leap that the stone itself could draw negative energy from a client or a patient.

Anyway…I hope I haven’t offended any of you New Age folks…I just don’t get it…

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11 Comments so far
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I think I might have snorted audibly at some point – I am very sceptical by nature.. I suspect you are more open-minded about these things than I am because I just found it made me giggle as I read it!

Comment by cb

I’m actually rather good at suppressing my urges to laugh or snort…plus my co-worker who rode with me to the conference is very much into the New Age stuff…Like I said, I can see how sniffy pleasant aromas would be relaxing, as well as deep breathing and the like. I can even see how it can be pleasant to hold a smooth, pretty stone. But, to believe a stone can “soak up” negative energy…and that if you let one client hold the stone and then another client picks it up before it’s been “cleared” that the 2nd client will pick up on negative energy??? That was just too much for me…and the shaman thing put me over the edge!

Comment by oregonamy1972

Years ago I was friendly with a woman who burned sage after her troublesome relations visited her house to clear the house of “negative energy” When that friendship dissipated Jim reminded me of that and said he knew it couldn’t last for that reason alone!

Comment by Kia

I suppose you could say that I grew up in a new age – or at least alternative – household. I could link you up with a Shaman. How weird is that!?

All of the stuff you’ve mentioned is nothing new to me… the calming effect of holding the crystal is probably the safest way to introduce it to someone you are working with, but maybe it’s calming because it’s working with negative energies? I don’t claim to understand it all – or have the desire to learn more… just another tool in the box, right?

Comment by jen

I would have been lost at the aromatherapy, to be honest.

Oh, but fun fact to share: I saw a psychic (in my youth!) who said that I would grow up to be a shaman. So you know at least one guy who maybe SHOULD have been a shaman. šŸ˜‰

Comment by antiSWer

For me it doesn’t take a huge mental leap to think that smelling a pleasant smell could be relaxing to a person, or looking at pretty stone that feels nice and smooth in your hand could be relaxing….I just don’t know if I can go so far as having to do anything like clear a stone from negative vibrations…I just can’t make that leap.

Comment by oregonamy1972

There is a lot of rose quartz laying around on the ground in my area. I like to pick up pieces to enjoy their beauty. But personally, I would get a lot better vibes if they were diamonds.

Comment by adobe

you’ve got to wonder just how realistic an intervention this is going to be for your patient/client anyway. personally, unless the client brought up to me that they were interested in this kind of healing, i likely wouldn’t go there.
i can just see this mystic stuff feeding into all kinds of delusions too…!

Comment by Christine Nectarine

OH MY GOSH. You and I have been going to the same social work conferences all these years and I never knew. I though it was just the ones I went to that could never match up titles and content and… But I need those Category A credits so badly now that I am not going to school!

Comment by Carolyn

I have to go rub my black crystal, dubbed “evil” (seriously) several years ago by a woman when I was serving her her dinner of a club sandwich and iced tea. I had it around my neck. I’ll get back to you with an enlightened response once I consult and channel its nefarious essence.

Comment by Reas

Just came back from this year’s conference. Would it have killed them to put gerontology in the description? I mean, really! It was about working with patients “at risk”. No, we are not talking sex and drugs and rock and roll. We are talking about falling after a stroke. WTF!

Comment by Carolyn




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