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Staff Spotlight: Meet Sam

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Staff Spotlight: Meet Sam

My name is Samantha Joseph, but I typically go by Sam. My job title at the WCA is clinician. As a clinicianSam Joseph, I see community and residential clients for therapy. I just started at the WCA two months ago in July. Prior to joining the WCA, I worked at Terry Reilly as the on-site social worker for New Path Community Housing. I absolutely love being a social worker.

The most rewarding thing I’ve found so far about working at the WCA is that the clients we serve really want to be here. Clients are often risking a lot by showing up here, and they still do it.  They are taking a chance with us in the hopes their lives will change for the better and I feel that is an enormous responsibility and privilege. It is rewarding to have the opportunity to be part of that process alongside my clients.

One of my most memorable moments so far is when a client stood up from her seat and did an elaborate physical demonstration of how she put on her spiritual armor every morning and shared all the ways this ritual is helpful for her. I am often in awe of people’s strength, resilience, and the highly individual and creative ways we deal with and persevere through life’s challenges.

Sam’s thoughts on Resilience

One of my favorite pithy bits of wisdom comes from Helen Keller when she stated, “Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it.” If there is one guarantee in life, it is pain and suffering. Psychological resilience is a counterbalance to pain and suffering. This means that although the magnitude of suffering can be great, we are greater.

One part of overcoming that suffering and increasing our resilience involves finding hope and meaning out of a terrible, traumatic, seemingly meaningless situation. Soon after a difficult event, or when the psychological wound is very early in the healing process and has not yet begun to scab over, this idea can feel impossible or even insulting.

So how do we create meaning out of something that feels so meaningless?

Research supports the idea that one way to increase resilience is through creating a coherent narrative from our lives. When people can make sense of their life story, it no longer feels meaningless. When people begin to tell their story, it starts to make more sense and shared experiences let people see they are not alone. We also realize we don’t want others to go through the same pain, and try to be better.

We are not the terrible things that have happened to us, but we can integrate those things into our lives and become greater for it. That is resilience.

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