I’m a white settler, transgender person and was part of Calgary’s Clinical Social Work Practice MSW specializing in mental health and addictions. I completed my practicum at the Addiction Centre through Alberta Health Services, based out of Foothills Hospital in Calgary.
During my time at the Addiction Centre, I was afforded the opportunity to work with folx* with a concurrent disorder. I was able to offer individual therapy to clients and was able to advance my group skills by co-facilitating the Centre’s mindfulness group.
In addition to my therapeutic clinical work with clients, I was also able to present to the staff on working with transgender clients in a clinical setting. When I began reflecting on my learning goals and areas of passion for my practicum, I came with a clear picture of things I wanted to focus on, while also maintaining a heart willing to see the different possibilities the practicum had to offer. I was afforded the wonderful opportunity to work with my supervisor, Jennifer Wushke, as well as the whole team at the Centre. They encouraged me to pursue working on my passion of supporting transgender and gender-diverse clients who are struggling with substance use and their mental health, while also supporting me to see who I was becoming as a clinician.
My practicum afforded me the ability to develop and maintain a level of confidence in myself as a clinician that I struggled with in the past. Now, I am walking away from this program with a keen ability to know that, while I am a lifelong learner, I also have the capacity and skills to support my clients in my new work. Overall, my practicum exceeded the biggest hopes I had for this experience.
I want to take a moment to thank the Addiction Centre deeply, and in particular Jenn for continuing to offer your knowledge and wisdom to the next generation of social workers.
Sawyer Johnson (they/them) BSW’18, MSW’23, RSW
Living in Blackfoot-Treaty 7 territory (Calgary)
*A way of writing "folks" (= people) that emphasizes the fact that you intend the word to include all groups of people including those with non-binary gender identities.