Things have certainly picked up around here. Yesterday I had three one-to-one meetings with survivors or their allies and my coworker also had one as well. I am getting a little more comfortable in these meetings, and have been a lot more aware of not coming across as a friend but instead as an advocate who is trained in these matters. I still think I need to work on a few things. I really need practice initiating the conversation and getting things started — I’ve been just kind of walking in and introducing myself and asking what brought them in. A coworker suggested that after I introduce myself to say something like “I’m just here to listen to what you have to say, so it’s completely up to you what you want to talk about or not talk about, but know that everything you choose to tell me is completely confidential and won’t leave this room.” and then ask what brought them in if they don’t start talking on their own. Also, I’ve noticed that at times I am somewhat intimidated by the people I am talking with and notice myself getting really awkward and sounding like I don’t know what I’m doing. I think it’s important to remind myself that I have gone through intensive training on these subjects and that chances are, I do know more than most of the people I am working with. I need to stop feeling like I have something to prove to the clients
Some things have gone well though! I did my first solo court accompaniment last week for a final protective order hearing. The hearing didn’t go quite like we had anticipated because the defendant didn’t contest the order and it turned more into a hearing to decide who got what stuff from the apartment. But it was nice to know that I was there and the client thanked me for being there and said it meant a lot, so maybe I’m doing something right?
All in all, I feel like I’m still learning what to say and how to say things, but my coworkers have been great at giving me feedback and suggestions, so hopefully things will continue to go pretty smoothly.