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Conversation between Sierra Israel and Julie Gerber
How would you define social work?
Social Work is an opportunity to serve others in their journey of discovery and healing. Social work allows one to offer safe space to others and provide compassion to others in pain.
What drew you to the social work profession?
After experiencing a personal health transformation at a young age, I knew I wanted to help others who are struggling and feeling lost and to guide them along a journey of self-love and self-empowerment. I began fully investing myself in personal development (and watching a lot of Oprah…come on, who does not love Oprah?!?).
I catapulted myself into studying the work of leading self-help authors including Eckhart Tolle, Tony Robbins, Louise Hay, Marianne Williamson, and Gabrielle Bernstein, among others. At the same time, I developed a desire to use my personal experience to help others heal from their eating disorder. This led me to pursue professional training in a Masters of Social Work program.
What is your current role?
Through my social work career, I became aware that there was more to healing besides working on one’s thoughts, beliefs and emotions. There was a missing element… spiritual healing. I completed my I am the first and only trained CONSCIOUSNESS COACH™ in Canada. After working in the social work field for 10 years specializing in eating disorders, I pursued my CONSCIOUSNESS COACHING® Certification at The Academy of Soul Empowerment. I now have my own spiritual coaching practice @empoweredsoulcoaching where I offer 1 to 1 coaching to women to help heal their relationship with food and their body so they can have inner freedom.
What is the favourite part of your “job”?
Helping clients make breakthroughs and transformations that allow them to live an empowered life.
What supports are available to you in your workplace/organization?
Throughout my career, my workplace has offered EAP services; however, valuing my own physical and emotional wellbeing, I have sought different sources of support such as energy healers, like-minded individuals, teachers, and peer support networks.
If you could have any superpower, what would it be, and how does it relate to social work?
The ability to heal people’s wounds. Through the years I have witnessed many clients be in a place of pain and I would love to have the power to take away their pain.
What has been one of your biggest learning opportunities in social work practice?
The biggest opportunity is working with a multidisciplinary team and learning new clinical skills beyond my social work education. Learning to appreciate different perspectives from other professionals is also a highlight for me.
How do you practice self-care?
I have a morning ritual which includes meditation, prayer, and a practice of gratitude. I also ensure I’m caring for my spiritual and emotional self on a regular basis.
What advice you can give new social workers entering the field?
Learning to have balance with your personal and professional life is essential to not burning out. Find strategies to leave the emotional work at the office versus taking that home – set clear boundaries, stick to your schedule, learn to be okay with saying no when you know you can’t emotionally take on anything more. Most importantly, take your lunch! I know that sounds simple but taking time away from the office during the day helped me so much.
What is your guiding value and why it is meaningful for you?
My guiding value is authenticity. If I’m not being true to myself, it’s difficult for me to ask others to do the same.
What do you wish the general public knew about social work?
Social workers do have a vast knowledge and education that can allow them to be an important part of your healing journey.
Voices of Social work is committed to highlighting the efforts of Social Workers from all over the world. If you or someone you know would like to be interviewed please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can share your story.
Thank you, Julie, for your time and your leadership in the Social Work profession.