A Student Social Worker's Reflection of the Self and Professional Identity Following the Impact of Hurricane Katrina on New Orleans

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Abstract

This paper examines the professional identity development of a graduate social work student who was on the verge of completing her degree from Tulane University just as Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans. The author discusses how being a victim of the same trauma from which her clients are suffering, as well as experiencing the same emotional impact, affects the development of her role as a social worker. The author draws comparisons to social work students experiencing the terror of the second intifada as they too developed their own senses of professional identity and how their experiences affected the meaning of their profession. The author reflects on her struggle to recapture a sense of personal self once everything she knows is gone, in order to determine under which role she serves her clients as they suffer from the same loss.

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