Posted by: Beverly Davidson, LMSW | April 13, 2009

What we do matters

So here’s a little hope and joy I’d like to share.  I always wonder if what I do as a practitioner really matters, most days, in fact, I wonder about this.  But last week I was reminded that indeed what we do does matter, which gave me recharged my battery a bit.  I have been working with this woman and her now toddler for 2 1/2 years, since her child was born.  On paper, there was no way this mom would have been able to create a safe haven for herself and her child, given her long history of substance abuse, homelessness, and mental health problems.  When I got this case after her baby was born, I must admit I didn’t have much hope.  And now I must admit I was wrong.  This woman has remained clean and sober, has a nice home, and her child has grown into a delightful and insightful preschooler.  They have a warm and loving relationship and are looking forward to the years ahead.  She had a myriad of services in the beginning to help her stay clean, but the program who has been with her since the beginning has been the one in which I work.  I have worked with her 1-2 times per month for almost 3 years.  We were reflecting on the last 2 1/2 years and I was marveling on how great of a parent she has become, how wonderful her daughter is.  I asked her what she thought made the difference, what has helped her the most.  She commented that “even though you guys don’t really do that much when you visit, you are always here, I can count  on you being here.  I have someone to talk to.  I feel safer knowing you are in my life.”  I almost cried when she said that.  I thought “wow, that sounds just like what every kid needs, someone they can count on, a parent who can make them feel loved, who can make them feel safe.”  This woman lost her mother many many years ago, which was one of the major events leading to her downward spiral.  My intent in working with her was to create a safe place for her, to be her “warm blanket” in which she could feel contained and loved.  I had no idea that I was doing just that until she said it outloud.  My comment to her was how , really, she did all the hard work, I was here to “be” with her on her journey, to witness her pain, sorrow, joy and love.  I can say that my experience with her has taught me, once again, that being predictable, consistent, empathic and kind is sometimes just what someone needs to heal and grow.  She gave me hope that day that what we do really does matter.



  1. You just made me cry.
    I remember that feeling, even if I am not that woman. We can’t ever thank you enough for sharing our journey.
    So glad I found this : )

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