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Center Stage: Humiliation, Being Found Out, and the Myth of Supercompetence
Child & Youth Services (2008)
  • Ben Anderson-Nathe, Portland State University

Youth workers operate within a professional climate in which competence is perceived to be linked to a worker's ability to respond quickly and effectively to whatever situations clients may present. Many youth workers perceive their own inability to respond in moments of stuckness as indicative of their own failing and lack of professional skill. They often view their colleagues as more equipped and competent than themselves and fear having their own struggles exposed. This chapter describes the third of five themes associated with youth workers' experiences of not-knowing what to do: humiliation and the fear of being found out. In addition to presenting the dominant theme, this chapter discusses the two variations on the theme, as described by youth worker participants: (a) The worst public humiliation and (b) They'll know I'm a fraud. Implicit in both variations is the weight of youth workers' attempts to measure up to the field's myth of supercompetence in their practice.

  • Social work with youth -- United States,
  • Social service -- Research -- Methodology
Publication Date
September 7, 2008
Publisher Statement
Copyright (2008) Taylor & Francis
Citation Information
Ben Anderson-Nathe. "Center Stage: Humiliation, Being Found Out, and the Myth of Supercompetence" Child & Youth Services Vol. 30 Iss. 1-2 (2008)
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