Alexis Sweeney
Alexis Sweeney
South Africa, 2021
My name is Lexi Sweeney, and I am so excited for this 5 month journey in Cape Town, South Africa! I will be a social work intern at School of Hope, a school for vulnerable youth where I will help facilitate group therapy, individual therapeutic sessions, and social/emotional educational sessions.

Something New

Somehow, just like that, I have one month left in this amazing place.

My original plan for my internship was to work at School of Hope and at a home for women who have aged out of foster care. However, it turned out I was unable to work at the women’s home. At first, I was a little upset because of how passionate I am about transitional care and women empowerment, and how excited I was to learn and grow in that placement. Little did I know how true the saying, “When one door closes, another one opens” really is. Through a lot of trials and much time, while I no longer have a second internship, I have gotten to spend more time working at School of Hope which has been incredible in so many ways. I have also started working with the Roxy Davis Foundation doing ocean based therapy and surf therapy research.

Experiential therapy is something I am very passionate about, and wow oh wow how wonderful it is to be learning new modes of experiential therapy. The surf therapy we provide uses programmes and practices from ocean based therapy research in order to provide meaningful, dynamic intervention for individuals with disabilities. I absolutely love the way surf therapy is being executed around the world, and being a part of such an incredible organization that provides surf therapy has created this drive in me that I didn’t know existed.

 

Until I moved here, I had never surfed in my life. After just one group lesson, I fell in love with surfing, and it quickly became one of my constant stress relievers and joy curators. So when I heard about surf therapy, I instantly got excited. Little did I know that this excitement to get involved with experiential therapy would open up a deep passion I have yet to explore. 

Honestly, I don’t know if I could even explain it. It’s the feeling I get when I see our surfers fall (literally and metaphorically) over and over again, yet get back up by leaning on others for help, every single time. It’s the feeling I get when I see the families of our surfers celebrate their loved one and their growth. It’s the feeling I get when I watch our surfers grow, gain more confidence, and talk more deeply about their feelings and experiences each week. It’s a feeling I cannot explain. A feeling in which I know I am doing what I am meant to do. A feeling where I have realized that I have finally found the intersection of my talents/ abilities, what I enjoy doing, and being of service to others. 

I could talk about the benefits of ocean based therapy and experiential therapy for days, and I could give you a step by step of everything we do each week. However, what this blog post is really about is how when one door closes, another truly does open, even when you least expect it to. Seeing the intersection of my talents/ abilities, what I enjoy doing, and being of service to others come to life has been absolutely incredible. So even when we think we have a plan of what will be the best for ourselves and our future, somehow, someway, we will find ourselves walking down a path, not that we consciously chose to walk down, but that was meant for us to walk down.

 

Love Always,

Lexi Sweeney

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