Sambra Zaoui

Sambra Zaoui, MSW



MSW Barry University, 2001
BSW Florida International University, 1996

Areas of Interest

Her interest lies with the human trafficking population, and is working with The Life Of Freedom which is based in Coral Gables, Florida as a practitioner, mentor and educator. She is also a trained outreach worker to trafficked victims who are still in the life, and a faith-based counselor to women. Her concentration continues to be women's issues, more specifically trauma-based issues


Sambra joined Barry University’s School of Social Work in the fall of 2009. She teaches Social Work Practice I, II & III, for both the MSW and BSW program, as well as HBSE I, Social Work Practice with Women, Social Work Practice with Addictions, Advanced Practice with Individuals and Families, and The Helping course. Along with her teaching schedule, she is also an academic advisor to the BSW students, and mentor to MSW students.

Her early work focused on advocating and serving families in the process of recovery by being a social work liaison to the families in the court system. As she moved away from the court system, and concentrated her energy on developing her clinical work, her interests shifted to family reunification, family therapy, as well as multi-generational family support groups.

In 1998 she joined the team of El Centro De Libertad, in Redwood City, California, where she served as a clinical therapist/ group leader to women and men who were on their third strike due to substance misuse. She also led the Latino Outreach Program. In 2001, she began working in New York City with New Alternatives for Children, who pioneered their first outpatient substance misuse program in Bronx, New York. Mrs. Zaoui participated in the pioneering evolution of the program by being one of the two social work practitioners selected to work with this population. While in NYC she developed her own private practice which focused on women's issues, most specifically, survivors of sexual abuse and incest; and served as a faith-based counselor to women at Times Square Church.

Although her clinical work fascinated her, she was interested in using her professional experience to educate future social workers. After 15 years in the social work profession, Mrs. Zaoui had seen the best and the worst of her profession: she wanted first hand to be part of the academic process which educates those in her chosen career.

Teaching Philosophy

Professor Zaoui engages students from a strengths based framework: "students come with rich life experiences and intrinsic motivation to learn; I strongly believe that my job entails helping the student develop confidence and competence in themselves by exposing them to knowledge and up to date research. Students will undoubtedly feel empowered and prepared." Professor Zaoui strives to create a safe learning environment where students are encouraged to engage in critical thinking where they can openly share their opinions and reflections. Her teaching methodology includes modeling skills in the classroom that mirror those in a session. She is very cognizant of the many diverse learning styles that students present with; and as such, attempts to create a learning environment that meets the individual and corporate needs of the student. She facilitates her courses by engaging in experiential activities, lectures, inviting guest speakers and creating curriculum congruent field trips. Her style is organized and purposeful, " I know which concepts are most essential that students need to understand; I highlight that which undoubtedly will develop them into competent, effective social workers."

Community Engagement 2014-2015

  • Researching trauma bonds created during childhood sexual abuse and its relationship to further sexual exploitative relationships as adults
  • Developing a manual/course on the impact of sexual violence and abuse during childhood for inmates in the prison system
  • Moderated a dialogue for F.E.M.A.L.E.S. a women’s empowerment group on campus to discuss intimate partner boundaries and violence
  • Trauma Informed Practice. Department of Children & Families District XI Leadership Academy 2014-2015
  • The 11th Annual Turn on the Light Conference on Child Abuse: Systemic Overview of Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children
  • The Peace Conference @ Barry University: Systemic Overview of Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children
  • Celebrating Heroes and Sheroes(an event dedicated to raising awareness and funds for D.V. victims and Human Trafficking)
  • Training at Agape Women’s Rehabilitation Center: The Neurobiology of women and Trauma with a special focus on childhood survivors of sexual abuse and human trafficking
  • I conduct a women’s healing group in the community of Miami Beach Crossing the Jordan: Where Women Heal a women’s survivor group
  • A panelist at Deliberative Dialogue, Human Trafficking at Barry University
  • Human Trafficking Awareness Event: screening the movie Tricked at Barry University as well as providing an expert panel (2015)
Extended CV

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