Jennifer L. Williams, LCSW
Jennifer Williams is the Undergraduate Program Director, as well as a PhD student in the School of Social Work. Her practice interests include holistic approaches to stress management and wellness, anxiety, depression, and trauma. She combines complementary modalities that rely upon the connections between the body, mind and spirit. Ms. Williams has been practicing mindfulness for many years, and having seen the benefits in her personal and professional practice, began to implement mindfulness techniques into her classes a few years ago. Seeing how essential this practice is in the training of social workers, combined with the increase in empirical support for the efficacy of mindfulness, Ms. Williams worked to fill the gap that exists between the positive attitudes towards mindfulness and lack of knowledge of technique or implementation into clinical social work practice. Through her research, she began to notice how technological advances over the past decade have significantly affected social and behavioral science. This led Ms. Williams to further research and training in the area of neuroscience and psychotherapy. She co-developed with Dr. David Feldman, Associate Professor in the department of psychology, a multi-disciplinary course titled, “Mind Body Connection: The Neurobiology of Clinical Practice”. In spring 2015, Ms. Williams taught this second year graduate elective that explored the multidimensional relationships between neuroscience, bio-psychosocial-spiritual functioning and traditional psychotherapy. In addition, she has taught numerous workshops on Neuroscience and Psychotherapy at both state and local conferences, including co-presenting with Dr. Feldman, “Epigenetics, Neuroplasticity, and Mental Health Care” at Barry University’s 2014 mini-conference, “The Promise and Peril of Personalized Medicine”. Ms. Williams is currently enrolled in the PhD program and intends on researching social work faculty knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs toward complementary and alternative medicine. She continues to offer meditation workshops each semester, sponsored by Barry University’s Wellness Initiative Network (WIN). Other recent additional work includes:
- In April, 2015, was invited by the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, South Florida chapter, to present “The Mind-Body: The Connection and Wellness” to cancer patients, friends, and families. Participants were taught how to utilize mindfulness and meditation as a new way of coping with cancer in their family.
- In fall 2014, she also co-presented with Dr. Joanne Whelley, associate professor in the school of social work, a paper presentation titled, “CAM: Critical component in advancing 21st century social work education” at the Council on Social Work Education’s 2014th Annual Program Meeting, in Tampa, Florida.
- In March, 2015, Ms. Williams co-presented with Dr. Jill Levenson, associate professor in the school of social work, and Dr. Feldman a paper presentation titled, “Adverse childhood experiences, criminality, and trauma-informed practices” at the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences Annual Meeting in Orlando, Florida.
Edmon Tucker, JD, MSW, PhD, LCSW
Dr. Edmon Tucker is an Assistant Professor at Barry University School of Social Work. He received his B.A. at Emory University; his J.D. at Southern Methodist University, where he was Leading Articles Editor for the SMU Law Review; and his M.S.W. and Ph.D. from Florida International University, where he received the Outstanding Graduate Scholar Award. Dr. Tucker has several years of social work practice experience, primarily in community behavioral health, and his work with individuals, groups, and families dealing with trauma, mental illness, and addiction informs his teaching, service, and scholarship.
Dr. Tucker’s research and community service includes LGBTQ social disparities, direct and indirect trauma, therapeutic jurisprudence, mindfulness practices, and community behavioral health. He is also a licensed clinical social worker in the state of Florida.
Over the past year, Dr. Tucker concluded a three-year program evaluation of Henderson Student Counseling Services. This was a comprehensive process and outcome evaluation. Dr. Tucker is preparing a manuscript for publication entitled, “Outsourcing College Counseling Services: Program Formation, Implementation, and Evaluation.”
Dr. Tucker is committed to social justice and to helping make Barry University an inclusive community. Toward these ends, he helped facilitate bringing TransCon to Barry. This annual conference provides valuable information and opportunities for support to transgender individuals, who are often misunderstood and routinely subjected to discrimination, hatred, and violence. For the past two years, the School of Social Work has co-sponsored TransCon and Dr. Tucker has served as co-coordinator.
For the third consecutive year, Dr. Tucker served as field educator for the legal clinics practicum at the University Of Miami Law School. This continues to be an exciting collaboration between the two schools. The social work students work closely with the law students and supervising attorneys who work in the Immigration Law Clinic and the Children and Youth Law Clinic. The Barry social work students provide case management and therapeutic services to the clients served by those clinics. Dr. Tucker provides clinical supervision and, with his background in law, is also able to help the students navigate the legal professional environment. In addition, Dr. Tucker’s interest include incorporating mindfulness into her services. Dr. Tucker has practiced mindfulness for many years. He incorporates this practice into his teaching, service, and scholarship.
Collaborative Work: Mindfulness-based practices in Social Work
Ms. Williams and Dr. Tucker developed and delivered the first Post-Master’s Certificate in Mindfulness Therapeutic Practice, an experiential, 4-day program that focuses on integrating mindfulness into clinical work with clients. This certificate program is offered by the School of Social Work every semester.
In summer, 2014, Ms. Williams presented with PhD colleague, Ms. Dunja Pacirski, and Dr. Ed Tucker, assistant professor in the school of social work, at the National Association of Social Worker’s Florida 2014 state conference a workshop titled, “Creative Mindfulness: Where East Meets West- Integrating Mindfulness into Personal and Professional Practice”.
In fall of 2014, Ms. Williams and Dr. Tucker presented to members of the DCF Leadership Academy on “Promoting Self-Regulation and Wellness”, which addressed resiliency and wellness strengthening through mindfulness. In addition, Dr. Tucker and Ms. Williams also began researching mindfulness practices with high school students and currently serve as consultants for an organization in Palm Beach County that utilizes yoga as a health and wellness program in high schools. In October, 2015, Dr. Tucker and Ms. Williams will co-present, “Mindfulness and the Implicit Curriculum; Teaching Strategies for Self-Care” at the Council on Social Work Education’s Annual Program Meeting in Denver, Colorado.
Jameson M. Mercier, LCSW
Barry University School of Social Work
Jameson Mercier is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Life Coach. He was born and raised in Haiti and at the age of seven moved to South Florida. He earned his bachelor’s degree from USF and master’s degree in Clinical Social Work from Barry University. Presently, Jameson is completing his doctorate degree in Marriage and Family Therapy at Nova Southeastern University.
Jameson has worked with many different populations in different settings including public school systems, mental health agencies, churches, and hospitals. He is in private practice in Plantation working with individuals and families, and specializing in couples and marriage counseling.
Recently, Jameson was on The Rick Party Show on Hot105 to join a panel discussion on domestic violence. According to recent statistics, 1 in 3 women between the ages of 18 -25 will be involved in an abusive relationship. Jameson advised the listeners of the show to examine their relationships and determine if they are in a safe and healthy relationship. “Abuse is not only physical. It can be emotional/psychological, financial, and medical,” says Jameson.
Connect with him on Facebook at “The Haitian Therapist” and on Twitter @HaitianTherapy. You can also contact him at www.thehaitiantherapist.com
Jameson M. Mercier, LCSW
Barry University School of Social Work
11300 NE 2nd Ave.
Miami Shores, FL 33161
Dr. Mitch Rosenwald
Dr. Mitch Rosenwald started the second of his two-year term as President of the National Association of Social Workers-Florida. This year, he will chair the inaugural meeting of the NASW-FL sponsored Social Work Consortium which is a collaborative project between NASW-FL, state agencies, state-subcontractors, schools/ departments of social work and social work organizations. The Social Work Consortium’s purpose is to further professionalize Florida’s service delivery in health, mental health and social services by increasing the employment of social workers in this endeavor. Dr. Rosenwald presented the concept with other NASW-FL colleagues at the Governor’s Cabinet on Children and Youth in Jacksonville, FL in June.
Other advocacy efforts on behalf of NASW-FL and the social workers throughout the state included Dr. Rosenwald testifying on the importance of professionalization of Department of Children and Families at a Senate Committee public hearing, and along with colleagues, speaking with state Senator Eleanor Sobel, Chair of the Senate Committee on Children, Families and Elders on the same issue.
Outside of his NASW-FL involvement, Dr. Rosenwald and his colleague Dr. Shine in the School of Education, have completed the planning year of a U. S. Department of Health and Human Services’ grant evaluation subcontract through Kids in Distress. The evaluation protocol establishes, implements and assesses a randomized control trial to determine the efficacy of housing vouchers and wraparound services on reducing child maltreatment, increasing housing stability, increasing employment and increasing cost avoidance among families in Broward County. Data collection of those in the treatment and control groups begins in November 2013.
Dr. Rosenwald published two articles in 2013. The citations are:
- Rosenwald, M., Smith, M., Bagnoli, M., Riccelli, D., Ryan, S., Salcedo, L. & Seeland, D. (2013). Relighting the campfire: Rediscovering activity-based group work. Social Work with Groups, 36(2), 321-331
- Rosenwald, M., McGhee, T., & Noftall, R. (2013). Perspectives on Independent Living Services among resilient youth. Journal of Family Social Work, 16(2), 148-163.
He presented on: service learning at the Baccalaureate Program Directors Conference in Myrtle Beach, SC; publishing at NASW-FL’s state conference in Orlando, and intergroup dialogues at Barry University’s mini-conference. He received Barry University’s Sister Jeanne O’Laughlin, OP, Scholar of the Year Award in May 2013.Finally, in the direct practice arena, Dr. Rosenwald founded an aftercare group at the Broward Partnership for the Homeless shelter in April. The group’s purpose is to provide support to formerly homeless individuals to reduce homelessness recidivism. School of Social Work students Najla Costa and Elimay Robinson graciously volunteered to be group co-facilitators.
Dr. Joanne Whelley
Associate Professor of Social Work, Dr. Phyllis Black, PhD, ACSW, LSW, Marywood University, Center Valley, PA and Andrea Mease MSW Student, Marywood University, Center Valley, PA presented papers on Social Work Students Come with Baggage: Past and Present Psychosocial Trauma at the CSWE 58th Annual Program Meetings (APM): Social Work: A Capital Venture held in Washington DC, November 9 – 12, 2012.
A study of MSW students revealed a high prevalence (81%) of self-reported early psychosocial trauma which exceeds the U.S. population estimate of 35%. Most commonly reported adverse events were child abuse, parental substance abuse and chronic physical/mental illness. A somewhat lower incidence, (64%) of post childhood psychosocial distress was also reported, most prevalent of which was mental illness (32%) compared to 20% estimate in the general population1. Less than half of the respondents (47%) sought professional help to address their traumatic experience. Most students (84%) indicated that their personal traumatic history inclined them to a career in social work. The prevalence of past and present psychosocial trauma among social work students raises questions about the future of the professional workforce. Will tomorrow's social workers be resilient, competent practitioners with the capacity for enhanced empathy and ability to connect with clients? Or will their distressed backgrounds and current mental health challenges render them "wounded healers" who have entered the field for self-reparation, and who will be vulnerable to countertransference issues and vicarious traumatization? Social Work educators can take steps that may tilt the balance in the direction of promoting effective practitioners. Three educational strategies, in combination, are recommended:
- Admission policies that assess applicant suitability for the profession.
- Curricular approaches to promote self-awareness and coping approaches to address the student’s background and current psychological status in relation to professional performance.
- A vigilant advisement program, with early detection of student personal issues and provision of support and referral counseling resources.
A history of childhood psychosocial trauma has been indentified as predisposing to the selection of a career in mental health (Elliot & Guy, 1993; Frank & Paris, 1987; Murphy & Halgin, 1995; ). Studies have documented a comparable association with respect to social work (Biggerstaff, 2000; Black, Jeffreys & Hartley, 1993; Sellers & Hunter, 2005). Psychosocial distress in childhood encompasses a spectrum of adverse events such as physical, emotional or sexual abuse, neglect, death of a parent, and/or chronic physical/mental disability, including parental substance abuse (Bernstein & Fink, 2001; Black et al., 1993). The prevalence of a distressed childhood among BSW and MSW students has been reported, ranging from 44 – 80% (Black et al. 1993; Gill, Coyne & Woody, 1993; Lackie, 1983; Rompf & Royse, 1994), higher than in other disciplines (Black et al., 1993; Russel et al. 1993).
Adverse consequences of childhood distress have been reported as being inevitable and enduring Bogar & Hulse-Killacky, 2006; Felitti et al. 1998). Mental health professionals with an antecedent history of childhood trauma have been labeled as “prisoners of childhood” (Miller, 1981) and “wounded healer” (Maeder, 1989). In social work, Lackie, (1982), speculated that students with a background of psychosocial trauma may be attracted to the profession for “self-reparation”. With the emergence of the phenomenon of resilience, the expectation of inevitable negative outcomes has been challenged (Walsh, 2006).
Resiliency describes the capability of children to overcome adversity and become functional adults. Traumatic childhood events may be mitigated by resiliency capacities optimized by internal and external protective factors, such as intrapersonal strengths (e.g., self-efficacy and high self-regard) and external supports (Benzies & Mychasiuk, 2009; Bogar & Julse-Killacky, 2006). Distressed childhood experience has been described as having the potential for a bimodal outcome for social work practitioners (Hooper, Marotta and Lanthier, 2007), implying that the experience may ultimately have either a deleterious effect or promote competency (Tompkins, 2007). A background of early trauma may render the practitioner empathic (Guy, 1987), or, failure to resolve a problematic childhood may result in countertranference biases that may be harmful to the therapeutic process (Maeder, 1989).
Despite anecdotal observations by social work faculty suggesting an increased history of childhood trauma among social work students, attention to its prevalence has been limited. However, there is a lack of data regarding the psychological functioning of current social work students.The purpose of the present investigation was to assess the prevalence of a history of psychosocial trauma among social work students. Additionally, recent psychological trauma and mental health status of MSW students were addressed.
An anonymous, voluntary, written survey was distributed to MSW (N=626) students at two schools of social work. The self-report survey incorporated three components:
- Demographic and academic information.
- A variant of the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire: A Retrospective Self Report (CTQ) (Bernstein & Fink, 2001), with additional traumatic events.
- A variant of the Trauma Symptom Checklist TSC 33 (Briere & Runtz, 2010), with the addition of items concerning substance abuse and mental health diagnosis.
Study findings (N=204 respondents) support a high prevalence of childhood (under 18) history of psychosocial trauma among MSW students (79%), compared with U.S. population (35%) (National Children’s Alliance, 2011). Emotional, sexual and physical abuse, and parental mental illness and alcohol abuse, were the leading adverse events. A supportive childhood relationship, that may mitigate early trauma sequelae, was reported by 75% of the students. Seventy-one percent indicated recent (within past 5 years) psychosocial trauma notably, emotional and physical abuse and physical illness. By comparison with U.S. prevalence of 26% (NIMH, 2011), 29% of the sample self-identified as having a mental health diagnosis, depression being the most common. Help-seeking behavior to address psychosocial trauma was reported by 47% of the respondents. A significant correlation was documented between help-seeking behavior and absence of a current mental health diagnosis. In common with previous research, 65% of the students were inclined by past or recent adverse experience to pursue a career in social work.
Given the high prevalence of a history of past and recent psychosocial trauma and current mental health issues, it social work programs need to:
- Implement admission policies that ensure the suitability of applicants for the profession.
- Infuse curricular approaches that promote student awareness of the potential impact of psychosocial background and current psychological status on professional performance. Attention to self-reflection, self-awareness and coping mechanisms may facilitate this goal.
- Develop a comprehensive advisement program, with vigilant attention to early detection of student personal issues and provision of referral treatment resources.
- Focus Area: Social Work Curriculum and Pedagogy
- Overview: This study of MSW students from two social work programs revealed a high prevalence of a history of self-reported past and recent psychosocial trauma, and current mental health issues, which, in turn, predisposed students to select a social work career. Findings have implications for admissions’ policy and curriculum attention.
Dr. Joanne Whelley, Associate Professor of Social Work and Dr. Phyllis Black
PhD, ACSW, LSW, Marywood University, Center Valley, PA, both presented a paper on Gatekeeping and the Risk to Professional Capital: The Elephant in the Room at the CSWE 58th Annual Program Meetings (APM): Social Work: A Capital Venture held in Washington DC, November 9 – 12, 2012.
Gatekeeping in professional social work education is challenged by current environmental contexts that pressure graduate programs to relax admissions standards and retain enrolled students. Ceding to these negatively impacts social work’s capital among professionals and may challenge the obligation to protect clients. The dilemma maintaining ethical and program integrity within this environmental context is discussed.
Gatekeeping is a fundamental responsibility of social work education, ensuring continuation of a high level of competence in the profession (Cole & Lewis, 1993; Koerin & Miller, 1995; Moore & Unwin, 1990). General agreement exists on the elements endemic to gate keeping; behaviors viewed as unsuitable for professional social work practice; and perceptions of gatekeeping as an ethical issue (Black & Gumpert, 2005; Whelley & Black, 1996).
Ethical concerns about the seeming inability to effectively gatekeep have been a long standing concern (Reamer, 1999; Gibbs, & Macy, 2000; Sowbel, 2008). The question of whether social work education is fulfilling “its obligation to protect clients” was first raised over 25 years ago and is still being asked today (Born & Carroll, 1988; Gelman, Pollack & Auerback, 1996, Sowbel, 2011, p. 368.) A recent study found self-reported levels of past and recent trauma and current mental health concerns in over 75% of current MSW students (Black, Whelley & Mease , 2012).
Of emerging concern is the preservation of gatekeeping standards in light of challenging environmental contexts including an increasingly litigious society, consumer orientation of students, entrepreneurial university cultures, achieving student diversity and access, enrollment management and physical safety issues. The proliferation of CSWE accredited programs makes qualified student applicants a scarce commodity (Karger & Stoesz, 2003). This supply and demand scenario is extended as students increasingly approach their professional education from a consumer point of view (Kirk, Kil & Corcoran 2009; Kindle & Colby, 2008).
These trends. coupled with rising tuitions among private schools and state school admissions hamstrung by budget cuts, marks enrollment management as an ever-increasing dilemma. Economic forces require enrollment increases to maintain programmatic status quo. These forces may place pressure upon programs to relax admissions standards in order to maintain enrollment, even though there is longstanding concurrence that the critical gate keeping function should occur at the point of entry to professional education through the admission process (Miller & Koerin, 1998). The need to maintain and increase enrollment has generated an entrepreneurial response from Universities to admissions policies, with increased attention to retention of enrolled students. Despite the introduction of competency based measures, grade inflation continues to fuel this developmentand hamper (Sowbel, 2011; Rapp-Paglicci, Allen, Cabness, & Ersing, 2006; Ryan, McCormick, & Cleak, 2006).
These are seemingly intractable issues and may be, for the most part, out of social work educators’ control. However, social work education must find a way to maintain ethical integrity while concurrently mitigating risks resulting from gatekeeping efforts. Ceding to environment pressures may negatively impact the professional capital of social work within the community.
This dilemma prompts questions for consideration by the academy of social work educators:
- Can we formulate strategies to successfully navigate current contexts thereby preserving and promoting the professional capital of social work education?
- Does an ethical obligation prompt social work education to rethink its historic, intrinsic belief in the capacity of human beings for growth and change, especially in regard to students?
- Should gatekeeping be reframed as a moral issue? Not taking a step to redirect a person who is unsuited to social work does a disservice to that individual, as to her/his future clients to her/his classmates, the program and the profession as a whole.
- Is it incumbent upon social work program to put programs into effect for students who are admitted with remediation needs?
- Can competency assessment be utilized as a gatekeeping function?
- How can we support termination efforts by faculty and field instructors in the face of retention demands and increased litigation?
- How can social work educators move this discussion forward to recommendations for enrollment and retention?
Dr. Walter Pierce
Associate Professor of Social work, presented a paper on Mother Hunt at the CSWE 58th Annual Program Meetings (APM): Social Work: A Capital Venture held in Washington DC, November 9 – 12, 2012. In 1936, after a brief illness, Mrs. Sarah Hunt of Daytona Beach, Florida died leaving a legacy that continues through the present. Coming to Daytona in the early 1900s, Mrs. Hunt initially began as a caretaker for elderly African Americans, but in 1924, founded the Florida East Coast Orphanage (FECO) known locally as “Mother Hunt’s Orphanage.” It was formally taken over by the United Methodist Church in the late 1960’s, but for almost forty years, it existed as the only state licensed group living facility in the state of Florida for dependent African-American children. This historical analysis utilizing archival and historical resources will explore the themes related to Mother Hunt’s Orphanage. The first theme involves its ties to the Daytona Beach black community and the determination to maintain the orphanage after Mrs. Hunt’s death. The second theme was the work of state and national social workers to encourage the United Methodist Church to absorb the facility into its programs of hospitals and homes. Finally, the issue of church and societal integration created tensions that made for a fascinating narrative.
“Mother Hunt,” as she was known, chartered the orphanage in 1924 with a board of directors made up of influential whites and African Americans from the Daytona community (Daytona Beach Morning News Journal, December 23, 1936, p.1, col. 8). The home which had some 29 children in residence according to the 15th U.S. Census (1930) came to the attention of the State Welfare Board around 1929 when it was listed as one of only five orphanages for “colored” children in the state (Lundberg, 1934, Rodriguez, 1936). Throughout the 1930s the FECO was licensed although in some years its license was held up pending further studies by state staff (Minutes of the Board of Public Welfare, April 11, 1930; Minutes of the Board of Public Welfare, July 17, 1931). Though it only met very minimal standards, the Florida East Coast Orphanage (FECO) served children from the area, as well as children from other communities around the state and became a cause célèbre for the Florida Department of Public Welfare child welfare staff.
The orphanage’s struggle for resources was pursued by an active group of local residents led by Mrs. Daisy Stocking, community activist and wife of a local black physician (Daytona Beach Morning Journal, January 16, 1948. Daytona Beach’s African American community benefitted in its social and cultural atmosphere from the fact that it was the home of Bethune-Cookman College, whose president, Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune was nationally acknowledged as a leader in education, civil rights and political rights (Holt, 1964). However, the entire community, including a racially moderate white population, joined in supporting the orphanage during its difficult days.
Beginning in the late 1950’s the state child welfare staff contacted the Methodist Board of Hospitals and Homes in Chicago about the availability of Kendall Funds to support the orphanage’s operations (http://gbgm-umc.org/health/kendall.cfm) Although located only 40 miles away in the same county, the United Methodist Church’s Children’s Home, a facility for white children only, had a regular source of funds and a lake-front campus with neat and well maintained cottages (Letter from Mrs. Anne Batte, Chairman of the Florida Conference Commission of Christian Concerns, April 17, 1965; Hartsfield, 2008). The Methodist Church, though having united its northern and southern branches continued to segregate the black congregations through what was known as the “Central Jurisdiction” (Thomas, 1992). The Board of the Children’s Home initially saw an opportunity to assist in the care of African American children, while delaying the integration of their facility, by agreeing to a sharing of resources and the appointment of a black clergyman as the superintendent of the Mother Hunt’s Orphanage (Daytona Beach Morning Journal, March 31, 1965). The Daytona Beach African American community saw the potential loss of a community institution that members had sacrificed to see continue in existence through the years (Minutes of the Board, Sarah Hunt Methodist Children’s Home, November 30, 1966).
The analysis will utilize correspondence and historical resources available through the Florida State Archives, the Archives of the United Methodist Children’s Homes and Microfilm of the records of the Child Welfare Division of the Florida State Department of Public Welfare, as well as articles and books on the history of the Daytona Beach, Florida community, child welfare services during the mid-20th century, and the history of the United Methodist Church. The study is timely to illustrate how the current lack of investment in children has been an on-going dilemma.
Drs. Sharron Singleton and Walter Pierce
Associate Professors of Social work, along with LaToya Carbonell, MSW student presented a paper on Ethnic Identity and Propensity for Practice within Latino Communities: Considerations for the Recruitment and Retention of Latinos in Social Work Education at the National Association of Hispanic and Latino Studies held in Orlando, September 20 – 22, 2012. Results from the 2010 census indicate the Hispanic or Latino population now account for 16 percent of the total population of the United States (Ennis, Rios-Vargas, & Albert, 2011). Clearly this is one of the fastest growing ethnic population groups in the United States. At the same time this population is growing by leaps and bounds, increasing numbers are living in poverty. Census Bureau statistics indicate that in 2010, 32.3 percent of the Hispanic/Latino children lived below the poverty level (Macartney, 2011). Life experiences related to poverty present overall challenges to the Hispanic/Latino communities and the families contained within. The commitment of the social work profession to address the social and economic injustices is longstanding, yet there appears to be a dearth of Hispanic social work practitioners available to join in this commitment. Hopps, Lowe, Stuart, Weismiller, and Whitaker (2008), reporting on an NASW commissioned study of licensed social workers, indicated that only 4.3% of licensed social workers were Hispanics/Latinos. Similarly, statistics from the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) annual survey of over 500 accredited BSW, MSW and combined BSW/MSW programs, indicate Hispanic/Latinos comprise 9.5% of the MSW students and 12.9% of upper level BSW enrollees (CSWE, 2009). The National Association of Social Workers (2003) reported that only three percent of its members self-identified as Hispanic/Latino and CSWE education (2006) reports similar statistics (4.5%) in terms of the demographics of its membership of social work educators.
This workshop presents the findings of an ongoing study of BSW and MSW students’ ethnic identity and their propensity for social work practice within their ethnic communities. The study used Phinney’s Muti-group Ethnic Identity Measure (MEIM) as adapted by Roberts, et al. (1999) along with three, single item indicators of “propensity for practice” and compares the different national groups that make up the Hispanic/Latino student participants on their ethnic identity and intent to practice within their ethnic communities. Implications for practice with Latino communities, social work education, and additional research will be highlighted.
Professor Sambra Zaoui
Instructor of Social Work long with Ms. Cathleen Coppola co-presented on Addressing Treatment Needs for Families Challenged with Chronic Alcoholism/Substance Misuse: A Family Systems Approach at the 9th Annual Turn on the Light Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect in Palm Beach, Florida on October 18, 2012. The presentation offered professionals an understanding of how best to utilize the Family Systems Approach Model when working with families challenged with alcoholism and/or substance misuse. Professor Zaoui having over 16 years of professional experience with families and substance misuse, and Ms. Coppola having her CAP and personal experience with recovery, successfully communicated the nuances of this issue to the audience. Participants learned the importance of accurately assessing the family life history and family life cycle; basic assumptions about these families, as well as some of the common tenets these families share. Audience members were given tangible skills that help families shift from organizing around substances to organizing around recovery. After the theoretical piece of the presentation was over, Ms. Cathleen Coppola shared her personal family’s struggle with alcoholism and her incredible recovery story. Professor Zaoui was both Ms. Cathleen Coppola’s academic advisor as a BSW student and had the pleasure of teaching her in different practice courses for two consecutive years.
Dr. Mark Smith, Assistant Professor of Social Work presented a paper on Terms of Engagement: Promoting Engagement in Group Supervision through a Model of Reflective Conversations and Questions at The XXXIV Annual International Symposium of the Association for the Advancement of Social Work with Groups, held in Long Island, New York, USA June 14-17, 2012.
Too often, clinical supervision of group facilitators is either overlooked or reluctantly undertaken (Knight, 1999; Sussman, Bogo, Globerman, 2007). This is due, in part, to several factors, which include: a) training requirements of group facilitators are not consistent; b) group work education and training that does exist is frequently out of step with the realistic needs of group facilitators working in the field, and c) little empirical data exists on the efficacy of training methods and supervision models for group work (Clements, 2004; Fuhriman & Burlingame, 2001; Rubel & Atieno Okech, 2006; Shulman, 2010). Supervision of group workers utilizing supervisory groups provides a practical and economical means for building on multiple experiences to ensure quality standards of care (Geller, 1994). Engaging in collaborative learning promotes professional socialization and provides opportunities for learning that mirror actual practice situations as well as match preferred adult learner styles.
Definitions of clinical supervision are underpinned by the belief that learning essentially comes from reflecting on one’s own practice as well as benefiting from the supervisor’s more extensive experience (Kadushin & Harkness, 2002). In this presentation, the authors offer an alternative to traditional approaches to clinical group work supervision. Anchored in postmodern and constructivist narrative perspectives, the supervisory process is seen as a multi-leveled dialogic process, with consensually negotiated understandings between supervisor and supervisees around shared group efforts (Brower, 1996). This reflective exchange sets the stage for a process that elevates the personal agency of group work supervisee while enhancing skill development of all members through collaborative learning (Anderson, 1995). Emphasizing reflective approaches (Clouder & Sellers, 2004; Gray & Smith, 2008), the authors present a series techniques and practical strategies for establishing a reflective space where people recapture their experience, think about it, mull it over and evaluate it (Hillerband, 1989; Winslade, 2003). The intended outcome of these group conversations is to help supervisees become more critical, intentional, and reflexive in their work so that the unique qualities of group practice are better understood, group facilitation skills are enhanced through collaborative learning, and the nurturing of professional identities occur (Smith, 1995; Whiting, 2007).
For social work educators and professionals who supervise group workers, the authors present a supervision model anchored in postmodern and constructivist perspectives to help supervisors engage supervisees in reflective conversations that encourage the development of more critical, intentional, and reflexive professionals.
Dr. Susan Gray, Professor of Social Work presented a paper on Group work supervision that works: Reflective engagement and the development of professional identities at the Eighth International Interdisciplinary Conference on Clinical Supervision held at the Adelphi University in Garden City, June 13-15, 2012.
Supervisors across disciplines incorporate collaborative learning into their efforts to promote professional socialization. Clinical supervision in groups provides a practical and economical means for building on multiple experiences to ensure quality standards of care. Given the many benefits of supervision, there are a number of factors that unfortunately have an adverse impact on the delivery of supervision of clinical group practice. They are: a) training requirements of group facilitators are not consistent across mental health disciplines; b) group work training that does exist is frequently incongruent with the needs of group facilitators working in the field, and c) little empirical data exists on the efficacy of current training methods and supervision models for group work (Fuhriman & Burlingame, 2001; Rubel & Atieno Okech, 2006; Shulman, 2010).
Anchored in postmodern and constructivist narrative perspectives, the authors offer a model for clinical group supervision that sets the stage for a process that elevates the personal agency of group work supervisees while enhancing skill development of all members through collaborative learning. Emphasizing reflective approaches (Clouder & Sellers, 2004; Gray & Smith, 2008), the authors present a series of techniques and practical strategies for promoting the clinical supervision of group practice. This orientation highlights the active co-construction of meaning within the supervisory group aimed at helping supervisees to become more critical, intentional, and reflexive in their work (Brower, 1996). In this way, all members of the supervisory group learn from their collective experiences. Collaborative learning offers a significant benefit, providing supervisees opportunities to be exposed to a variety of practice cases including group work situations (Hillerband, 1989; Winslade, 2003).
Traditional definitions of clinical supervision are underpinned by the belief that learning essentially comes from reflecting on practice as well as from the supervisor’s experience (Kadushin & Harkness, 2002). In this presentation, the supervisory process is seen as a multi-leveled dialogic process with consensually negotiated understandings coupled with shared efforts between supervisor and supervisees to create meaningful interactions. From this perspective, supervision is based on reflective conversations and questions that establish a reflective space where people recapture their experience, think about it, mull it over and evaluate it. The intended outcome of these group conversations is skill enhancement that takes into account to the unique aspects of group work practice, professional socialization, and the development of a professional identity (Whiting, 2007).
Participants will leave this session with solid information on how to engage supervisees in critical conversations about their practice, including group work practice, as well as fostering self-descriptions consistent with the performance of the values and skills of professional clinical practice (Smith, 1995). Offered are techniques that provide a discursive space in the supervisory group where potentially subjugated attitudes, thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and values that may affect clinical practice can be explored. In this way, both supervisor and supervisees are invited to critically examine deeply held assumptions about professional practice, generate new stories of professional identity, and devise alternatives to established clinical practices (Andersen, 1995).
Dr. Joanne Whelley
Dr. Joanne Whelley, Associate Professor of Social Work co-presented on a paper with Dr. Phyllis Black, Professor-Marywood University. The paper was presented on Future Social Workers, Resilient or Wounded? Past and Present Psychosocial Trauma among MSW Students at the NASW National Practice Conference Restoring Hope: The Power of Social Work Washington, D.C. July 2012.
The paper was a study on MSW students and revealed a high prevalence of self-reported early psychosocial trauma, most commonly, child abuse, parental substance addiction and chronic physical/mental illness. A somewhat lower incidence of post childhood psychosocial adverse events was also reported, most prevalent of which was mental illness. Less than half of the respondents sought professional help to address their traumatic experience. Most students indicated that their personal traumatic history inclined them to a career in social work. The findings have implications for the future of the profession. Will tomorrow's social workers be resilient, competent practitioners with the capacity for enhanced empathy and ability to connect with clients? Or will their distressed backgrounds and current mental health challenges render them "wounded healers" who have entered the field for self-reparation, and who will be vulnerable to counter transference issues and vicarious traumatization? The study validates the anecdotal reports of psychologically distressed social work students.
Dr. Edmon W. Tucker
Dr. Edmon W. Tucker, Assistant Professor of Social Work, co-presented with Dr. Mark Smith and Amy Small at the CEU workshop “Approaches to School Discipline: A Support or Barrier to the Mental Health and Development of Children & Adolescents” at Barry University, March 25, 2011. He also co-presented with Dr. Debra Lacey, Dr. Sharron Singleton, and Dr. Joanne Whelley on “Legal Considerations in Ethical Dilemmas” at the Intensive Geriatric Training CEU workshop at Barry University on April 8, 2011. His paper was presented entitled “Restoring Justice to Education: Lessons Learned from a Middle School Pilot Project” at the Fourteenth World Conference of the International Institute of Restorative Practices in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada on June 16, 2011. In addition, he presented on “Restorative Practices: A Whole-school Approach to Discipline” at the City Year Miami Civic Leadership Conference in Miami, FL, September 29, 2011 and completed The Grantsmanship Center’s Grantsmanship Training Program in Tampa, FL, September 19-23, 2011.