Category Archives: social work

On Social Work and Other Underappreciated Professions that Serve the Common Good

by Elizabeth Bowen, PhD, LCSW

 

logo for 2018 Socia WRok Month shows 3 abstract people with linked arms above the text: Social Workers: leadrs, advocates, champions. Color are dark blue, turquoise and yellow.

Social Work Month 2018 logo – NASW

The murders of social worker Christine Loeber and her colleagues Jennifer Golick and Jennifer Gonzales by a former client at The Pathway Home for veterans in northern California hit me hard. This news was followed by the less widely publicized but equally tragic murder of Anthony Houston, a supervisor of a transitional living program run by the social service organization Thresholds in Chicago. I didn’t know any of these individuals personally; my grief is not that of mourning a personal loss. But I think like for many social workers and social service professionals, this news hit a nerve. I can’t help but think: Could it have been me, or one of my colleagues, my friends, my students, my mentors?

The short answer to that question is yes. This is not to exaggerate concerns about violent behavior from the people with whom social workers work.  My grief in these tragedies is not only for the victims, but also for the individuals accused of committing these crimes—and for the many people who might share diagnostic labels or service needs with the alleged perpetrators and do not engage in violence, but will be unfairly stereotyped as such. Social workers work with a lot of different people in a lot of different settings, and occupational violence is a rarity for most of us. When clients do act out physically or verbally, it does not usually endanger our lives, and as social workers we also recognize that many people who perpetrate violence have experienced their own horrific trauma and abuse.

Social workers, however, are constantly in situations that are at best uncomfortable—and at worst, fatal, as The Pathway Home and Thresholds tragedies indicate. I am a professor now but in my practitioner days I did a lot of home visits with people in supportive housing. I never faced violence directly in my job but I did find myself in difficult situations, like going on a home visit to see a client we had not heard from in several days and finding him unresponsive in his bed. Not every day was like this–there were also plenty of good days, uneventful days, and even great days that left me feeling like I had the best job in the world. I also acknowledge that if some days were hard for me, they were infinitely harder for the clients themselves and their loved ones. I cared deeply about my job but it was ultimately only my job and not my life.

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Pioneering the Grand Challenges on Social Media as Macro Practice: #MacroSW at #APM17

I’m pleased to be part of this presentation!
Pat Shelly

On October 20, 2017,  four of the #MacroSW partners will be in Dallas at the Council of Social Work Education’s 2017 Annual Program Meeting to present about how our online community is supporting the American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare’s Social Work Grand Challenges.   

Date: Saturday, October 21, 2017

Time: 2:00 PM

Room Assignment: Sheraton Dallas Hotel City View 2, Main Hotel, 4th floor

The presenters include:

This presentation, titled Pioneering the Grand Challenges on Social Media as Macro Practice, will inform…

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Safe Schools Initiative – Assessing Threats of Extremist Violence

by Emily Hammer, MSW 2018

 

I attended the 14th Annual Safe Schools Initiative Seminar Series, put on by the Alberti Center for Bullying Abuse Prevention at the University at Buffalo in April. It was very informative and relevant to my first year MSW field placement at Buffalo Public School 198, International Prep.

 

Image: Alberti Center for Bullying Abuse Prevention

The first half of the morning consisted of a fascinating presentation by the FBI Office of Buffalo, discussing signs of students who may be lured into violent extremist practices. My key takeaway? There is no single profile. Any student can be enticed into various extremist practices, regardless of race, class, ethnicity, gender identity, etc. We should never judge a threat solely by outward appearance, because research shows that student profiles who fall prey to violent extremism are so diverse.

 

I realized that we often forget that these threats occur in our own backyards. We learned that the media make the threats seem far away– in a different city, state, or country, or in a group different from that of our normal day-to-day ones– until it happens at home. Then it becomes real. The FBI Buffalo Field Office cited examples of extremist incidents  as recent as one week before the seminar presentation. These occurred in both the Buffalo and Rochester areas. The incidents involved teenagers and young adults who were preparing to fly to Syria to engage in warfare; these young people attempted to influence their friends to do the same.

 

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Sustainability and Social Work: Earth Day 2017

by Pat Shelly

Sustainability and Environmentalism

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without.” This is an old Yankee/New England proverb that resounds with our more environmentally-conscious society today.

Sustainability is  a word that appears more frequently in the press around Earth Day, which is observed on April 22 in the US. Many slogans address environmental issues. Some instruct: “Reduce, Reuse, Recyle,” or humorously inform: “Recyclers do it over and over again,” or recommend:

 

Smiling man in baseball cap with arms hugging a big tree. Only one arm is visible as tree's circumference is too large to encircle with his arms. is too big to get

Photo: Carolina Hoyos Lievano / World Bank

 

 

 

 

 

“Hug a tree, they have fewer issues than people.”

 

 

 

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