Category Archives: trauma

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.

Read more

Indigenous Communities, Human Rights and Environmental (In)Justice

By Meschelle Linjean

 

Social workers are charged with advancing human rights and social, economic, and environmental justice. We advocate for the rights of vulnerable populations and against any policies, practices, and attitudes that jeopardize anyone’s life, liberty, and security of person. Grave social, economic, and environmental injustices take place in the name of corporate development and greed.

 

This blog post looks at the ways extractive industry development (e.g., oil and gas extraction, mining, logging) in Indigenous homelands in the Americas often result in displacement, poisoning and desecration of the land and water, and contributes to high rates of sexual assault, sex trafficking, and murder.  The beneficiaries are wealthy outsiders, corporations and shareholders. Deep ecology, ecofeminism, empowerment theory, and trauma-informed perspectives are all insightful lenses through which these outrages may be viewed, but this post’s perspective will use the frameworks of human rights, oppression and empowerment.

 

Historical trauma, gender-based violence

Historical trauma, devastating assimilation policies, and continuing oppression have rendered Indigenous communities in the U.S. extremely vulnerable to human rights violations, and disproportionately high rates of poverty and violence. Four out of five Indigenous persons have suffered a violent crime in their lifetime; four out of five perpetrators of this violence are non-Indigenous (Nagle and Steinem, 2016).  American Indian and Alaska Native women suffer sexual violence at the highest rate of any racial group, per capita, in the U.S. (Brewer, 2017).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Read more

After Orlando / #PulseOrlando: #MacroSW Chat – Open Mic 06-23-16

This mass shooting reveals some of the most complex social problems of our era: homophobia, racism, hate crimes and gun violence.

(The edited version is by Pat Shelly, who was using the handle @officialmacrosw for this chat.)

In the wake of the Orlando shooting (we will use #PulseOrlando as our hashtag for this chat), we feel heartache, sadness and anger. We may be left wondering why this happened and how we can prevent…

a memorial black ribbon has rainbow stripes in th ellop and Pulse nightclub logo on one edn witha pink heart around the logo

credit: kyliesoniquelove

 

 

Source: After Orlando / #PulseOrlando: #MacroSW Chat – Open Mic 06-23-16

The big picture: Infographics for social work

by Pat Shelly

We’ve all heard the saying:

“A picture is worth a thousand words.”

splashes of paint in many colors erupting against a black background

image: TerrellCotton.com

Aristotle said, “The soul never thinks without a picture.”

Pictures can inform and inspire us.

One way to brighten and broaden the view of social work is through infographics.

An infographic is a visual representation of information or data. It combines data and design in a format that is easy to share and to understand.

Chart showing circles overlapping withthe elements of a good infographic: Data, Design, Story, Sharability

image: Daniel Zeevi – Dashburst

Given the role of technology and the internet in knowledge-production and dissemination, this educational tool is especially useful today.

Read more

« Older Entries