The Grand Challenges for Social Work Initiative (GCSWI), spearheaded by the American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare (AASWSW), represents a major endeavor for the entire field of social work. We have identified 12 of the most persistent social issues, such as homelessness, social isolation, mass incarceration, and economic inequality, as well as generating interventions that can be taken to scale in the slideshow below.
In a world that values busyness, it is often easy to prioritize personal responsibilities over personal fulfillment. Phrases like I wish I had the time and once things settle down justify an all-too-common postponement of happiness and self-care. In the following excerpt from Night Call, acclaimed psychologist and author Robert Wicks details a five-day guide to self-care designed to fit even the busiest of schedules.
Starting out in practice is challenging; especially if your training did not include much of an emphasis on practice development. Most training programs don’t as they have very tight curriculums and focus on teaching the core knowledge and skills needed to prepare one to be a competent and effective clinician. Leaving out the core business of practice skills needed to create a sustainable practice environment can make the transition into private practice quite challenging and anxiety provoking.
Every day the news is flooded with stories of different types of violence. On what seems like a daily basis, we’re bombarded with relentless reports of violence in this country. Our register of national tragedies keeps growing: hate crimes, mass shootings, and #Metoo headlines are only the most recent outbreaks of an epidemic of violence in our homes, public spaces, and communities.
Sexual violence in marriage has a history as long as the institution of marriage itself. But for millennia, marital rape – like other forms of sexual assault – was considered a private trouble not a public issue. Early rape laws defined the assault as a property crime against the husband or father whose wife or daughter was “defiled.” Under this framework marital rape was an oxymoron since a wife was legally a husband’s sexual property.
From 15-18 November, members of the American Society of Criminology (ASC) will gather in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the ASC’s annual conference. The theme of this year’s meeting is Crime, Legitimacy, and Reform: 50 Years After the President’s Commission. Specifically, 2017 marks the 50th anniversary of the publication of the final report of the President’s Commission on Law Enforcement and Administration of Justice
What happens when a student or parent first walks in to a new school? What welcoming practices occur during the initial registration process, when parents first complete a set of forms, when they hear the first hello, or when students are first introduced to teachers and classmates? Are students and parents greeted with warmth, guidance, and understanding, or is it a cold administrative process?
William: I played in a violin recital a couple of weeks ago. I had played the music many times before but in that concert I really messed up my finger work passages – one in particular – and then I started feeling that my memorization was shaky. I was a nervous wreck and couldn’t wait to finish. I cannot figure this out. I feel haunted that it is going to happen again and again.
JJN: This sounds terribly upsetting – both your concerns about your playing and your worries about trying to figure it out on your own and not being able to do that. Has this kind of thing happened before? Do you typically try to figure things out on your own?
When you stretch a rubber band, even after many times, it will likely return to its original form. We call this resilience. When children are stretched and bent out of shape due to bad experiences they encounter, we expect they will be resilient too and snap back to their previous self. However, after various types of difficult or traumatic interactions, children are not the same. The analogy of the rubber band does not hold up.
Originating from the Latin “compatī,” (to suffer together), compassion can lead to a greater understanding of human suffering. However, the vulnerability that comes along with compassion can often lead to increased feelings of stress and anxiety. In the video below, psychologist Robert J. Wicks describes the consequences of inordinate compassion.
There has been a great deal of speculation about the evolutionary significance and origins of depression. What selective advantage does it confer? Does it allow the patient to concentrate on complex and important problems? Is it a type of pain that, like physical pain, causes us to pull back from danger? Is it a type of behavioral quarantine, causing us to hole up in a safe place while dangers stalk around outside?
Tribalism’s slide into bullying has become seemingly pervasive. We’ve all seen how it contaminates schools, sports, and work. In all of these collective institutions there is a drive to form tribes—often motivated by a desire for constructive kinship, but just as frequently for purposes of control, and exclusion. The change begins at home with parents who understand that hate causes violence.
“What have you been doing that has been especially important over the past several years?” In the following video and shortened excerpt from Night Call, Robert J. Wicks explains how this question helped him realize the importance of striking a balance between compassion for others and self-care.
However, a parallel and equally disturbing trend is happening ecologically in the US, with the rejection of climate change science and the withdrawal from the Paris Accord. Though climate change may at first appear to be a separate issue from the xenophobia and anti-refugee mindset, they are more inextricably tied to one another than we are led to believe.
Long-standing concerns around the bureaucratic and often unhelpful nature of children and families social work were brought to a head in Prof Eileen Munro’s (2011) review of child protection. With colleagues, I recently completed a project involving social work academics and children and families social workers from neighbouring local authorities to try and facilitate such a shift in child protection cultures.
Teachers to nurses, youth workers to psychiatrists, psychotherapists to social workers—you name it, we are legion; the “helping professions”. We’ve made progress over the past century, finding effective ways to help many – perhaps most – of the difficulties our clients face, but we shouldn’t be complacent. Even the most “evidence-based” of our interventions are only effective for 50-60% of the cases that they are used with.