LG: Hi Karla, lots to talk about this month! New programs, welcoming new members, and some encouraging legislative moves.
Despite concerns at the start of the pandemic, we are not only surviving as a society, we are thriving. Our chapter remains in very good financial health and our membership is growing. I think we can credit this to a creative and collaborative Board, who stay connected to our members’ needs.
Let’s start a debrief by talking about a new, recent program that has been a great success! I know it is near and dear to you and so many others who are involved with the National Catholic School of Social Services (NCSSS) MSW program. Can you explain how this evolved and what happened?
KA: At our March Board meeting, during the legislative report, it was mentioned the DC Counsel (not sure who) verbalized concerns on the LGSW exam for students of color, including possible test bias. Frances Wu, our University Liaison Committee Chair proposed that we partner with NCSSS to offer a free, one-day workshop for graduating students to try and address this issue.
Melissa Grady, Associate Professor at NCSSS, quickly identified possible workshop presenters. Corey Beauford, LICSW, was selected to deliver a one-day workshop. He gave us permission to tape the program so students could revisit the workshop as often as needed, prior to taking the test, and also added a wealth of resources and materials for them.
We launched this Test Prep on April 17. Donna Dietz, our Executive Administrator and Zoom-maven administered the session. Almost the entire graduating class of NCSSS registered. The result is a lot of very positive responses and great evaluations from students and professors and a big thumbs up from Dr. Roslynn Scott-Adams, Assistant NCSSS Dean and Director of Field Education & Professional Development.
LG: You must be so delighted. Finding programs and partnerships between our Society and the needs of graduating students was part of your area of interest as soon as you became our VP.
KA: As a graduate student at NCSSS and the Vice President of the GWSCSW, I am proud to be a member of both and for the partnership that was forged with this event. Two of my hopes for NCSSS students have come to fruition by our Society partnership with them: A test prep course for the LG exam, and low-cost counseling services offered by our members for MSW students, especially part-time students.
My hope is the test prep course will become a regular event and we can expand it to all area MSW programs!
LG: This was a really exciting process to witness. Because we are a small society, we can identify a need, move quickly and implement a program within a month.
We are also busy on the Board with the other program you just mentioned—low-cost therapy for MSW students delivered by our members, many of whom have never experienced their own psychotherapy. Kate Rossier spearheaded this program with good results and growing interest from both student members and our clinicians.
Other things in the works: Many of us have complained about the limitations of not being able to follow our clients and patients with continued care across state lines, when they move or when we do. A new and interesting way to address this problem with conducting interstate service is at hand.
Our national association, the CSWA (Clinical Social Work Association) announced an exciting program. The Department of Defense and Council of State Governments and the CSWA have partnered to create an interstate compact for clinical social workers! This may be a way to affect legislation, to help the Federal and State governments rethink the need to allowing clinical social workers to offer a continuity of care, regardless of location. Stay tuned for more.
KA: The Anti-Racism Taskforce launched a very successful program we call Creating a Brave Space. This is a facilitated group experience to allow members to go beyond a clinically safe space into a brave space, to think and talk about the impact of racism in their lives and their clinical work. We completed the first one to very good evaluations and will continue to offer this.
We are also in the process of a website redesign, which will make the website easier to navigate and a better tool for displaying all the resources we are accruing. We are starting to have a presence on social media and trying to make sure that those clinical social workers who want connection and resources can find us.
We had a good time and a good turnout at the New Member Brunch, on Zoom and got to meet many of the newer clinicians at all levels of their careers who are joining our Society.
LG: That reminds me, I need to invite members to check out a new entry in the “Welcome to Our Wisdom” section of the existing website. Just log in and go to: https://www.gwscsw.org/members-wisdom to see my 30-minute interview with member May Benatar, LCSW, PhD—a clinician and published author who shares her process of writing and some tips and techniques for getting published!
There is more going on: Our ongoing CE programs, a mentoring program, support groups for retiring clinicians and an upcoming educational survey for members that will help us focus our offerings.
Our next Board meeting will be an open one, via Zoom in May, to allow members who are curious about joining a committee or volunteering to get to know us! We welcome all interested to become part of our Board.
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