In This Issue | DECEMBER 2020

Upcoming events

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STAY CONNECTED, MAKE SURE YOUR MEMBERSHIP IS ACTIVE

IF YOU HAVE NOT RENEWED YOUR MEMBERSHIP AND NEED HELP. PLEASE CONTACT  DONNA DIETZ, GWSCSW ADMINISRATOR.  
admin@gwscsw.org

 

At a time when connection to others has become paramount, the Greater Washington Society for Clinical Social Work continues to work for members to provide opportunities to network with peers, address changes in the profession, and earn CEU’s online!  We will continue to focus on our mission “to promote the highest standards of clinical social work practice by ensuring the stability, efficacy and viability of clinical social work through clinical educational offerings, legislative advocacy, events that promote a sense of professional community, and activities that support the professional development of our members. Through these efforts, we affirm our commitment to the needs of those in our profession, their clients, and the community at large. ” – now and in the future, with your support. 

 . . . And please help us grow our community by inviting your friends, colleagues, and employees to become GWSCSW members.

President's Message

Lynn Grodzki

GWSCSW is a society of over 1000 members at various stages of their careers. We have student members as well as those in early stages of careers—just starting out. Other members are securely grounded in a private practice, or active in agencies or other clinical settings. A strong cohort of our members are retired, but still engaged in the social work profession, often within volunteer efforts. This variety in membership keeps us informed about the breadth of roles and responsibilities for clinical social workers. We know, through our contact with you, by reading the listserv and talking with many of you each week, that our members are struggling to stay intact in their professional and personal lives during these chaotic and concerning times.

You may be balancing personal worries about the pandemic and, at the same time, trying to address these same anxieties for those within your caseload. You may be dealing with client concerns about health and economics, while focused on your family concerns about these issues, too. Many of us are working overtime, engaged in political and social justice activities that are heightened by the outcome of the election. If you are a parent, your children and their schooling is a critical worry. We are dealing with unusual amounts of anxiety and stress from every corner of our world. These are the times it helps to have support!

I hope that being a member of GWSCSW brings you an added sense of security and comfort right now, knowing that we are all going through this time together. Part of our GWSCSW mission is to support each other as valued colleagues. Each day, members are active on our vibrant listserv and each week we offer you information about our ongoing programs to help you stay informed and inspired.

GWSCSW held our first virtual ethics conference in mid-November with our favorite ethics maven, Dr. Frederic Reamer.  Dr. Reamer is the gold standard in social work ethics. He is personable, knowledgeable and shared fascinating real-life cases and scenarios that were so needed right now. We were so fortunate to have such a well-respected expert share his passion, knowledge and experience with almost 200 attendees at this conference.

We appreciate how quickly our members renewed their membership this Fall during our October membership drive. We know that your support and willingness to pay annual dues during the pandemic reflects the value of our Society to you. If you have not yet renewed and need assistance, please contact Donna Dietz at admin@gwscsw.org We held a virtual “new members brunch” on October 11 that was well-attended. It was fun to use the Zoom breakout rooms to allow us to meet in small groups, so that we could talk and really get to know with each other.

We are so proud of the recent Legislative and Advocacy virtual luncheon that was held on October 18. Almost 100 members registered for the free event to hear from our state lobbyists. Speakers presented a deep dive into the many issues that concern our tri-state membership in terms of new regulations, insurance changes, and potential issues of access and clinical control that affect our caseloads. Thanks to the L&A committee members and all the presenters who produced a stellar event.

We, your leadership team, are busy at work for you, to secure the vitality and viability of our Society in this time of change. We welcome you to join a committee and help the Society stay strong and responsive to its membership.

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Virtual membership brunches

Nancy Harris

The GWSCSW Membership Committee (Cindy Crane, Catherine Lowry, and Nancy Harris) sponsored a virtual brunch on October 11, 2020, attended by over 20 people. The new members got to hear from Board members about what GWSCSW has to offer and how they can get involved. President Lynn Grodski welcomed the group of new members. Mary Moore, Steve Szopa, Rachel Keller, and Patti Gibberman each talked about the work they are doing with GWSCSW. Nancy Harris informed attendees about the Mentor Program. Three new members have already asked for mentors. We broke into small groups twice to share concerns and talk about beginning in the social work field, as many new members are also new social workers.

If you are a new member and missed this event, the Membership Committee will be hosting another virtual brunch in the Spring. Keep watching the listserv for information when this gets closer.

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POSTING TO THE GWSCSW LISTSERV - To post to this group, send email to:  listserv-gwscsw@googlegroups.com

If you are not on the listserv, contact admin@gwscsw.org  

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GWSCSW Annual Dinner - Scheduled for Spring or Fall of 2022

Beverly Magida

GWSCSW members, the Board and the Annual Dinner Committee have jointly decided, due to current budgetary constraints and the impact of Covid-19 on in-person events, that the in-person GWSCSW Annual Dinner scheduled for June 2021 will be cancelled until the Spring or Fall of 2022.

Unfortunately, this cancellation is primarily a direct consequence of the current pandemic. Let’s think positively, and focus on hopefully resuming this fun social event in 2022!

If you have further questions regarding this Annual Dinner schedule change, please contact Bev Magida, Co-Chair Annual Dinner Committee at bev.magida@verizon.net

Please stay safe and healthy!

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A.R.T. (Anti-Racism Taskforce) Therapy

How has systemic racism impacted your clinical practice? How do you measure up as an anti-racist clinician? How often do you consider the effect of systemic racism on the issues bringing your clients to therapy?

Foundational to therapy is emotional intimacy. As clinical social workers, we are often quite skilled at navigating emotional intimacy around a range of topics that we see as micro influences on a client’s life, such as abuse, grief, and trauma. However, is it possible to foster emotional intimacy with a client without also reckoning with the macro forces that influence their lives? And ours?

Racism is but one important force that has shaped all of our lives, whether we realize it or not. Thus, in order to cultivate emotional intimacy with our clients, we must, as clinicians, first be willing to engage with the insidious nature of racism and sit with a great deal of discomfort. We must be willing to enter a brave space within ourselves before we can foster one with our clients.

Why brave space and not safe space? Well, safety means free of risk, harm, and controversy.

And yet, when we decide to engage with truths that challenge what we have been taught to believe about ourselves, others, and the world, it is impossible not to feel emotionally vulnerable, and it is inevitable that we will make mistakes. Instead of waiting to feel safe, we must normalize our fear and choose to be brave: afraid but doing it anyway.

When it comes to racism, whether we are white or a person of color, there is so much pain to be dealt with. Our choice, and the hard work, come in how to deal with the pain --whether or not we want to get involved in order to grow.

Members seeking a brave space within which to grow their understanding of how systemic racism comes up in the therapy room are encouraged to join us for a virtual conversation via Zoom. If interested, please email us at antiracism-taskforce@gwscsw.org

Recommended readings:

  1. From Safe Spaces to Brave Spaces: A New Way to Frame Dialogue around Diversity and Social Justice by Brian Arao and Kristi Clemens
  2. My Grandmother’s Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Pathway to Mending Our Hearts and Body by Resmaa Menakem
  3. White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack by Peggy McIntosh

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The Link between Practice and Advocacy

Judy Gallant

Back in the day, reimbursement for services provided by clinical social workers required review by – and the signature of – a psychiatrist or a psychologist. Both the Greater Washington Society for Clinical Social Work and the Virginia Society for Clinical Social Work (whose members we welcome in joining us today) were born from the efforts of a few to get independent licensing in each of our jurisdictions and vendorship from insurance companies to receive reimbursement.

Even now, we must keep a sharp eye out for ways the respect for our license could be diminished (through decreased supervision requirements or decreasing the number of CEU's required for license renewal) and for the ways in which our scope of practice should be legitimately expanded . Virginia continues to protect the license against political threats (elected leaders who do and do not understand us). All jurisdictions must be aware of possible encroachment and increased competition from other providers (counselors and others) for reimbursement by Medicare and other insurance. We want to monitor contracts that insurance companies offer us as providers and advocate against disadvantageous terms. Additionally, we must inform legislators and governmental representatives when laws are needed, or need changing, to help right an injustice to our larger society which prevents people from obtaining needed mental health services. Likewise, we must be aware of how a changing society impacts our practice with our clients, what new clinical issues we may be confronted with, and how laws and regulations may need to be adjusted in order to be the most effective clinicians we can be.

The events of the past 10 months have been extraordinary. The issues that clients bring to us have changed: the pandemic, increased political strife, social justice issues and climate change have produced great anxiety about the future and increased fears about interacting with the world. Suicides, substance use disorders and domestic abuse have increased. We are needing to cope with the same fears and situations as our clients and have all become trauma therapists. We are asked with greater frequency and with greater sincerity, how are WE doing? Are we and our families OK?

We are all experiencing uncertainty. Our distorted sense of the passage of time – is today Friday or Saturday? Does it make a difference? – creates frustration and enormous anxiety. There is a sense of emptiness and a sense of missing out caused by the loss of graduations, weddings, trips, occasions people were looking forward to.

Young people, whose development may feel to them both stagnant and compressed by being cooped up and emotions being stored up in quarantine, also seem to feel a great sense of urgency. This became especially apparent with George Floyd’s death, where vigils attended by many young people [no comma] protested unchecked police power and led to questions about who’s in charge, who’s taking care of our country? This sense of officials not using their authority in responsible ways also dovetails with inconsistent information presented by the administration about the coronavirus, preventing spread, treatment and vaccines.

COVID-19 has laid bare the inequities in health care, including mental health care. When health insurance is tied to employment and the economy collapses, many people’s care is impacted. When families lack a broadband connection or equipment to connect to the internet, they cannot access telehealth services, essential in the age of COVID. These are examples of social determinants of health (SDOH), which are conditions in the places where people live, learn, work and play that affect a wide range of health risks and outcomes. Clinicians have an obligation to be aware of the impact social determinants of health have on our clients, both in order to help them address any situations they may be able to change, and also in order for us to advocate for change with lawmakers.

How do we respond clinically to the issues our clients have brought to us? We know that crisis and opportunity are intimately related. How do we help people get through this? In some part, we help people make their worlds smaller, so as not to get overwhelmed, and to figure out what the next specific steps should be. On the other hand, we want to help clients recognize that we’re all in this together. We try to help parents expand how they help their children understand this, how they can share responsibility for keeping themselves and the whole family safe.

How do we respond to the issues our changing society has brought to us in 2020, that are made more complex by our national history, and that make our clients’ lives and our goal to help them more difficult? As clinical social workers, we are in the unique position that allows us to have both the micro level of understanding our clients’ struggles and the macro understanding of the impact our history and that of social institutions have on lives. We educate our clients on how to take things one step at a time while at the same time helping them view themselves in a larger, more impactful context. Similarly, we must educate legislators and regulators about our clients' pain and how policies impact clients in very real and poignant ways. We want solutions that can bring a greater sense of safety and comfort to those suffering in a world of anxiety and fear.

We need to advocate for equity and change with our legislators. For example, offering more opportunities to give clients access to lifesaving treatment via making teletherapy and telephone access to their therapist permanent, could go a long way towards increasing availability of mental health services. Another example: we gave testimony to a Commission looking at health and mental health issues, headed by Maryland’s Lt. Governor, about the need for licensing board cooperation across state lines in order to maintain continuity of care for clients who may have begun treatment near their place of work in one jurisdiction, but who are now cloistered at home in a jurisdiction where their clinician isn’t licensed. Making teletherapy reimbursement permanent (via videoconference and via telephone) and advocating for licensing board cooperation across state lines are our top Legislation and Advocacy priorities for this coming year.

I want to express appreciation to the Co-chairs of our Legislation and Advocacy Committees for their hard work throughout the year. I also want to thank Dr. Marsha Levy-Warren, whose presentation at last month’s conference - “Our Teens and Young Adults in this Pandemic/Black Lives Matter Moment” - was very helpful to me in framing the dovetailing of clinical and societal issues.

Judy Gallant, LCSW-C, is the director of the Society’s Legislation & Advocacy program, as well as chair of the Maryland Clinical Social Work Coalition, our GWSCSW legislative committee in Maryland. She maintains a private practice in Silver Spring.

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Legislation & Advocacy | Federal

Laura Groshong, LICSW, Director, Policy and Practice

The Impact of “Open Notes” on LICSW Practice

A recent message on the new rule called “Open Notes” created more questions than answers. This article is an attempt to clarify what is a somewhat regulatory, primarily semantic, and largely a continuation of record-keeping for LICSWs. Here is a list of FAQs about the Open Notes rule:

  1. Where did the decision about Open Notes come from? Open Notes was part of the Interoperability section of the CURES Act which passed Congress last spring.
  2. Why was the Open Notes rule created? There were two reasons. The first was that some information was being ‘blocked’ from patients, which is a violation of the Affordable Care Act and HIPAA. The second is that there was no incentive for hospitals to use interoperable medical records so there was not a complete medical record which all clinicians could access for a given patient.
  3. What does the Open Notes rule change about patient access to the records? It is supposed to give patients more access to their records. The Health Information Act (HIT, 2004) and Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA, 2003) already give patients the right to read their medical record but this was being violated (see#2). For LICSWs, there is a HIPAA rule that allows us to withhold the medical record if we think there is a chance it will be harmful to the patient to read it.
  4. Does the Open Notes rule change the patient's, other clinicians', or an attorney’s right to see our psychotherapy notes? If psychotherapy notes are kept in a separate file from the medical record as stated in HIPAA, there is no change in psychotherapy notes being kept private for the use of the LICSW only. Psychotherapy notes cannot be used to keep required information out of the medical record.
  5. How does the Open Notes rule change record keeping for LICSWs? The way that LICSWs make notes in the medical record should be the minimum necessary to show that the treatment is progressing according to the treatment goals which have been identified. If the medical record is more like process recordings, this is not the case. Keeping session notes limited to the demographic information, start and stop times, a short description of how the treatment goals are being met in SOAP notes or other format, and any new goals which have arisen are all that should be in the medical record.
  6. Are LICSWs required to keep reports on the treatment in the interoperable medical record? So far this is not required but there may come a time when doing so will be required for insurance coverage. That is the goal of insurers at this time.

As LICSWs, we know that it is a clinical issue if the patient wants to see what we have written about them and it happens fairly rarely. We also know that it is a best practice, whether we are keeping notes for our own medical record or an interoperable one, to keep notes brief and connected to the treatment goals established for a given patient. If we stick to these practices, Open Notes should not pose a problem for clinical social workers.

Laura Groshong is the Director, Policy and Practice for the Clinical Social Work Association.  

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Legislation & Advocacy | District of Columbia

Margot Aronson & Adele Natter

By the time this newsletter is in your hands (or your inbox), a number of decisions will have been made, ranging from the direction of the country for the next four years to a certain change in policy clarified by the DC Board of Social Work.

For those of us living and/or working in the District of Columbia, the election will also have brought about some relevant changes in the Council, the school board, and neighborhood commissions: will the newly elected folks help our DC government address inequities which limit access of minority communities to health and mental health treatment?

Having seen the Covid-19 statistics, we LICSWs will want to learn what we can about the specific social determinants of health/mental health in DC, and to do what we can to be sure that inequities are being addressed.

At the DC Board of Social Work

The issue before the Board in October and November has to do with the months between an MSW’s graduation and the opportunity to sit for the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) national examination for the Licensed Graduate Social Worker license. Without a license, the MSW may not practice under the LGSW scope of practice, and, if reported to the Board for doing so, is likely to face a reprimand and a steep fine.

Several area agencies have asked for consideration of a “supervised practice form” that would make it possible for the new graduates, during the waiting period and under LICSW supervision, to begin to get a feel for the career they have chosen.

The Board will have to determine how such a supervised practice would be monitored and tracked, and what responsibilities the agencies that participate would have. The Board also will need to have conversations with the test developer, ASWB, before developing such a form.

Among the questions being considered are:

  • Does the exam pass rate increase with the use of supervised practice?
  • Will monitoring obligations significantly increase the Board’s workload? (Please remember that Board members are volunteers.)

Two final Board items:

The Board is still short one member, who must be a Licensed Social Work Associate (Bachelor’s level), live in DC, and not be a DC government employee. Please encourage any eligible colleagues to apply.

There will be no Open Session meeting of the DC Board of Social Work in December.

Margot Aronson, LICSW, co-chairs the GWSCSW Legislation and Advocacy Committee for DC along with Adele Natter, LICSW. A past GWSCSW president, she has also served as newsletter editor and director of Legislation & Advocacy. Margot currently advocates on mental health and LCSW practice issues for us all at the national level as the Clinical Social Work Association Deputy Director for Policy and Practice.

Adele Natter, LICSW, Co-Chairs the GWSCSW Legislation & Advocacy Committee for DC.. Adele has been an active participant on the Committee for the past four years; she represented GWSCSW on a Board of Social Work sub-committee, which included NASW and CSWA representatives. Adele maintains a private practice focused on helping individuals with anger and emotional regulation issues. She is also a Clinical Instructor in the Psychiatry Residency Program of the George Washington University Medical School. She holds a BA in Psychology from UCLA and received her MSW from the University of Maryland.

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Legislation & Advocacy | Maryland

Judy Gallant

Although the Maryland Legislative session does not start until January, there have been several issues that have demanded time and attention recently.

In August, I again provided verbal testimony to the Maryland Commission to Study Mental and Behavioral Health (see our September newsletter for testimony provided in June of this year). I stressed, as I had previously, the need for Maryland to enact laws that will make reimbursement for telehealth services permanent. I also raised the need for jurisdictions to permanently relax regulations in order to allow practitioners to treat clients via telehealth irrespective of jurisdictional licensure. I have been very impressed with Lt. Governor Rutherford’s responsiveness to my comments, as well as his responsiveness to others who testified on a variety of mental health issues, and his command of the issues being addressed.

In response to a member’s concern expressed on our listserv about her treatment by the Maryland Board of Social Work Examiners upon her submission of her license renewal, I surveyed our members about experiences they have had with the BSWE. I was dismayed by the number of complaints people had about rudeness of staff, lack of responsiveness, and the incompetence they experienced. Our lobbyist is trying to arrange a meeting with the Executive Director, Dr. Stanley Weinstein, to discuss our concerns.

We have also just become aware that BSWE is proposing a bill to change some language and provisions regarding the practice of social work in Maryland. We understand that the Board plans to send a copy of the proposed changes to the current statute to all licensees, and will have meetings with stakeholders to discuss the proposed changes. Keep your eyes open for communications from the Board.

Judy Gallant, LCSW-C, is the director of the Society’s Legislation & Advocacy program, as well as chair of the Maryland Clinical Social Work Coalition, our GWSCSW legislative committee in Maryland. She maintains a private practice in Silver Spring.

Pamela Metz Kasemeyer, JD, and her firm of Schwartz, Metz & Wise, PA, represent us in Annapolis and guide our advocacy strategy. Ms. Kasemeyer is an acknowledged authority on Maryland’s health care and environmental laws and has represented a variety of interests before the Maryland General Assembly and regulatory agencies for more than 25 years.

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Legislation & Advocacy | Virginia

Judy Ratliff and Wayne Martin, Co-Chairs, VA Legislation and Advocacy Committee

Hot off the Press! As of November 4, with 2556 precincts out of 2585 reporting, the Constitutional Amendment described as follows did pass, with 65.85% voting "Yes" and 34.15% voting "No".

The question was: "Should the Constitution of Virginia be amended to establish a redistricting commission, consisting of eight members of the General Assembly (4 Republicans and 4 Democrats) and eight citizens of the Commonwealth, that is responsible for drawing the congressional and state legislative districts that will be subsequently voted on, but not changed by the General Assembly and enacted without the Governor's involvement and to give the responsibility of drawing districts to the Supreme Court of Virginia, if the redistricting commission fails to draw districts or the General Assembly fails to enact districts by certain deadlines."

NEW LAWS PERTAINING TO POLICE AND CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM, AS OF NOVEMBER 1, 2020

The laws:

PROHIBIT law enforcement officers from seeking or executing a no-knock search warrant.

REDUCE the militarization of police by prohibiting law enforcement from obtaining or using specified equipment, including grenades, weaponized aircraft and high-caliber firearms However, law enforcement will be able to seek a waiver to use restricted equipment for search and rescue missions.

CREATE statewide minimum training standards for law enforcement officers, including training on awareness of racism, the potential for biased profiling and de-escalation techniques.

MANDATE law enforcement agencies and jails to request the prior employment and disciplinary history of new hires.

EXPAND AND DIVERSIFY the Criminal Justice services Board (CJSB) ensuring that the perspectives of social justice leaders, people of color and mental health providers are represented in the state's criminal justice policymaking.

STRENGTHEN the process by which law enforcement officers can be decertified and allow the CJSB to initiate decertification proceedings.

LIMIT circumstances in which law enforcement officers can use neck restraints.

REQUIRE law enforcement officers to intervene when they witness another officer engaging or attempting to engage in the use of excessive force.

EMPOWER localities to create civilian review boards and to give these boards the authority to issue subpoenas and make binding disciplinary decisions. Five pilot programs have been designated, with one located in Alexandria, VA. (Fairfax County already has an oversight committee.)

MANDATE the creation of minimum crisis intervention training standards and require law enforcement officers to  complete crisis intervention training. Please note that crisis intervention systems have already been set up in our jurisdictions and that money has been appropriated. Mental health professionals will be included in response teams.

The 2021 Legislative Session will begin on January 13 and will last for 45 days. Bills are now being introduced.

Judy Ratliff, LCSW, (recently retired from work but not from GWSCSW or from life). She is the Co-Chair, VA Legislation and Advocacy Committee.

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Later Career Seminars

By Grace Lebow | Senior Seminar Representative

If you are a later career member, you may be interested in joining a Senior Seminar Group to interact with others at the same stage who are experiencing a range of life transitions such as health issues. Some may want to work on and onwhile others are thinking ahead to retirement. Some may be retired and others may want to talk about when and how to lower their caseloads. When you read the stories about how some of the present Seminars function, you will get a good idea of the range of group topics and activities. You are welcome to phone me, Grace Lebow, at 240 858 4738, to discuss your interest in such a Seminar in your locale. 

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Social Justice and Race Equality Training for MSW Students 

Beverly Magida | GMU University Liaison

The GMU graduate program in social work is looking for opportunities to collaborate with GWSCSW on the subject of Social Justice and Race Equality. There is an interest in seeking volunteers to do some training in that area for the MSW students. This may involve virtual interaction with the students on a scheduled basis. Specifics will follow once I receive the names of those members who are interested in pursuing this collaborative activity between GWSCSW and GMU’s MSW program.

Please contact Bev Magida at the email indicated if you are interested - bev.magida@verizon.net.

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  • continuing education training,
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The GWSCSW newsletter is circulated to more than 1,000 members, prospective members, and other clinical social work professionals in the area. GWSCSW members rely on the newsletter to locate upcoming professional events and activities for continuing education, professional development, and networking opportunities.

Please get in touch with Donna Dietz, GWSCSW Administrator (admin@gwscsw.org) to reserve your space in the next issue. 

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Communications Branch 

Steve Szopa, Director of Communications 

Some of you may have noticed that the print version of the newsletter became available again. If you would like to receive a printed copy of the newsletter, follow the steps below to update your profile and change your delivery settings.

      1. SIGN ON to your profile on the website.
      2. Once signed on click on VIEW PROFILE
      3. Click EDIT PROFILE
      4. Scroll down to the newsletter question "Select your preferred delivery method for receiving the Newsletter" and make your selection
      5. CLICK SAVE to save your preference

    If you have any questions or need help, please contact Donna DIetz at admin@gwscsw.org

    Joel Kanter proposed the idea of facilitating more clinical discussion on the listserv. I supported the idea and the Executive Committee approved it wholeheartedly. Look for an announcement of specific details in early 2021.

    The website will begin a redesign in early 2021. The focus will be on ease of use and creating areas of the website that focus on the interests and needs of social workers at various points in their careers: students and pre-licensed social workers, early career, mid-career, late-career and retired social workers.

    The Social Media Committee will be working on expanding our social media presence. Links to our Facebook site will be moved to a place of prominence on the Home Page. We will be expanding to LinkedIn and Twitter. We welcome anyone with Twitter proficiency to help us set up our Twitter profile together with our Committee Chair, Chana Lockerman.

    The Executive Committee decided to increase transparency in the area of Society management by posting quarterly Board meeting minutes on the website so anyone can read them. Look for the Minutes location once the website has been revised.

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    Community Branch 

    Patricia Gibberman, Director of Community 

    Hello, I am Patti Gibberman, the new Community Branch Director for the 2020-22 term. The Community Branch is humming along with 10 active committees: Annual Dinner, Early Career, Historian, Membership, Mentor Program, Retirees, University Liaison, Volunteer, Wine and Cheese, and the Anti-Racism Taskforce. Since the last newsletter, we have a new Volunteer Coordinator, Susan Post, and a new Wine and Cheese Coordinator, Steve Wechsler. Welcome to the Community Branch! 

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    Mentor Program  

    Nancy Harris

    The GWSCSW Mentor Program continues to be available during this time of social distancing. Mentors are available to meet online. If you’re interested in having a mentor to help you transition from school to workforce, to get started in your career, to answer questions about licensing and online continuing education, please fill out the Mentee Questionnaire located on the GWSCSW website. 

    If you have questions about the GWSCSW Mentor Program, please contact the coordinator, Nancy Harris, LCSW-C, at (301) 385-3375 or at nlharris1214@gmail.com.

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    Education Branch 

    Leila Jelvani, Director of Education | leila.jelvani@gmail.com

    We seek dynamic presenters who can engage the online audience, provide clinical expertise and conduct thought-provoking discussions. ZOOM webinars are a perfect way to share your knowledge and best practices in your area of interest.   We are also looking for presenters on ethics.

    This is a great opportunity to highlight your experience and promote your practice.


    The proposal template and frequently asked questions can be found on the GWSCSW website. Click here to submit a proposal. If you want to present a workshop you have already done, there is no need to submit another proposal. Just contact Donna Dietz, GWSCSW Administrator, and we can pull your previous submission. 

    Proposals must be submitted by licensed clinical social workers who are full members of GWSCSW.   Non-members or non-social workers may present with you.

    There is compensation for presenters of $100 per credit hour, assuming a minimum of 7 attendees.   Currently, all educational offerings are being run via ZOOM - we have had really good turnout at our recent events and this platform has been a great way of helping people attend events.  (We will set up your ZOOM meeting and assist you in using it so you do not have to be ZOOM-proficient to present online.)

    The schedule for CE events will be available on the GWSCSW website and emails will be sent out when it is time to register. 

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    Legislation Branch 

    Judy Gallant, Director of Legislation| Email: judy.gallant@verizon.net 

    On October 17, GWSCSW presented a successful L&A webinar, “Advocacy, Equity & Practice in the Age of COVID-19.” We heard from Sue Rowland, our Virginia lobbyist, and Pam Metz Kasemeyer, our Maryland lobbyist, about issues and activities in each jurisdiction. Adele Natter and Margot Aronson, our DC Legislation & Advocacy Co-chairs, discussed current issues in DC, as well as how responsive the DC Board of Social Work has been to concerns our members have brought to them. Laura Groshong, from the Clinical Social Work Association, discussed the national picture including the potential Medicare reimbursement cuts in 2021, the extension of the state of emergency to January 23, 2021, and the major increase in mental health conditions since March 2020. We had a good turnout, and were especially pleased to welcome colleagues who joined us from the Virginia Society for Clinical Social Work.

    Elsewhere in this newsletter are my introductory remarks to the webinar, tying together how our advocacy work supports our clinical work, and how our clinical experiences strengthen the cases we make to legislators and regulators for important changes that are needed to improve equity for mental health services and protections for mental health care.

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    Volunteer Committee

    The Volunteer Committee exists to help our leaders connect with members willing to put in a little time for the benefit of GWSCSW. Most volunteer “jobs” are brief and specific, especially as all our programming is now on Zoom. If you are willing to put in a few hours on rare occasions please email me and I’ll get back to you. The success of our society relies on all our members.

    Susan Post - susan.post@gmail.com




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    Out and About

    The Spirit's Message: A Story About Living Kindly,” a children's story written by Beth Levine, was just published (October 2020). It has been well-received by both children and adults and can be found on Amazon in print and Kindle. Beth enjoys using her creativity to promote a more peaceful and fair world.

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    GWSCSW Job Board

    GWSCSW is proud to feature a job resource to connect career opportunities with our members.

    Visit the GWSCSW job board to look for jobs or to post a job today.

    Manage Your Career:

    • Search and apply to positions that value your credentials!
    • Upload your anonymous resume so employers can contact you, but you maintain control of your information and choose to whom you release your information.
    • Receive an alert every time a job becomes available that matches your personal profile, skills, interests, and preferred location(s).
    • Access career resources and job searching tips and tools.

    Recruit for Open Positions:

    • Post your jobs, or your institution's jobs, where the most qualified professionals will find and apply to them.
    • Email your jobs directly to job seekers via the exclusive Job Flash email.
    • Search the resume database and contact qualified candidates proactively.


    Classified Advertising

    Advertisements, accompanied by full payment, must be received by  GWSCSW by the first of the month preceding publication. Material should be sent to admin@gwscsw.org. For questions about advertising, call 202-537-0007.

    Adolescent/Young Adult Therapy: CBT, DBT, Medical Illness Counseling, Unified Protocol, Group Therapy. Powerful interventions for depression, anxiety, anger, perfectionism, fear, shame, rumination, social anxiety, ASD and more. Rathbone & Associates. Rely on Experts. 301-229-9490 www.rathbone.info.

    Professional CEUs: Rathbone & Associates Professional Training Program. See our current schedule at www.rathbone.info, click on “Professional Trainings”. Current topics, quality speakers, practical skills.

    Looking for someone to either sublease or assume my lease at The Barr Building at 910 17th Street NW, Suite 315, Washington DC 20006-2604. The Barr Building is an elegant rental building built in 1929 which has several mental health professionals and businesses. It is convenient to 3 Metros (red line and blue and yellow lines) as well as numerous buses. There is parking available for rental in the building and other nearby garages. The building provides cleaning services included in the lease. My office is on the third floor and is a large 2 room suite with a/c and heat included. I use one office for a waiting room and the other as an office but alternatively each room could be used as an office and could sublet a waiting room from another mental health professional. I would expect as we should have a vaccine by the end of the year or beginning of the next, we should be back to "in person" work shortly. If anyone wants to see the office or get more details, please let me know.   910 17th Street NW, Suite 315 | Washington DC 20006-2604 | 202-641-0535 (cell)

    Classified Ads: 75¢ per word | Minimum price $15 (20 words)
    Display Ads: Full page 7 x 9¼ $325 | Half page $250| Quarter page $125 | Eighth page $75  

    Electronic submission (JPG) preferred. Publication does not in any way constitute endorsement or approval by GWSCSW, which reserves the right to reject advertisements for any reason at any time.

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    News & Views

    Nancy Pines, Editor

    News & Views is published four times a year: March, June, September and December.

    Articles expressing the personal views of members on issues affecting the social work profession are welcome and will be reviewed and published at the discretion of the editor. Signed articles reflect the views of the authors; society endorsement is not intended. Articles are subject to editing for space and clarity.

    News & Views Submission Guidelines

    I am the volunteer editor of our quarterly newsletter. I love this job and will stay with it as long as I can or until deposed.  My great helper, Donna Dietz, our administrator, is the designer of the newsletter, She makes it attractive and readable, even though she has a lot of other things to do. If you have a submission, please send it to me: npines12@aol.com. I edit the articles and reports and send them on to the proofers who check up on me. BTW, we have two dedicated proofers, Shoba Nayar and Adele Natter,  but could use another one. Please let me know if you are interested. Email address is above.

    Articles – Focus on your area of expertise and practice, ethical dilemmas, responses to events in the media or other topics relevant to clinical social work. Articles should be 500–700 words.

    Reports- For each newsletter, I hope to hear from all branch and committee people to inform us of their activities.

    Out & About – Share news about you: an article you’ve written, if you’ve been in the news, taught a class, earned a new certification or are a singer, artist or writer. Submissions should be 50 words or less. Send all submissions to npines12@aol.com

    Advertising: admin@gwscsw.org

    Next submission deadline:  February 28, 2021

    Need to reach a Board member?  Click here for the listing of the GWSCSW Board of Directors

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