In This Issue | september 2022
As I step into my new role as the Society’s President, I’m grateful for the dedication of the former President and our Board. Our recent past President, Lynn Grodski, shepherded the Society over the past two years through many challenges. During Lynn’s tenure, the Society not only survived, but thrived, despite the COVID-19 pandemic and the paradigm shift it required. The Society is in excellent financial health, innovating in the way we meet for workshops, networking, and business. Though physically distant, Lynn’s leadership ensured that we remained a cohesive and collaborative body. Her dedication to the Presidency, combined with her business savvy, has had a tremendous positive impact. I am grateful and humbled to follow in her footsteps.
As I write this, I can’t help but think of my initial conversation with Lynn about running for President. “But I’ve never been on your Board,” “Who recommended me?” “Won’t it be weird to be led by someone who’s never been active?”
“That’s fine,” she said, “Many of our leaders were never active before they served.”
Still, this was a stretch. I am a mother with two young children, I have a thriving practice and not much time. As I contemplated the decision, it sat with me that the only clue I had about why I’d been selected was that it was due to my commitment to anti-racism, diversity and inclusion.
I kept returning mentally to the Society’s workshop with Dr. Ken Hardy in February 2021 and one I attended through the American Group Psychotherapy Association in February 2022. I kept hearing him say that to heal the racial wounds in America, those with privilege had to take on more.
“To whom is given, much is expected,” he said. Repeatedly.
Though by no means an expert, I am committed to anti-racism, and to applying its principles to structural decision-making. I have observed, worked with and learned from several psychotherapy organizations struggling with these changes, which often generates uncomfortable internal conflict–something I’m oddly able to tolerate.
Becoming the Society’s President, specifically with this request as my guiding star, seemed an opportunity to do what was expected. I am someone to whom much has been given. I am white, have had excellent educational and social opportunities, and am comfortably financially situated, which grants me flexibility in my practice to devote to this work.
I relay all of this for two reasons:
I have been active in the Society for only a few months, and have already been energized by our Board’s passion and commitment. My anxiety about taking on this role has quickly morphed into excitement, and I look forward to the next two years. Please consider joining us!
Marilyn Stickle with Judy Gallant
The Frances Thomas Award for Legislative Excellence will be awarded to Judith Gallant on September 11, 2022. It was established by the Board of Directors in 2018 to honor the memory of Frances Thomas’s legislative work over decades, most notably her leadership in the coalition-building that led to DC licensure. This year’s recipient has demonstrated outstanding leadership during a time of extreme challenge.
The current Director of the Legislation and Advocacy Branch, Judy has been active since 2011. She worked on issues including parity, protecting therapists from laws that could lead to criminalization for things they “should have known,” and has spent years developing the groundwork for the passage of new regulations. One example is the expansion of teletherapy, especially important when the pandemic struck in 2020.
She created the GWSCSW Toolkit for Virtual Practice, a reference for our members to guide us through the maze of Executive Orders, including new and suspended regulations for all jurisdictions in the DMV. Most recently, working with Laura Groshhong and CSWA’s Government Relations Committee, she has kept us informed about national issues related to clinical social work, including the deceptive practices of CareDash that have ignited communication among our ListServ members.
In a more detailed example of her work, Judy wrote:
In June 2012, I corresponded with Chris Van Hollen about strengthening the Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA). I shared many examples experienced by our members of insurance companies curtailing parity, such as
Parity is an issue about which I have felt strongly since the beginning of my involvement with our Society. It stirred me to action! Through correspondence and organizing numerous members of our Society, in 2012 we attended a Congressional Field Hearing that included, among others, Patrick Kennedy, Joshua Sharfstein, and Chris Van Hollen. Although parity of mentalhealth and addiction treatments still lag those for physical ailments, our presence and voices contributed to the progress that influenced subsequent federal and state legislation.
In accepting the Award, Judy has noted that since the creation of our Society, the major hurdles to obtain licensure, practice independently, and receive insurance reimbursement have been accomplished, while reminding us that ongoing vigilance is required. Attention still needs to be directed to: protecting the scope of our practice, ensuring that we are appropriately compensated and acknowledged for the quality our treatments, ensuring that mental health treatment is easily accessible, and ensuring recognition of our value in providing a systemic approach to mental health treatment, an approach which other clinicians have not necessarily been trained to offer.
Judy Gallant has been a strong advocate for mental health advocacy and legislation for over a decade, giving her time and energy generously. We are pleased to have the opportunity to thank her publicly and to award her with the 2022 Frances Thomas Award for Legislative Excellence.
Friday, October 28, 2022, 9:30 AM – 3:00 PM @ Online ZOOM
GWSCSW is so pleased to welcome back Dr. Frederic G. Reamer, the foremost ethics expert in the field of social work. Dr. Reamer has focused his career on helping mental health professionals across the globe to avoid ethics challenges. He will share his expertise and experience during this 5 hour webinar. REGISTER TODAY!
CEUs: 5.0 (ETHICS CREDIT)
This webinar will provide participants with an in-depth examination of compelling ethical challenges in clinical social work. Moving beyond introductory ethics concepts, Dr. Reamer will explore difficult ethics cases and practical strategies designed to protect clients and practitioners. The webinar will include a series of challenging ethics cases involving conflicting professional duties and discuss practical steps that social workers can take to manage ethical issues skillfully. Key topics will include boundary issues, dual relationships, conflicts of interest, confidentiality, privileged communication, informed consent, clients’ rights, termination of services, and clinicians’ use of technology. The webinar will include discussion of relevant ethical standards; statutes, regulations, and case law; supervision; consultation; and documentation decisions.
Laura Groshong, LICSW, CSWA Director of Policy and Practice
CareDash, BetterHelp, and CSWA
CSWA has been carefully tracking the way that CareDash and BetterHelp were trying to undermine private practice LCSWs by directing prospective patients to their lists of clinicians. For more background, go to https://www.clinicalsocialworkassociation.org/Legislative-Alerts/12868204 .
Due to an overwhelming response from CSWA members and other groups, the most egregious practices have been stopped. There is still more work to do, but here is where things stand.
On August 4, BetterHelp issued a statement which said that they were ending their connection to CareDash. On August 6, CareDash announced that they were backing off their harmful stance toward clinical social workers in private practice as well. While there are still some problems to be resolved, CareDash has 1) stopped their deliberate confusion about LCSW availability; 2) removed their “book an appointment” option, which directed potential patients away from LCSWs who were not part of the CareDash network; and 3) clarified that their information comes from the NPI list of clinicians and has nothing to do with the quality of those clinicians. To see the whole CareDash statement, click on https://twitter.com/caredash/status/1555658652786348032?s=20&t=0wbvSA8XI46b1egY3gvpjg .
I am fairly certain that the outstanding response of CSWA members to the demeaning policies of CareDash had a major impact on their decision to back off their original stance. Thanks to all of you for your great contributions to this effort.
CSWA will continue to insist on the rights of all LCSWs in private practice to have access to all patients who want to see them, without interference by any external organizations. Toward that goal, we have created a petition at https://www.ipetitions.com/petition/stop-caredash-and-betterhelps-duplicitous . I encourage everyone to sign and add your comments on the CareDash/BetterHelp process.
Judy Ratliff and Wayne Martin, Co-Chairs, VA Legislation and Advocacy Committee
The Virginia Health Care Foundation has a program called Boost 200. It is a new initiative that will pay for licensure-required supervision for motivated Master's-prepared social workers to help them become LCSW in VA. For more information, please go to https://www.vhcf.org/boost 200/
The Virginia Telemental Health Initiative (VTMHI) is a pilot program to expand access to timely and appropriate telemental health services to low-income, un-and under-assured patients by collaborating with pre-licensed behavioral and mental health professionals. To help expedite licensure, VTMHI will match the latter with supervisors to achieve needed client contact hours while providing pro-bono support in free and charitable clinics. For more information, please go to https://ehealthvirginia.org/vifrginiatelementalhealth/
Foundational Competencies in Older Adult Mental Health Certificate Program
The E4 Center of Excellence for Behavioral Disparities in Aging, in partnership with CATCH-ON, the Geriatric Workforce Enhancement Program based at Rush, and the Rush Center for Excellence in Aging has developed an online educational program that provides basic knowledge that every mental health clinician needs to work effectively with older adults. It is a 14 hour certificate program that can serve as a first step in developing competency in older adult mental health. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
Petition for Rulemaking
Below, please find information on rulemaking by Joe Lynch, the Legislative and Advocacy Chair for the Virginia Society for Clinical Social Workers (VSCSW).
Judy Ratliff, Co-Chair, email@example.com | Wayne Martin, Co-Chair, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Interstate Social Work Compact: Attached and also you can see it at this hyperlink: https://compacts.csg.org/compact-updates/social-work/
- Petition for Rule-Making: Attached and you can see it at this hyperlink: https://townhall.virginia.gov/L/ViewPetition.cfm?petitionId=371
- Estimated Economic Impact on MSW supervisees
- Letter to Jaime Hoyle requesting Administrative Change
- NASW notice to CareDash and Better Help
- Message to VSCSW and GWSCSW
- Assessment of the Capacity of Virginia’s Licensed Behavioral Health Workforce: Attached and also at this hyperlink: https://www.vhcf.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/BH-Assessment-Final-1.11.2022.pdf
- VBSW-approved supervisor list
- Psychology letter re: Emotional Support animals
- VSCSW and GWSCSW Legislative Committee Meeting Agenda 8-9-22
- Grant opportunities for MSWs under supervision, to receive funds to pay for supervision toward LCSW
Judy Ratliff, LCSC , recently retired from work but not from GWSCSW or from life. She is the Co-Chair, VA Legislation and Advocacy Committee.
Legislation and Advocacy Luncheon
Judy Gallant, LCSW-C, Program Chair
The GWSCSW will host our 8th Annual FREE Legislation and Advocacy Luncheon (virtual) on Sunday, November 6, 10 am-12 noon. “Legislation and Advocacy in Turbulent Times” will feature our lobbyists, Pam Kasemeyer with Christine Krone (MD) and Sue Rowland (VA), as well as all of our committee chairs. Laura Groshong, CSWA Director of Policy and Practice will also join us to give a national view. How have changes in the delivery system for services (telehealth creating businesses like CareDash and Better Help; CareFirst pushing for sign-up with their new management system) impacted our patients and our practices? What have we needed to do differently? What needs to stay the same? What still needs to be advocated for? Come learn-and help educate us about what’s on your mind!
Registration is a free benefit to our members, but you must register to attend! Please see the boxed invitation elsewhere in the newsletter, and click on the link to register. I look forward to seeing you there.
See individual jurisdiction articles for the current updates. Be sure to contact one of us with any questions or suggestions you might have, or to join one of the committees: in DC, Adele Natter, email@example.com; in Maryland, Judy Gallant, firstname.lastname@example.org; and in Virginia, Judy Ratliff, email@example.com, or Wayne Martin, firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to hearing from you.
Deborah J Fox, MSW
Even if you’ve relegated Covid concerns to the back burner, you may still be feeling the effects of having had to dramatically alter your lifestyle over the last two-plus years. That pandemic lifestyle of hunkering down, binge watching shows, eating take-out, not exercising, and working in your bedroom, didn’t lend itself to a lively vibe in your relationship with your partner.
We are a species who loves variety when it comes to romance. When the pandemic brought us all to an abrupt halt, we went into survival mode and sameness became the norm. Now it’s time to burn those baggy sweats, banish the worn-out pajamas to the back of the drawer, and don some more attractive attire in your most flattering colors. Put a spark of aliveness back in your day-to-day, even when you’re working from home. Making this simple effort sends the message, “I’m back! And ready to connect and have fun with you!”
Just as cars don’t run without gas, relationships don’t thrive without dedicated attention. Quality time together, doing something fun and relaxing, can put some needed pizazz back into pandemic-weary relationships. Yet again, another movie isn’t the answer. It’s time to bring back the date night. Do you cross off date nights as too much work to plan? One of the fallouts from the lockdown is that staying home glued to a screen became just a little too comfortable. You may be one of the many people who now finds it daunting to go out and about as you once did. The tendency to permanently adopt a couch potato way of living is an impulse worth resisting. We humans become dull without stimulation - and very poor company.
Do you cross off date nights as too expensive, especially amidst the highest inflation in decades? It’s time to be creative, and date night doesn’t have to be at night. How about a hike in the woods, bringing with you a picnic to enjoy along with the setting sun? Or a museum visit followed by a walk to a wine bar, before eating at home (avoiding the cost of a dinner out)? Or take a walk or bike ride through a part of town that you haven’t been to in a long time.
Date night can also mean staying at home, but just dressing it up a bit. Being intentional is the important piece. Arrange an earlier bedtime for the kids, find that outfit or dress shirt that’s been decaying in the closet, pop the cork, and eat dinner by candlelight. Do you worry that you have nothing to say to each other after two years of seeing each other way too much? Get one of the many available card games for couples, some that include conversation starters on topics that just don’t occur to you. Some games are designed for a group dinner, so consider inviting friends over for a potluck and pool your resources to hire a babysitter to entertain the kids.
Consider day trips or an occasional overnight out of town. It can take time to unwind and find a new rhythm of being together. Changing gears from a work mode or managing the household isn’t a snap for most people.
What’s most important is to do something different. We need routine to feel secure and we need novelty to make us feel alive. Doing something different, however commonplace the activity itself may seem, can lift up your spirits and put some energy back into your relationship. Think once-a-week, not once-a-month; we’re creatures who need frequent recharging.
Intimate touch took a huge hit during the pandemic for many couples and it can be a struggle to figure out how to get back on track. Intimate touch doesn’t always mean sexual touch. Couples get hijacked away from pleasure-oriented touch by the idea that all touch should lead to high arousal and orgasms for all, every time.
Prolonged hugs, a casual arm slung over her shoulder, an affectionate swipe across his back as you pass by, are ways to make your partner feel connected, and tend to create a vibe that puts an element of sexuality in the air.
Some of what creates sexual disconnection in any scenario is misinformation, brought to you by almost any screen you’ve ever watched. You may be one of those people who walks down the street with every sixth thought being sexual. You may be partnered with someone who never has a sexual thought walking down that same street. The world often divides into these two groups, known as spontaneous and responsive sexual styles, and they usually partner with someone from the other group. Both are completely normal, but the spontaneous style is often the only one that is known about.
For responsive people, context is everything. Fatigue, preoccupation with a worry about a child, or a work deadline are total buzz kills. Another prominent feature of this group is that sexual desire tends to show up after they’re engaged in touching. The biggest mistake people make is to assume that sexual desire should always be a prerequisite. This mistake leads to much lost opportunity!
“I’m not in the mood,” is not an uncommon thought for a responsive person. However, “What could put me in the mood to be open to engage in physical touch?” opens up possibilities. Perhaps a conversation, a shared glass of wine or cup of tea, a foot massage, a hot bath, or your partner putting the kids to bed, could change the context. There’s a bridge between where your head is at the moment and where it could be; you just have to build it.
Getting back on that track of enjoying each other isn’t about the stars aligning just right. It’s about making your relationship a priority and tending to it in an active way.
GWSCSW continues to welcome new members to the Society. We encourage you to take a moment and look through the website (GWSCSW.org) and familiarize yourselves with all that GWSCSW has to offer. Join a committee! Get involved! If you’re a brand-new social worker, please check out the Early Career Committee or the Mentor Program.
Benefits of Society Membership
Best of all, you will network with a region-wide community of social workers who demonstrate professionalism and expertise in a wide range of practice areas.
Nancy Harris, Mentor Liaison
The Mentor Program is available for GWSCSW members who are still in school, newly-graduated, approaching their clinical licensure, and those wondering about the next steps. Mentors can assist with questions about career direction, licensing, continuing education, relationships with supervisors, and decisions about what to do after clinical licensure. Mentorship is a powerful tool to enhance new social workers’ development.
If you are a member of GWSCSW and interested in signing up, please fill out the Mentor Program form or contact Nancy Harris, LCSW-C, coordinator of the Mentor Program, for questions. Her phone is (301) 385-3375, email is nlharris1214@gmail.
You can also reach her at www.gwscsw.com/mentoring
Experienced social workers are always welcome to be mentors themselves. The application form to be a mentor is found at the same place on the GWSCSW website.
Steve Szopa, Communications Branch Director
Our Newsletter and Listserve continue to be popular membership benefits. We recently redesigned our website but remain open to feedback about how to enrich the website and make it more responsive to your needs. Our new Social Media Consultant is helping us to be a more visible and active presence. We are on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Linked In.
Feel free to visit and interact with us. GWSCSW's social media sites are a useful tool for you to know what is going on with the Society.
PLEASE LIKE US AND FOLLOW GWSCSW ON ALL SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS!
Erika Bugaj, Community Branch Director
The Community Branch is the largest branch and the heart of our Society. As its name suggests, it is all about community! It provides many rewarding opportunities for involvement and connection.
Currently, we are looking for a new chairperson for the Volunteer Committee and a new co-chairperson for the Networking Committee, as well as a new Community Branch Director for the upcoming term of 2022-2024. I would be willing to mentor the new director. If you or anybody you know would be interested in any of these positions, please ask them to contact me at email@example.com.
The Volunteer Committee Chair recruits volunteers to help at various events, like the Annual Cocktail Party, and helps new members find their respective committees of interest.
The Networking Committee Chair provides monthly informal opportunities for GWSCSW members to meet, socialize, and network over Zoom. These events can be themed, according to the needs of our members. Tory Huesgen has volunteered to co-chair this committee. All she needs is another co-chair to work with her.
The Community Branch Director oversees and assists with the activities of the many committees of the Community Branch.
Remember, you get more out of the Society if you put more into it! These are great opportunities to become involved!
We’re always looking for workshop presenters. Are you a clinical social worker? Do you have expertise in a subject area you would like to share with fellow members? Please consider submitting a proposal via our online form, which can be here. Prior to submitting a proposal, please review our proposal guidelines.
Finally, if you’re interested in supporting the efforts of the GWSCSW Education Branch, please consider joining the Education Branch committee. It’s a great way to network, identify and outreach compelling presenters, and shape the educational offerings of the Society. We are dedicated to supporting efforts to further anti-racism in clinical social work and invite those who are committed to that work to join us. Please click HERE above for more information about how to volunteer.
GWSCSW is proud to feature a job resource to connect career opportunities with our members.
Manage Your Career:
Recruit for Open Positions:
Advertisements, accompanied by full payment, must be received by GWSCSW by the first of the month preceding publication. Material should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. For questions about advertising, call 202-537-0007.
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Relationship Enhancement® Therapy for Couples and Families. Two-day training via live interactive webinar, Oct. 21-22, 2022. Cost: $325, includes RE Therapist Manual and packet of handouts. | Register at: https://nire.org/workshop-registration/
Presenter: Robert Scuka, PhD, MSW, LCSW-C | Author of Relationship Enhancement Therapy: Healing through Deep Empathy and Intimate Dialogue
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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
If you have a submission, please send it to me: firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 email@example.com.
Next submission deadline: October 31, 2022
Need to reach a Board member? Click here for the listing of the GWSCSW Board of Directors