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  • Monday, April 18, 2022 12:31 PM | Anonymous

    The lobbying expenses for FY21

    MD- $21,999.96  
    VA - $0

    Total Lobbying Expenses = $21,999.96 + $1,570 = $23,569.96

    Membership dues = $86,977.95

    The updated calculation results in 27.10%

  • Saturday, March 19, 2022 3:30 PM | Anonymous


    by Chana Lockerman

    There was once a time when clinical social workers could not practice independently, serve on insurance panels, or educate other social workers. That time was 40 years ago, when GWSCSW was formed in 1975. Back in 1975, a small group of clinical social workers gathered in one member’s living room to establish the Greater Washington Society for Clinical Social Work. They came together to fight for licensure for clinical social workers, something that was not yet in existence in the three jurisdictions they hoped to change. Eloise Agger served as the first Society president, from 1975 to 1977. During that time, GWSCSW’s small membership met in members’ homes, as they brought the issue of licensure to Virginia, Maryland, and DC. By the time Vesta Downer was president, from 1978 to 1979, membership had grown to five people! Those who remember those early days, recalled the “competency of fellow members” and the “spirit of suffragettes.” They worked to recruit new members and raise funds. Many social workers joined, ready to be free from the restriction that their work be performed under the oversight of a psychiatrist. A Maryland lobbyist named Peter Masetti was hired. Maryland licensure passed in 1977, with Virginia passing licensure in 1978. In DC, the Society faced a setback when clinical social workers were excluded from the 1983 Health Occupations Bill. DC licensure passed in 1987. By the time the Society celebrated its 10th anniversary in 1985, there were 298 members, and licensure in Maryland and Virginia. GWSCSW continued to push for DC licensure, and in the 1980s took on a new goal: the issue of vendorship, or the ability to serve on insurance panels. GWSCSW used the lessons learned from the fight for licensure to lobby for vendorship. Together with NASW, GWSCSW lobbied hard for this issue, and was successful in all three jurisdictions in the late-1980s. Marcie Solomon described, “It was an amazing exciting time. I had never been involved in anything political before and I found myself in the leadership of the successful efforts to get vendorship in Maryland, licensure and vendorship in Virginia and licensure and vendorship in D.C., all within this little period of time. The teamwork, creativity and generosity all around was simply wonderful. What an opportunity and honor it was for me.”

    At the same time, in the 1980s, the Society was blazing a trail for social workers to educate themselves without oversight from other professions. Until that time, social workers earned CEUs from classes taught by psychiatrists and psychologists, Many early members were involved—too many to name here. The motto was “Education for Clinical Social Workers and by Clinical Social Workers.” Anne Stephansky developed a supervision course, which was a big morale booster in this effort. During this time of challenge and change, Society membership topped 600. By the early-1990s the Society’s early goals had been met. Membership reached 700, and there continued to be a focus on clinical social work’s legislative agenda. But there were more challenges ahead. In the midto late-1990s, the profession was challenged again, this time by the rise of managed care. Clinical social workers across the country struggled in the managed care climate. The Clinical Social Work Federation (the precursor to the CSWA), a national organization of which GWSCSW was a member, advanced a controversial plan to deal with the managed care threat. The Federation proposed that social workers form a guild, akin to a union. Members of the GWSCSW were split on how to proceed. Some wanted to work with the Federation and join the guild. Others opposed the guild and questioned whether it was the best way to protect the GWSCSW’s best interests. These were tense times for the Society. Not only was local opinion divided on the issue of the guild, national opinion was divided too. The clinical social work societies in New York and California seceded from the Federation over this issue. GWSCSW decided to put the question of whether or not to affiliate with the guild to a vote. It was decided by a vote not to affiliate with the guild. After a time, the national guild failed. At the same time, GWSCSW was going through some growing pains. Professional staff was hired to work on day-to-day operations. The expense of working with professional staff became too much for members, who left the society due to rising dues. Membership plunged to 200. These were dark times for the Society. Membership was low, funds were running out, and the leadership struggled against many challenges. The professional staff was let go, membership continued to fall, and the Society owed dues to the Federation that it could not pay. The Board felt exhausted and dispirited, unsure whether or not the Society would continue. In June 2001, Marilyn Austin volunteered to serve as president, with the vision that the Society was “the phoenix rising from the ashes.” The new board decided to reduce dues, in a successful effort to bring membership numbers back up. They committed to a vision of the Society that brought together a legislative agenda and focused on education. Monthly meetings took place, along with dinners in local restaurants, featuring interesting speakers. All the time, the focus was on the identity of clinical social work as a profession. Following Marilyn, Margot Aronson served as president from 2002 to 2005. During her term, the Society paid off its debts to the Federation, and continued to focus on education. She remembered, “At the beginning of my presidency we were still pulling things back together and sorting out what the millennial Society would look like—and flying by the seat of our pants. In our collegial GWSCSW, it was easy learning on the job, trying out ideas, doing over after mistakes, working with and sharing the pleasure with others as the Society got back on its feet and began to flourish.” Diana Seasonwein followed Margot as president, and brought together clinical social work and her legal interests. She started the prepaid legal plan and the 501(c)(3). The newsletter was renamed News & Views, and was an important source of community and information. Jan Sklennik was hired as administrative coordinator, and the structure of the Society grew. Susan Post helped build momentum for the society and structured the budget process. Sydney Frymire helped to successfully welcome the Maryland clinical society members when their organization disbanded. Use of technology grew. Sydney tasked Irene Walton and Marie Choppin with overseeing the creation and development of the new website. The Society, now robust, began to look toward the future. Kate Rossier did a great part of the research for this article, and was reluctant to sing her own praises (Kate, you knew I was going to anyway). During her presidency, the Society’s social media presence grew, the Early Career/Graduate committee flourished, and efforts began to archive documents related to the GWSCSW’s history. The Society is more than 900 members strong, and growing stronger every day.

    Chana Lockerman, LICSW, LCSW-C is in private practice at Rock Creek Counseling.

  • Wednesday, March 02, 2022 9:12 PM | Anonymous

    It is perhaps not wise for the chair of the Social Media Committee to admit to anything less than complete confidence in using social media, so let’s keep it to ourselves. Between you and me, I have a passingly adequate skill set. I know enough to fake it, until my ineptness outs me.

    My grandmother would be aghast that I am about to reveal my age, so if you run into a 90-year-old retiree in Florida who resembles me, keep it to yourself: (cue the whisper) I’m in my 40’s. Members who like me squint into the mirror, noting that we have both a growing population of silvery hairs and an inability to see them, will possibly relate to my media habits. I love seeing baby pictures, even the occasional cat, and enjoy keeping up with family and friends. Some of us promote businesses or ourselves via social media. However, I have come to find that as the social media sandwich generation, my usage is completely unlike those both older and younger. We are excited to offer outreach to all, no matter what your comfort and familiarity with social media.

    The Social Media Committee is committed to using our platforms to draw people closer and forge a sense of connection. To that end, we have some fantastic new offerings. We are now on multiple media! Look for us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter. If you are using any of those platforms, please connect. Here’s a link to our website where you will find links to our various social media profiles in the top right corner: https://www.gwscsw.org/

    We’re working with a wonderful social media consultant (see the Social Media Committee Board Report for an introduction), who is helping us to amplify our voice.

    For those who identify as social media-hesitant, we have offerings for you! Stay tuned for a helpful video that will explain some of the privacy settings on social media, as well as an upcoming course on social media, privacy, and ethics.

    As always, let us know how we can best serve you! Please write to:  chana@rockcreekcounseling.com

  • Wednesday, March 02, 2022 9:10 PM | Anonymous

    Are you a later-career social worker beginning to think about scaling back?  Have you set a date for your retirement and could benefit from a supportive group with others also actively planning retirement?     Are you already retired and  want to remain more connected?

    Consider joining a Clinical Society Senior Seminar

    Our Clinical Society has active seminar groups in Virginia, Maryland and D.C that meet monthly, nowadays by zoom.  If you are interested in participating, you are welcome to phone me, Grace Lebow (240-858-4738),  for further detailed information and for any questions.

    Group leaders were asked to provide a yearly review of their groups, to give you a sense of the  various ways the groups function.

    N.W. D.C. Seminar: Estelle Berley and Carolyn DeVilbuss

    Our Clinical Senior Seminar has continued to meet by zoom throughout the past year, usually on a monthly basis.Our group was the first, started by Grace Lebow in 2006.  Estelle Berley assumed leadership and we met at her home until the COVID pandemic required us to meet virtually.  Several of our members have moved away during this time.  Zoom access has enabled one member to join us frequently from her home in Boston.  Currently, eight members remain active with the group.  Most are fully-retired, though we offer CEU’s for members who still maintain their license.  Our discussions are led by rotating leadership, and alternate between non-fiction and fiction books that focus on current social and political issues, as well as more personal topics relevant to our circumstances in retirement.

    N.W. D.C NOVA Seminar:  Susan Miller 

    My group is starting its sixth year together.  We continue to be a group of nine.  We continue to meet online.  Attendance is excellent.  Satisfaction is high.  Since the beginning of the group six years ago, two members have fully retired.  Four members have cutback.  Three members continue to work full throttle.  

    Virginia Seminar: Paula Donovan (in behalf of Rebecca Harrison)

    Our group of nine members is now in its fifth year!  When we began, we had a mix of already-retired clinicians, others scaling down, and others still working full time.  In the intervening years we have shared our professional and personal transitions drawing on many of those same capacities that we brought to our social work practice.  Those who were still working full time when they joined the group are now either fully retired or have scaled back significantly.
    Our group is precious to each of us.  We moved on-line due to Covid, and these connections continue to help us all a great deal. W
    e would like to thank you, Grace, for this wonderful initiative, which encourages retiring and retired social workers to convene as professional and personal support groups for each other.

    NOVA Seminar: Patti Gibberman and Hannah Craven

    We have eight members in our Senior Seminar which is facilitated by Hannah Craven and Patti Gibberman. Our first meeting was in April 2021, and the group has coalesced quickly.  We meet monthly virtually, and interest and attendance have been excellent. We are reading the book Forced Endings in Psychotherapy by Anne Power, and discussing both the book and our feelings about retirement. So far only one member of our group is actually retired. The rest are either contemplating retirement or moving towards retirement.  Everyone is grateful that the Clinical Society has sponsored this type of gathering for the membership.

    N.W. D C. Seminar: Marcie Solomon

    Our group has been meeting for just under four years.  We began with nine members and have been at six for the past two years, although one of those six is currently on a "leave of absence" due to a major move to a new residence.  At the onset of the pandemic, we chose to double up on the frequency of our meetings, going from monthly to bi-weekly and the group has indeed become increasingly meaningful and intimate.  Until recently we were meeting exclusively via zoom, but we have had a few in-person meetings recently. Zoom does continue to be an attractive option if one of our members is medically unable to attend in-person but would otherwise like to attend.  It is a support group that we all value.

    Bethesda Area Seminar: Karen Goldberg

    Our group has now been meeting monthly for three years, initially at the Connie Morella Library, now on zoom  We currently have 11 members, eight women and three men.   Since we started, two members have completely retired, three were retired when the group began, three work part-time, one sees a single client, and two are actively transitioning into retirement.  All of the retired or nearly retired members continue to be engaged in service oriented activities, participation in GWSCSW, and/or offering supervision. With the pandemic, we started meeting virtually.  The members have many times commented on how much support the group has been in coping and adjusting to uncertain and constantly unfolding circumstances. More recently, with everyone vaccinated, we have held discussions about meeting in-person, but since two members have compromised immune systems, we are continuing to meet virtually for the time being.  The scope of the group continues to focus on the transition to retirement and moving forward, as well as on life transitions in general, including aging.  We draw on the experiences and wisdom of the members, as well as on other's resources, i.e. books, articles, podcasts, etc. that members suggest.  The group also serves to bring a range of life-building resources to the members' attention.

    Grace, I am honored to facilitate a group of such wise and caring members and appreciate your having created the Senior Seminar program.  If you ever are in need of assistance with growing it further, please feel free to reach out.

    Silver Spring Seminar:  Judy Gallant and Nancy Harris

    We began with two good meetings in the summer, one at each of our houses.  Due to health and other interruptions, we have not yet had a third meeting. Our group hopes to start up again in the spring and will welcome new people to join us.  For more information please contact me, Nancy Harris at nlharris1214@gmail.com

  • Wednesday, December 01, 2021 8:45 PM | Anonymous
    Source:  https://blog.therapynotes.com/how-to-maximize-tax-write-offs-for-therapists By Sarita Gulati | November 24, 2021

    As a therapist, keeping track of your finances can bring up a lot of difficult feelings. It may feel like your practice’s financials are hanging over your head. You might be dealing with a full caseload of clients, pinching pennies trying to figure out how to best market yourself, or feel lost overall at the idea of getting your financial books in order. After all, you didn’t become a therapist to spend all of your time worrying about money or taxes.

    Despite this, feelings of uncertainty or anxiety around your business finances are completely normal. Your graduate program never talked about how to file your taxes, much less calculate your deductions or tax write-offs. So, how do you make your finances work for you and feel more secure in propelling your practice to financial success? This is where it can be helpful to utilize an accounting company to assist with bookkeeping and managing your taxes. Services such as Heard can come in to take care of your books, relieve stress around your finances, and empower you to feel successful when filing your taxes and managing your practice.

    One of the key financial hacks for a therapist, or anyone running their own business, is mastering the art of the tax deduction. At first glance it can seem overwhelming, but learning how to use tax deductions to your advantage can save you a lot of money in the process, ultimately setting you and your therapy practice up for the utmost success.

    What are tax deductions?

    Anything with the word tax in it can draw up a bit of fear, but tax deductions or write-offs are actually an extremely advantageous part of the tax process! Tax deductions are ultimately deductions to your taxes that come from business-related expenses. You are able to subtract or “write off” certain expenses from your income, and then are taxed on the remainder of your income as your standard income tax. The terms “tax deduction” and “tax write-off” can be used interchangeably.

    It’s important to note that, as amazing and helpful as they can be, tax deductions must come only from expenses that are directly related to your business. (No personal expenses allowed!)

    Common expenses and tax write-offs for therapists

    Whether you have a solo practice or group practice, there are many expenses you can incur when running your own therapy business. Whether you’re attending workshops, have your own office or travel for work, you might be making a variety of payments over the course of the year that you’ll then be able to count as tax deductible. 

    Some of the most common opportunities for tax write-offs for therapists and mental health professionals include:

    • Office (and Home Office) Expenses. As telehealth continues to grow, therapists have spent more and more on home office supplies and desk set-ups than ever before. Office expenses are eligible for write-offs as they are, of course, helping you to run your business! This can include anything from pens, scissors, staplers, and postage to cleaning supplies and small furniture or décor.
    • Marketing and Advertising. How much money are you spending to market yourself per year? Marketing costs can be written off as a tax deduction and include anything used to promote yourself. Sometimes this looks like paid search or Google ad spending for your practice, but it can also be something more tangible such as print advertisements and business cards. Costs for your website and domain name can be included here too, as both contribute to your ability to market your own business!
    • Office Rent and Utilities. Are you running your practice from an office? Your rent, along with utilities such as a phone or electric bill, can typically be written off. If you’re currently working out of your home or your utilities are only partially used for business use, you’ll only be able to deduct a percentage of your business usage. In the latter case, we recommend working directly with your financial advisor or accountant to determine what kind of write-off is best for you.
    • Membership Fees. As a therapist, you may pay dues to a variety of organizations and groups, such as the American Psychological Association. This is a great way to stay connected with other therapists, learn about continuing education opportunities, or utilize further therapy resources around any specialty you may be interested in.
    • Legal and Professional Fees. Any fees charged by accounting services are considered tax deductible! Using bookkeeping and tax platforms, like Heard which is specifically designed for therapists and mental health practitioners, can work with you directly to manage your private practice finances, and would be considered a professional fee or expense. This category can also include any lawyers, consultants, or other professionals you work with.
    • Travel Expenses. Travel can be costly, so this is an important write-off to pay attention to. Tax deductions from travel must always be used for business purposes, and require that you are away from your residential city for at least 24 hours. (For instance, road tripping for a client session an hour north of your home wouldn’t count.) Costs that can be written off include your mileage, meals and parking.
    • Business Meals. Whether you’re getting coffee or a meal with a coworker, client, or consultant, you can write these costs off. However, these must be business related! Personal meal expenses don’t count solely because you are running a business.
    • Bank Fees. Bank fees can be few and far between, but they do add up after a while. You can write off expenses for checking or savings account fees, interest, or credit card processing fees from your taxes.
    • Software Services. Many different software services are required to run a business! That means as a practice management software with opportunities for billing, note taking, calendar scheduling and more, TherapyNotes™ is a great example of a write-off expense. You may also use additional software to run your practice, such as Google Drive for document sharing, iCloud for storage, or Gusto for paying contractors. These can all be deducted from your taxes at the end of the year.
    • Continuing Education. A common practice among mental health practitioners is continuing your education. Therapists are always looking to learn and grow in their practices, attending courses, workshops and conferences to improve their skills. Any continuing education expenses you rack up can be written off from your taxes, saving you a lot of money and giving you more bang for your buck!
    • Business Registration and Licensure Fees. If you’re new to private practice, writing off your start-up costs, such as registration and fees for licensure, can be a game changer. You won’t be able to write off your initial license, but any time you are required to renew it, it can be classified as a tax deduction.
    • Personal Psychotherapy. Money spent on personal sessions also has the potential to be deducted on your tax return; sessions ultimately contribute to your mental health and empower you to learn and grow in your profession. Be sure to check with your financial advisor for their best recommendation around this deduction, as accountants and advisors are often split between whether this can become a write-off.
    • Depreciation expenses. Depreciation expenses can be a tricky subject, but they’re important to understand as they can offer you a hefty write-off come tax season! For something to qualify as a “depreciation expense”, it must be a larger-scale purchase over $2,500. For those in therapy and mental healthcare, one of the most common depreciation expenses is office furniture. (You’ve got to keep your clients comfy somehow, right?) You can choose to deduct depreciating purchases from your taxes in the first year after purchase, or in small increments over the years the item is used.

    Should I work with a finance or tax professional?

    Tax deductions can definitely come in handy and save you lots of dollars in the long run, and with the above list, you’re ready to tackle them. But while these categories provide a solid overview of write-offs that will benefit your business, your deductions can vary based on your business entity and personal situation. The above categories are a quick sample of how you or your bookkeeping service can organize your books. This way, you can pay attention to where your cash is going and how best to maximize it come tax season. When the end of the fiscal year rolls around, all of your practice’s business expenses will be in one place and you’ll be all the better for it.

    * The content of this post is intended to serve as general advice and information. It is not to be taken as legal advice and may not account for all rules and regulations in every jurisdiction. For legal advice, please contact an attorney.

    About Sarita Gulati

    Sarita Gulati

    Sarita Gulati is the Content & Partnerships Lead at Heard, a bookkeeping and tax platform for therapists, intended to ease the financial burdens of mental health therapy services and track the financial health of your practice. A proud partner of TherapyNotes™, Heard can help get your practice on the right financial path toward success. 

  • Wednesday, September 01, 2021 5:15 PM | Anonymous

    Chana Lockerman, Social Media Committee Chair

    I was standing at the bus stop for camp the other day, chatting with other parents and looking at the news on my phone. Parents were parking their cars, helping children out, putting on sunscreen and bug spray, making sure that faces were masked and hats on, waving goodbye and blowing kisses as the bus pulled away. Most everyone was dressed for work: dress shirt on the top, bike shorts or comfies on the bottom. It was both incongruous and normal. I too was wearing a dress shirt on top, paired with stretch pants and sneakers. Another parent remarked that they spend the day on the computer and could never imagine heading off to offer a day’s worth of therapy. I laughed because now I’m on the computer too. In fact, before the pandemic, I worked off an old and slow computer, having no need for computerized speed. Now I head home in my work-from-home outfit to sit in front of a computer like everyone else. I’m on a new and faster computer now, with better screen resolution. I’ve finally gotten those reading glasses so I can better see the keyboard and screen (we could use a column about denial to explore my feelings about achieving middle age).

    It just so happened that on the day I stood there laughing with that other parent because now I work on a computer too, I saw the announcement from CVS that they would start offering mental health services via their in-store clinics. I tried to imagine myself into the role that those social workers are taking on. It must be an intense and difficult job! There is no way to know who is walking in the door and with what problems and psychopathologies. It feels in keeping with trends toward teletherapy – we are being asked to help people with whom we may have less connection and less resources to help.

    In the last Tech Talk column, we learned about the prevalence of new practice models for members, often technology-based. Today we’re asking how to support our members in the new reality. Please write in with your questions, thoughts, and meditations on the new and quickly evolving practice models and how we can support each other toward success and fulfillment.

    In the meantime, I’ll show up with my crazy but normal outfits, pop on those reading glasses, and look forward to sharing ideas with you. Laughs about teletherapy also appreciated.

  • Tuesday, June 01, 2021 5:15 PM | Anonymous

    Chana Lockerman

    My transition to full-time teletherapy in March 2020 was abrupt. A symptomatic individual came into the building and that was the turning point for my practice. I shut the office down in an instant, emailed afternoon clients that their sessions would be online, and hurried home to shower. There was no time to take stock or think it through. I saw clients in-person that morning and haven’t since.

    It was easier than expected to make the change.  I was already seeing a very small number of clients via teletherapy. I already had the platform and know-how. I’ve also been teaching online since 2018, and so was familiar with (dare I say skilled in) building rapport in the virtual space.

    Even with my previous experience, online therapy was exhausting. But then something happened. I got used to it. I even started to like it. Online work even began to feel fun. I found myself thinking back on the many home visits of my home-based therapy days. So much could be accomplished with the client in their own environment! And I was comfortable in my environment, in my comfy pants, in my house, with my dog at my side. I surprised myself in wanting to keep this going, imagining one or two days in the office, with the rest of my working days happening at home.

    I was curious to find out if my feelings and experiences were similar to others’, so I set out to survey our members about their own teletherapy experiences. I was also curious about plans for future use of teletherapy after the pandemic crisis subsides. The results were overwhelmingly positive: 95% of respondents plan to use teletherapy after Covid. Two thirds of respondents will use teletherapy for at least 50% of their practice, some for much more. Survey respondents used words like “blessing”, “surprisingly effective”, and “I love it” to describe their positive experiences. Many felt that teletherapy removed barriers in accessing care.

    There were respondents who shared negative feelings about teletherapy. I hope they find that this write-up honors their points of view as well. Some used words like “frustrated” or “mixed.” Like any intervention, there will be those for whom it is not a good fit, therapist and client alike. I hope we can talk more about holding space for those who prefer in-person therapy in an increasingly online world.

    For those looking to continue with teletherapy in the longer term, there are some needs that were identified. These include insurance coverage for teletherapy, better internet connections, better devices, and cost-effective HIPAA-compliant platforms. Many also identified interstate licensure as a major issue. See the Legislative Branch’s report for more information about the amazing work being done to create an interstate compact for social workers!

    For me, the opportunities feel endless. There have been challenges, to be sure. Just as I have a window into clients’ lives, they have a window into mine. It has been positive for clients to see that my life is no different from theirs. Clients will ask, “What’s that sound?” and I’ll have to explain that my dog is chewing on the doorframe or my child is downstairs belting out songs from Frozen II. Clients laugh. Laughter is, after all, the best medicine.

    The Committee is actively seeking new members! If you would like to help out, have ideas for future Tech Talk columns, or just want to connect, please email chana@rockcreekcounseling.com .

  • Monday, March 01, 2021 5:13 PM | Anonymous

    Do you have that ZOOM burnout but need connection?  Below are some gathering ideas where you can connect with other colleagues on remote activities.  If you are interested in hosting a gathering for other GWSCSW members we would love to co-host the event.  

    Watch movies together using Zoom

    Zoom offers a screen sharing feature, and it actually works well for watching movies. This has considerably expanded the number of Nicolas Cage movies available to us, which increased the quality of our lives.

    Schedule a Zoom meeting with your crew, as always. The host of the movie night should legally acquire the movie ahead of time and be ready to play it. When the time comes, hit the Share screen button, then make sure the Share computer sound and Optimize Screen Share for Video Clip buttons are both checked.

    Play games together online

    • Board games can work surprisingly well online. Board Game Arena offers a wide variety of free games you can play in your browser. 

    • Party games can also work well. Jackbox is probably the most common example, and for good reason: it's fun. Some of the games are trivia, some are opportunities to make jokes, but all of it is low pressure. In person, the game is played using a combination of a TV screen and everyone's individual phones. 

    Bake or cook together

    Find a relatively straightforward recipe, make sure everyone has time to buy the ingredients, then hop on a call together and try to make it. This is a fun way to connect and share cooking/baking tips! D

    Do a Virtual Walk together

    Start a video call and go for a walk outdoors, chat and explore each other's outdoor areas.

  • Monday, June 01, 2020 5:10 PM | Anonymous

    By Chana Lockerman

    With gratitude to Tech Tips for many years of service, the Social Media Committee celebrates this column’s retirement. We’re excited to announce a new column that reaches beyond the “how-to” perspective of Tech Tips and explores the dynamic relationship between technology and social work, and how social workers interact with technology in our ever-changing world.

    Years ago when Tech Tips was born, many GWSCSW members were first working out how to integrate technology into their social work practice. We’ve come a long way since this column first helped to manage email, electronic medical records, and what we now consider the basic technologies of the mental health field.

    Our new column is here to serve you, so it’s only right that you name it! Please submit your suggestions to name our new column to chana@rockcreekcounseling.com.

  • Saturday, June 01, 2019 3:36 PM | Anonymous

    A few years ago, I wrote an article for the Newsletter entitled "Enough Already," or "Why I Don't Accept Insurance." My life has taken an interesting turn since that time.

    The article was written when I was in the full flower of my practice, with the phone ringing often enough that it seemed that there was some kind of stream that was feeding it. Along with fee-for-service clients, I was buoyed by referrals from an Employee Assistance Program, which helped me keep my hours full.

    The first hint that something was happening was when the EAP referrals dried up. Calls and emails did not elicit any explanation for why this was happening. I assumed that I would have heard if there had been a complaint, but there was only that eerie quiet that comes with non-response.

    I began to lose clients organically, either through their improvement or by moving away. Over time, the spaces in my schedule became longer. Also, some clients went on a bi-weekly schedule, with my agreement, so they became half-time work. I will admit to some sense of panic, initially.

    I had raised my rates every summer and I did not pay particular attention to my website or the search engines to which I subscribed. As a result, there is a readiness on my part to blame myself, to look at this as my hubris playing out. There is truth to that, I am sure, but it also coincided with an unexpected spike in my blood pressure.

    What has followed is a reexamination of my priorities and a willingness to step away from anything that insists on a commitment with which I do not want to engage. As a result, I have made quite a few people unhappy, but I have discovered that I have room to decide on what I want to do next. This article is part of that effort, as well as making contributions to the editorial page of the Baltimore Sun.

    I have reapplied for credentialing with Blue Cross/Blue Shield, which seems happy to have me back. I applied to opt back in with Medicare, but I have to wait until my opt-out period is over in 2020. I was surprised at my comfort with taking insurance again. Perhaps it is because, in part, it is more in keeping with social work ethics.

    The concept of thriving has transformed to having what I need and perhaps a little more, although having a little more than that would be fine. I am finding my voice with my articles, so I do not want to be so busy that I forego that time.

    Now I walk a mile and a half and meditate for 20 minutes every day. I am focused on developing my local community. Sorry, folks, but I only drive to DC when I absolutely have to. I am at peace with where I have landed, and the phone does ring often enough that I am sure that my bills will be met. I believe that all of this has made me a better therapist, welcoming the engagement rather than being desperate for it. There may be another evolution yet, but at 71 years-old, it will have to be incredibly compelling.

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