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  • Wednesday, March 15, 2023 9:45 PM | Anonymous

    It is our pleasure to announce that GWSCSW has hired Melanie Hood-Wilson and Associates (MHWA) as DEI consultants for GWSCSW.  MHWA comes highly recommended by the non-profit and educational institutions with whom we spoke to at length, all of whom were very impressed by the way MHWA approaches the work of Diversity Equity and Inclusion. The leadership of GWSCSW are excited to work with MHWA which describes itself as a company that seeks to assist its clients in understanding America's racial and cultural disconnects by developing strategies to help them successfully grow, embrace, and embody the values Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. It is our hope that the GWSCSW will come to be known as an organization of increased diversity, equity, and inclusion which is so valued by the GWSCSW leadership and members. 

    As we begin collaboration with MHWA, the first steps are twofold. Step one will involve MHWA performing an internal equity audit and needs assessment through the review of GWSCSW's organization structures and the systems that support it, through the identification of white supremacy cultural norms that hinder the forward movement on the Antiracist Continuum. This process will involve the participation of our membership. If you are contacted, we ask and encourage you to participate openly and honestly so that the Society can make meaningful changes which will allow us to learn and grow as an organization. Once completed,  MHWA will present its findings first to the Board and then to the membership. The second step will be the facilitation of a Membership Town Hall to be held in the Spring of 2023. This will be an opportunity for the GWSCSW to come together to speak about DEI concerns, a vision for the future, and to be heard. 

    This is a first step, but it is not the last step. Moving toward an antiracist society is a long journey, and we hope you will be with us as we move towards the completion of our journey. 

    Please feel free to contact your Board with any questions, concerns, or to voice your desire to participate.

    GWSCSW Board and Social Justice Branch

  • Wednesday, February 15, 2023 10:27 AM | Anonymous

    by Judy Gallant, LCSW-C, GWSCSW Director of Legislation and Advocacy

    There are many people our Society is indebted to for our success in achieving legislative goals, but, sadly, we have lost one of our most committed, beloved and active members, Margot Aronson, who passed away on January 30, 2023, at the age of 81, after a year of coping with various illnesses.

    As several of our members have commented, she was “a force to be reckoned with.” From her ability to encourage, cajole and support members to become more active in the Society’s work, to her enthusiasm for progressive and social justice causes, and to the detailed work she would do to make sure Clinical Social Workers were included in Federal legislation, she was always able to move things along in the right direction.

    Margot’s experience growing up in New Jersey was the basis of her lifelong interest in and support of a group dedicated to Frank Lloyd Wright’s architecture. Her parents were teachers whose goal for their family was to live in a house built by Wright. Now called “The Richardson House,” it is a “Usonian” house. These homes were built for the working class, with the goal of building affordable, functional homes for those with more limited budgets. Margot’s mother and father wrote to Frank Lloyd Wright with their wishes, and they collaborated with him to get the home built.

    After attending college in NY, Margot worked for a number of years with the Peace Corps and treasured those experiences, including editing their magazine at the time. This helped her feel comfortable with taking on her first major role in our Society, editor of our newsletter.

    After marrying and starting a family, she eventually found her way to Social Work, graduating with a Master’s degree from the University of Maryland’s School of Social Work. She worked for many years with children, adolescents and their families at the Regional Institute for Children and Adolescents (RICA) in Montgomery County, MD. She also joined GWSCSW, where in addition to  being our newsletter editor, she became President (2002-2005), and Vice President for Legislation and Advocacy (currently named Director of L&A).

    It was in this last role that Margot tapped on my shoulder and drew me in to working on our MD Legislation and Advocacy Committee. We drove to Annapolis together countless times, thought through strategies to accomplish our goals, and discussed how best to write testimony together with our lobbyist at the time, Alice Neily Mutch. I learned that I could actually talk to legislators (they are people!), as well as provide testimony in committee hearings. I was nervous, but Margot was a calming, informative, and for me a necessary presence.

    When Margot became more involved with CSWA, becoming the Deputy Director for Policy and Practice, she and then-President Nancy Harrington asked that I step into the role of Director of L&A. I did so and continued to consult with Margot for her sage advice and experience, which was vast.

    Margot would do things like sit with a Congressional bill for several days, painstakingly marking up the bill in every place where a Clinical Social Worker should have been included. (It passed in that form.) In 2014, along with Janice Berry Edwards and Eileen Dumbo, Margot organized a “Training for Cultural Competency: A Colloquium for Social Work Educators.” Along with her other accomplishments, Margot pulled people in to collaborate and form coalitions to get things done.

    She also shared other parts of her life, including her and her husband at that time, Ed Levin’s, involvement in the DC Appleseed Center for Law and Justice. Ed, along with Ralph Nader, was a founding member of the national Appleseed network. Margot and Ed were strong supporters of the DC Center and their efforts to make DC a better place to live, including supporting DC statehood, and providing pro bono legal assistance to achieve many of their goals.

    Margot’s support of the DC Appleseed Center for Law and Justice, as well her family raising her in a Frank Lloyd Wright Usonian house, were of importance to her. They show an overarching theme in her growth and thinking about social justice from exposure to those ideas even at an early age. Margot was a many-faceted, strong, and principled woman, a staunch friend, a “woman of valor.” She was formally recognized as such in different ways, for example, as the NASW Social Work Advocate of the Year and as the first recipient of the GWSCSW Frances Thomas Award for Legislative Excellence. I will always carry her with me, treasuring her principles, joie de vivre and her love.

    Margot's family has requested that donations be made to her favorite charities in lieu of flowers. They are the Erin Levitas Foundation, Frank Lloyd Wright Conservancy and DC Appleseed Center.  In Margot's honor, the Clinical Social Work Association has newly established the Margot Aronson Legislative Warrior Award. The recipient of this annual award will be given to someone from the State Societies who manifests the same kind of energy that Margot had for being an advocate for Social Justice and a leader in engaging legislative action. CSWA will award this honor every year at the Fall Summit for State Affiliates.

  • Thursday, December 15, 2022 6:26 PM | Anonymous

    This informative session focused on what's and how's of social work professional licensing.  The focus will mainly be for the three local jurisdictions but there will be general information for obtaining your license in other states/jurisdictions.

    A Board representative from DC, MD, and VA answered your questions about general licenses, clinical licenses, as well as macro options.

    Other questions? Contact Melissa Grady:  grady@cua.edu

    Workshop Resources:

    Workshop Recording

  • Thursday, December 01, 2022 6:11 PM | Anonymous
  • Monday, October 31, 2022 6:20 PM | Anonymous

    To the Members of the GWSCSW,

    The Board of Directors would like to Thank You for your support of the Society over the past months and bring you up to date on events of the past months. 

    As you know, President Lisa Kays resigned her position on October 19, 2022. Karla Abney, our current Vice President, is now the Interim President. She has graciously agreed to remain in this role until the search and vote for a new President is completed. Due to a change in the Bylaws last year, a President must now possess a clinical license (e.g., LCSW, LICSW), and Karla is an LMSW working toward her clinical licensure. 

    The Board of Directors met for a special meeting on October 29 at which time we were able to talk through issues and concerns of the past months, and its effects on the Society and the membership, in order to ensure that there is no interruption in the mission of the Society nor services provided to our membership. At the same meeting, the new Social Justice Branch became official. The Social Justice Branch will continue to address such issues of antiracism, institutional racism as currently being addressed with the recent ASWB report, and other social justice concerns including issues of importance to the LBGTQ+ community, Women,  and other marginalized communities.

    Despite recent events, the Society continues to operate as before, offering a Listserv for members to communicate with other members, sponsoring a wide variety of continuing education events, as well as continuing our legislation and advocacy work, including coordinating with our lobbyists on legislative issues of concern to Social Work. We plan to continue and increase the number of Society networking events and opportunities to connect socially, as well as offering our mentorship program, low-cost therapy for MSW students, and continue plans to establish a low-cost supervision program.

    The discussion, ideas, and suggestions shared via the listserv during the past months are greatly appreciated. There are plans to hold a GWSCSW Town Hall in the new year, to provide a forum to meet with our membership, to hear your ideas and concerns and discuss topics of interest to all. This will also be an opportunity to get to know your Board of Directors and learn of the volunteer opportunities within each Branch. There are several leadership positions currently available (e.g., Education Branch Director, Social Media Chairperson), to learn more on these positions and others, please contact the Interim President for more information. Please take the next step and join a Committee of interest to you, it is meaningful work.

    Thank You again for your support. 

    Karla J. Abney, MSW, MSN, LMSW

  • Thursday, September 01, 2022 7:18 PM | Anonymous
  • Tuesday, July 12, 2022 10:12 PM | Anonymous

    As clinical Social Workers in Washington DC, Maryland and Northern Virginia (the DMV), we, the Greater Washington Society of Clinical Social Work (GWSCSW), are dismayed and alarmed by the US Supreme Court’s decision on June 24, 2022 to revoke Roe v. Wade 50 years after its passage, and the various states poised to enact laws to restrict access to abortion and reproductive health care, many of which have already done so. Like the National Association of Social Work (NASW), the largest organization of professional Social Workers, we affirm all individuals have a right to bodily autonomy, that abortion is health care, and that all individuals have the right to freedom of choice in accessing essential health care services, most especially their reproductive health. We have serious concerns that women’s physical and mental health, and treatment for these issues, will be put at risk. 

    As Social Workers, we are proud of the legacy of our profession in protecting the right to self-determination for all individuals, including in the realm of reproductive freedom, and in honoring and assisting our clients to make decisions regarding their reproductive health. Those decisions may include whether or not to: take birth control, choose to become a surrogate for another woman who is unable to carry a pregnancy to term, have in-vitro fertilization (IVF), put a child up for adoption, or carry a fetus to term with the goal of becoming a parent. Social Workers work in settings that have a deep impact on reproductive decision-making and child welfare, from foster care, to infertility, to adoption. The DC Abortion Fund, which provides financial assistance for those needing an abortion who can’t otherwise afford one, was founded by a Social Worker

    We, as Social Workers, stand with our clients and with all people as they strive to make decisions that are best for their own lives, circumstances, and emotional well-being. We understand that the decision to become a parent is a potential and likely radical change in economic status, lifestyle and identity, and one that profoundly impacts the life, health and mental well-being of parents. We also know the likelihood of negative mental health impacts if parents are forced to have a child against their will are profound.

    As Social Workers with a commitment to social justice, we are deeply disturbed by the reality that the brunt of the impact of this decision will fall upon Black people and people of color. In our region, which mirrors national statistics, maternal mortality rates are highest among Black people. Having a baby is a dangerous proposition for any woman, and particularly for Black women, a reality we keep in mind as we condemn this decision. As found in the American Group Psychotherapy Association’s statement on Roe, a recent study from Duke University found that a total nationwide abortion ban would increase pregnancy-related mortality risk for pregnant individuals by an estimated 21% overall, while pregnancy-related mortality risk for non-Hispanic Black women would increase disproportionately by 33%. 

    Further, as Clinical Social Workers, we know that postpartum depression (PPD) is the most common psychological condition following childbirth

    We join with maternal health specialists, the Clinical Social Work Association (CSWA)the Council on Social Work Educationthe National Association of Social Workers, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Psychological Association, the American Group Psychotherapy Association, The American Society of Group Psychotherapy and Psychodrama, The American Counseling Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and Black Lives Matter in condemning this SCOTUS decision on a variety of grounds.  These include the interference by the government in the provider-patient relationship; the detrimental impact  this ruling will have on mental health; and its disproportionate and negative impact on Black people, people of color, non-binary people, transgendered people, indigenous people, and those living in poverty and rural areas.  

    As a collective of Clinical Social Workers committed to our profession’s Code of Ethics and to the self-determination of the people we work with, the GWSCSW is now looking toward action and efforts we can make to further these principles despite this ruling. Those currently include:

    • Providing continuing education workshops on the legalities and ethics of clinical social work under this new ruling, so that we can inform ourselves on how to continue to support our clients in their decision-making about reproductive health in this new legal environment. If you are able to provide such a training or know someone who is, please reach out to Brian Rink, GWSCSW Education Branch Director at direducation@gwscsw.org.

    • Encouraging our membership to make their voices heard through voting in all local and national elections and through advocating their views directly with lawmakers who represent them.


    Lisa Kays, LICSW, LCSW, LCSW-C   
    President  Greater Washington Society of Clinical Social Work

    Karla Abney, LGSW, RN
    Vice President  
    Greater Washington Society of Clinical Social Work

  • Friday, June 03, 2022 7:19 PM | Anonymous
  • 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.

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