Strengthening IDENTITY | Preserving INTEGRITY | Advocating PARITY
The Clinical Social Work Association has been working for several months to assess and discuss diversity of our membership and our Board. Planning and discussion at the 2016 Annual Summit helped to launch a larger consideration of diversity within our membership. While it is beyond the mission of CSWA to alter the demographics of clinical social work, it is our responsibility to regularly assess our membership and evaluate the perspective we are representing. Our goal was simple: start a conversation about encouraging diversity of membership and Board representation, and continue this conversation by offering action steps and educational tools. In order to reach our goal, we disseminated a survey, created an ad hoc diversity committee, and incorporated the results into our strategic planning.
We are not alone in our commitment to assess and discuss diversity and inclusion. Several Societies have been facilitating these critical conversations for years. Others have begun to take action recently. We know that despite CSWA’s best efforts, there will always be room for improvement. We encourage all state societies to promote through trainings and increased inclusion of diverse populations on Society Boards and in membership. Additionally, CSWA encourages Societies to reach out to other clinical social work organizations to build bridges for more unified membership and advocacy efforts. CSWA supports all attempts to create a clinical social work community that is inclusive and sensitive to the experience of all its members.
We are proud to send the following statement and reminder of the CSWA Code of Ethics that outlines our long standing commitment to cultural competency.
2017 CSWA Diversity Statement
The Clinical Social Work Association has long supported the values of diversity and inclusion. During these troubling times it is vital we create a welcoming and supportive environment for all our members and the people we serve. We firmly believe that we can best promote excellence within our profession by offering educational tools for dialogue and professional development, assessing our membership, and promoting our strong code of ethics regarding cultural competency standards. Further, we recognize the responsibility for excellence, diversity and inclusion lies within each of us who make up the clinical social work profession. CSWA encourages all members and affiliated societies to promote increased awareness of the meaning of diversity to all.
Melissa Johnson, CSWA President, July, 2017
The Clinical Social Work Association has been working for several months to assess and discuss diversity of our membership. Several Societies have begun to develop programs to promote diversity awareness. Based on their work, below are some suggestions.
Define your terms. Everyone has a different idea about what diversity means. Beyond race and gender, it can also include but is not limited to considerations of age, ethnicity, sexual orientation, mental and physical capabilities, gender identity, family status, language, opinions and experience.
Assess. Review your bylaws and clauses that define diversity standards; check for any institutional bias or exclusionary language. Start a conversation about diversity and inclusion with Board members and within your Society. Be prepared to have difficult conversations. Collect rich data; the goal of a survey is not just a head count, but rather the beginning of an education process.
Listen and affirm. Ask about the experiences of your members. Do not make assumptions about how people view this complicated issue. Encourage all Board members to evaluate their own perspective. Don’t scold or shame those who are struggling with understanding.
Learn, share, educate. Offer trainings; invite speakers; build coalitions with other associations; plan a conference on diversity and inclusion. Identify all of the ways you can define diversity and how inclusion is experienced within your society and the profession. Embed these principles in your leadership and others will follow.
Contact Melissa Johnson, CSWA Board President or any of the board members if you want to discuss these concepts with other Societies or find experts to conduct trainings. It helps to not have to reinvent the wheel. CSWA wants all its members and Societies to be self-aware about what healthy understanding and acceptance of diversity means to them and others.
Four major national social work organizations - NASW, CSWA, CSWE, and ASWB - have been developing draft Social Work Technology Standards for the past two and a half years. These standards will cover every area in clinical social work practice that may be affected by the use of technology including clinical practice, record-keeping, education, and macro social work. Many thanks to Laura Groshong, CSWA Director of Policy and Practice, who served as CSWA's representative on the Task Force that put in hundreds of hours on this project.
These standards have been posted for public comment until July 20, 2016. They are available at the following link with instructions on how to submit comments: http://www.socialworkers.org/practice/naswstandards/TechnologyStandardsInSocialWorkPractice/CommentSubmission.aspx Another way to obtain the draft standards is to go to www.socialworkers.org. To the right, look for the “What’s New” box. Scroll down and click on “Draft Technology Standards in Social Work Practice.”
Comments must be submitted by July 20, 2016 to be considered. After consideration of the changes by the Task Force, the draft technology standards will be submitted for review and approval to the NASW Board of Directors in September, 2016 and the other organization Boards (CSWA will meet in October).
The goal is to have these standards published by the end of 2016.
CSWA is proud to have been a participant in this important project and encourages all members to review the draft standards and send comments.
Clinical Social Work Association
The National Voice of Clinical Social WorkStrengthening IDENTITY | Preserving INTEGRITY | Advocating PARITY
Dear CSWA Members,
It is hard to accept the massacre of LGBTQ people in Orlando and the hate it represents.
There have been some good summaries of how to think about it, including one by Glenda Russell (attached). A PDF version is available online at http://drglendarussell.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/Responding-to-Orlando.pdf. Please feel free to share with others.
"Give an Hour" is making the thousands of therapists who give an hour of treatment to veterans available to the Orlando LGBT community - to join go to http://www.giveanhour.org/ForProviders.aspx . To read their press release, go to http://bit.ly/1YnkaTl .
We can never stop insisting on the right of everyone to live their lives regardless of color, sexual orientation, gender or any identity that has been demonized. Please re-read the CSWA Statement on Discrimination (attached). The hate being legalized against trans people in the states mentioned is a contributing factor to the terrible loss in Orlando. Speak out against all forms of hate."
Susanna Ward, PhD, LCSWPresident & CEO, Clinical Social Work Association(606) firstname.lastname@example.org
Melissa Johnson, LCSWPresident-Elect, Clinical Social Work Associationmjohnson@clinicalsocialworkassociation.org
Laura Groshong, LICSWDirector, Policy and Practicelwgroshong@clinicalsocialworkassociation.org
attachment: Russell - RespondingtoOrlando - 6-16.pdf
CSWA - "The National Voice for Clinical Social Work"Strengthening IDENTITY, Preserving INTEGRITY, Advocating PARITY
Laura Groshong, LICSW, CSWA Director, Policy and Practice
We clinical social workers all recognize the possibility that an unexpected life event could interfere with our clinical social work practice. We help our patients deal with unanticipated events every day. Yet many clinical social workers have no plan for notifying patients in such a case, and no arrangement with a colleague who, should it become necessary, would enact this plan.
Of equal concern is the end of a practice: best practice dictates a mindful approach to closing a practice, with a plan developed long before retirement draws near. Yet a comprehensive study (Hovey, 2014) of how social workers address the end of a practice found that only 18% of those surveyed had completed a professional will. The sample (n=83) consisted primarily of White/Caucasians (94 %), female social workers (82 %), ranging in age from 24 to 80 years, most of whom were in private practice (78 %). While 35 % said they had made some informal arrangements with colleagues, 47 % had made no arrangements at all. These results highlight the likelihood that clinical social workers have not given practice interruptions and endings the attention that they should have.
What Makes Planning So Difficult?
As Ragesua, Shatsky, and others have noted, it is often difficult for clinicians, including clinical social workers, to anticipate interruptions in a practice, planned closing of a practice, or instructions for the unplanned closing of a practice. Shatsky states: “As clinicians, we champion our patients’ examination of the difficult, important transitions of their lives. Yet, when it comes to this issue, more often than not we fail to conduct a competency examination on ourselves….Why is it unusual to hear cognitively fit colleagues openly discuss looking forward to retirement? Unlike other health professional arenas, why is planning for and discussing this significant transition (amongst psychotherapists) rarely embarked upon with enthusiasm?” (2016). Ragusea gets to the heart of the matter in his adaptation on ending a practice “On rare occasions, reality breaks through our merciful denial and we all consider our own demise. Yes, the last great adventure beckons to us; even psychologists [and clinical social workers] die. Most of us like to think that we will pass away quietly in old age, peacefully sleeping in our own beds and, perhaps, surrounded by loved ones. But, what if the path goes off in a different, surprising direction? What if we die suddenly, unexpectedly?” (Ragusea, 2002).
The internal process of accepting the fact that there are likely to be interruptions and there will definitely be endings to clinical practice may involve working through feelings of loss, ambivalence, guilt, relief, and much more. Clinical social workers should begin to consider their feelings about the inevitable ending of clinical practice from the beginning of their careers, rather than wait until nearing the likely end of their working lives. Having no plan in place for an unexpected interruption or ending could put patients at risk for a wrenching disruption in treatment and may burden an unprepared spouse, partner, or colleague with the complex task of closing a practice. The responsible clinical social worker will have a plan in place; this is best practice, ethical practice, and even required in some states by the boards of social work.
What The Clinical Social Work Association Can Do To Help
There are four major ways that clinical social work practices may be interrupted or ended:
Hovey, J. K. (2014). “Mortality practices: How clinical social workers interact with their mortality within their clinical and professional practice” (Unpublished master’s thesis). Smith College School for Social Work, Northampton, MA. Available from https://dspace.smith .
Ragusea, S. "A Professional Will for Psychologists", adapted from VandeCreek, L. & Jackson, T., Eds. (2002) Innovations in Clinical Practice: A Source Book, Vol. 20, pp. 301-305. Sarasota, FL: Professional Resource Press.
Shatsky, P. (2016) “Everything Ends: Identity and the Therapist’s Retirement”. Clinical Social Work Journal, Vol. 44, No. 2, pp. 43-149.
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