Celebrating Social Workers
March is Social Work Month – an opportunity to celebrate and honor social workers and the important work they do. The Social Work Month theme for 2018 is Social Workers: Leaders. Advocates. Champions. According to the National Association of Social Workers, “Every day the nation’s 650,000 social workers act as advocates, champions, and leaders who make our society a better place to live.”
I have enjoyed a career in social work for the past two decades. It’s challenged me in ways I never expected, touched my heart in profound ways, and allowed me to build deep connections with so many people – both colleagues and clients – that I otherwise wouldn’t have the honor of knowing. Social Workers work in amazingly diverse settings. Personally, I’ve worked in community mental health, at homeless shelters, and private practice. I’ve met with clients in jails, homeless encampments, and gang-infested neighborhoods. I’ve had the privilege of witnessing tremendous resilience and healing and, of course, deep pain and loss. I have also gotten great satisfaction from supervising and mentoring social work students and pre-licensed social workers. It’s such a joy to see them grow and develop not only their skills but their confidence and “professional self”. Currently, I run a private psychotherapy practice in San Jose, CA and write about mental health for PsychCentral and other websites.
What do social workers do?
To help celebrate the many ways that social workers contribute to their communities and the rewards of a career in social work, I asked some of my social work colleagues to tell me why they love being social workers. Here are their answers:
“I love being a social worker because it’s an honor to help people achieve success in their respective lives. Furthermore, for every child, adult, and family we help as social workers, we transform communities where clients can grow & thrive, creating healthier foundations for future generations. I love that!”
– Paul Inglizian, LCSW is a psychotherapist in private practice who provides clinical supervision to nonprofit agencies & helps clients who have experienced a life-altering illness or health condition.
“I love being a social worker because I have had such a diverse and fulfilling career with the skills that come from being an LCSW. I have reunified families with abuse histories, helped find loving adoptive homes for children whose parents could not parent them, supported adoptive families as they sought to ensure their kids had everything they needed to thrive, had the honor of being with families and patients facing terminal illness, death, and the grief that followed. I am now in private practice, where I can work with clients who fit my skills and devote time to supporting families facing dementia and volunteering in my community. Being a social worker means serving those who need our help, and living our values of giving back and being advocates, and it is an amazing career for those who share those values.”
– Jill Johnson-Young, LCSW has had a career in Child Protective Services, hospice, and private practice. She also runs an innovative online grief program and is the author of Your Path Through Grief Workbook.
“I love being a social worker because I get to watch families heal and parents find the confidence to be healthy guides for their children. I also love being able to shift perspectives on mental health, emotional wellness, and what it looks like to reach out for support and create a healthy tribe for healing!”
– Mercedes Samudio, LCSW is a Parent Coach, Adjunct Professor of psychology, and the author of the Amazon best-seller Shame Proof Parenting.
“I love being a Social Worker because the core value of social justice is so central to who I am as a person. Social Work school taught me HOW “…a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world,” as Margaret Mead said. I learned about social action and the process of making positive changes. Social Work is a great profession!”
– Laura Reagan, LCSW-C is a psychotherapist, clinical supervisor, and consultant specializing in treating trauma and sexual violence. She is also the host of the popular podcast Therapy Chat.
“I am grateful to have the opportunity to help others on their healing journey; this gives my life meaning and joy. I also appreciate the many available micro, macro and mezzo career opportunities, and inspiring colleagues that make our world a better place.”
– Dorlee Michaeli, MBA, LMSW is a psychotherapist and fellow at the Training Institute for Mental Health, and a mental health writer at PsychCentral.
“I love my work helping women find their most purposeful, passionate, best selves. I love the lens of social work that supports me to see each woman as the expert, the central character, narrator, and author of her story. It is a privilege to affirm her ability to be the creator of her future storyline without staying identified with the past chapters. The most meaningful work is that of supporting her as she begins to understand and practice the subtle shifts in language, movement, and transition in light of the whole picture.”
– Charlotte Hiler Easley, LCSW is a clinician who runs A Woman’s Life Equine Assisted Consulting, Therapy, and Workshops that are designed with a heart for helping women thrive (sometimes a horse or two may be involved!).
“I love social work because it is so diverse. We start with a set of core values and the concept of Person In Environment (PIE) and then develop transferable skills that help us build such unique careers in the field. From policy, politics and private practice to home visits, community centers, and non-profits, social workers work is micro, macro, mezzo and all parts in between. When our training combines with our passion for the work, we are able to touch individual lives AND impact international issues.”
– Samara Stone, LCSW-C is the Founder and CEO of The Stone Foundation, a Maryland based behavioral health firm and the force behind Perfected Practice, a nationwide pro-insurance private practice mentoring program. Her career in social work has led her to explore the emotional resilience, strategy, and creativity required for entrepreneurship and created a platform for her to work with business owners all over the world.
As I read through these testimonials, I am so impressed with the multitude of ways that social workers are transforming the world. Thank you for celebrating Social Work Month with us and recognizing the amazing, gifted individuals who enrich the lives of others through their work as social workers.
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©2018 Sharon Martin, LCSW