Category Archives: Social Work
Social Work as a profession is now in higher demand than ever. Now is the time to advocate for equitable salaries in the medical and psychiatric fields.
Here’s a definite step forward:
Changing gut bacteria through diet affects brain function, UCLA study shows – UCLA Health and Medicine News
Yogurt can change your life. Yes, I eat yogurt almost every day.
Interview: Kiersten Marek, Author of “Know Thyself: A Kid’s Guide to the Archetypes” | Flying With Red Haircrow
Have you ever wondered about what blogs I visit, and how I spend my free time?
We in the social work field are known for advocating for just about everyone — the poor, the homeless, LBGT, Veterans, the elderly, people with physical disabilities, people with mental disabilities, the unemployed, the incarcerated, and so on. But when it comes to advocating for ourselves, we seem to have a harder time, and the many groups who we speak for are often not able to provide the same kind of “got your back” advocacy in return. For that reason, mental health providers are a category, politically, that is easily stomped on. Though we represent many, we represent the underrepresented, the less powerful, and the very busy people who must work two jobs for a living.
Here is a chance to help out your fellow mental health provider. Please consider signing the petition linked below to help advocate for mental health providers to be adequately compensated for their work.
This essay from the NYTimes is a bit of an eye-opener for anyone who is thinking of going into private practice. Due to people seeking less therapy and using more psychiatric drugs alone (massive pharma marketing campaigns encourage this), we are now at a point where many therapists can’t get enough referrals to survive. Meanwhile, many people in need of help can’t get it because they don’t have insurance, have high deductibles and copays, or have very little coverage for mental health with their insurance policy.
In case you wonder what Obamacare will look like in some states, here is an example of a state, Mississippi, that is already saying “Whoa, horsie!” when it comes to implementation.
I wonder about the implementation here in Rhode Island and whether we will be able to extend health care coverage to all, given our sagging economy. As I said in an earlier post, I see health care as a potential economic driver, and I hope Rhode Island will find ways to make this happen.
As a health care practitioner, I am particularly interested in changes specific to children and families. For more on how the law specifically impacts children and families, the Children’s Mental Health Network has a page that gives a helpful breakdown of all the changes.
[Ninjanurse butts in to Kiersten's post]
Lt. Governor Elizabeth Roberts sent an email with this–
Rhode Island has been implementing the federal health reform law for over two years, beginning with Lt. Governor Roberts’ early efforts in 2010 to ensure Rhode Island had a clear path ahead toward achieving universal coverage for Rhode Islanders. With the Supreme Court’s ruling, that path has been cleared for the state to move forward in partnership with the federal government and continue to benefit from its support and funding.
The Supreme Court decision means up to 120,000 uninsured Rhode Islanders will be able to enroll in healthcare coverage starting October 1, 2013 and will have access to the coverage by January 1, 2014. Rhode Island families and small businesses soon will have an online marketplace known as the RI Health Benefits Exchange where they can easily buy and compare health insurance options. Some residents will even qualify for free or low-cost insurance depending on their income. Rhode Islanders will begin to hear more about this marketplace in the coming months.
These are not empty words, but a work in progress. As much as I wish we could speed it up, I know that good people are working overtime to meet these goals.
One of those good people is a Republican, Christine Ferguson, who has been appointed by Governor Chafee as head of the new Rhode Island health insurance exchange. Ms. Ferguson has a long resume of health management experience in Rhode Island and Massachusetts and is a passionate and effective advocate for people in need of access to basic healthcare. We’re lucky to have her on our team at this point in time.
Originally posted on Therapy with Kiersten Marek, LICSW:
I wrote the following letter at the prompting of Stop it Now, a great organization that advocates for public education and action to prevent sexual abuse. As a clinician who works with sexual abuse, it has been both horrifying and all too familiar to hear the testimony that has come out of this trial. It seems clear that Sandusky’s actions were very pre-meditated and involved finding victims who would be less likely to speak out, such as the boys from The Second Mile. This should be a wake-up call for all of us to be more vigilant and attentive to children, and to find ways to ask questions when things don’t seem right. I was glad when the email came from Stop it Now, providing some samples of letters to send to the editors, and so this is mine. I hope the Providence Journal publishes it.
I’m writing to encourage our community to use the child sexual abuse trial of Jerry Sandusky as a call to action. As an individual and family therapist who provides services for those who are harmed by sexual abuse, I see this trial as an opportunity to talk about this issue and figure out what we can do to prevent even one more child from being sexually abused.
Teaching our kids about scary strangers and just focusing on people on the sex offender registry won’t keep kids safe. Research shows that children are most likely to be abused by someone they know, trust and often love and admire.
But in our own lives it is still hard for most of us to recognize when someone we know could also be sexually inappropriate or abusive towards children. So we ignore that gut feeling we get. After all, we don’t have “proof” that someone has harmed a child and we don’t want to offend an adult by asking about his or her behavior.
Meanwhile, too many children are harmed by sexual abuse because we – as individuals, organizations, and communities – are afraid to be wrong and don’t know what to do. Most of us don’t know how to even raise the issue or with whom we’d even talk about it.
As a member of this community, I urge each of us to decide for ourselves what is okay and not okay around children. Help children know that they can come to you at anytime if someone is making them feel scared, alone, yucky, afraid, or uncomfortable in any way. Then, decide what words you’ll say to protect a child’s boundaries. Reach out to community resources like Day One, the Sexual Assault and Trauma Resource Center, to ask questions and get answers.
Because when we act early, we can prevent child sexual abuse – before a child is harmed in the first place.
I am proud to say that my book is now available for purchase! Also, there will never be a better time to buy the book — with a 10% discount on the list price, and an additional 20% off through the month of June by using Lulu.com promotional code JUNEBOOKS12. Here is a link to the purchase page on Lulu.com:
I wrote this book because as I have practiced therapy with children and families over many years, I have found that talking about archetypes and having a visual tool to use when doing so is an excellent way to start meaningful therapy conversations. I also saw that the archetypes model was less stigmatizing than talking in diagnostic terms.
I wanted to create a visual tool that could help kids articulate their experience, and that they could make their own and recreate in their own special way. That is why “Know Thyself” is a workbook and can also be used as a coloring book — it is meant to be a co-creation between child and therapist, or child and parent, or child and teacher, or child and other child — a way to feel bonded to others and on the same team as we find our resources, both internal and external.
Please take a look at the book in preview of “Know Thyself” and consider making it your own.
Originally posted on Therapy with Kiersten Marek, LICSW:
I am currently in the final stages of revisions for my first ever therapy book, “Know Thyself: A Kid’s Guide to the Archetypes.” If you would like to receive a free PDF of the book, please send me an email at email@example.com. This offer is only good until the book is officially published, so contact me today to take advantage of this special offer.