This blog is a place where fellow colleagues can go to obtain research, read articles, gain insight, laugh a little and find useful tools and tips. I love discussion and want to hear your opinion as well, whether it supports or challenges the posted view. The field of social work is not a walk in the park, and we need the support of others to make it through.
I am a Military Spouse who has had 12 years of experience learning how to juggle a career while moving every few years. I have experience in School Social Work, Private Practice, Community Mental Health, Domestic Violence, Hospital Social Work, Hospice and Home Health. I hold both a Master's and Bachelor's Degree in Social Work and am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with a specialization in Trauma.
Friday, July 15, 2016
Exactly one year ago yesterday, I arrived by plane into Marseille, France. I would later travel to London for a Psychopathology conference, but the first part of my travels was for me. I had plans to stay in the Provence of France for a few days and was hoping to go and see the lavande (lavender) in bloom. Aside from getting lost, having roads closed because of fires and nothing open to ask for directions because of the holiday, I had an amazing and marvelous time.
Yesterday, France experienced a horrific terrorist attack in Nice during Bastille Day celebrations. This comes all too soon after the attacks in Bangladesh, Bagdad, Orlando, Istanbul, Brussels, and Paris. My heart breaks, literally breaks from the loss, from the stories, from the pictures. It can sometimes feel overwhelming, devastating even.
Sometimes traumas such as these can bring up feelings that we don't know what to do with. It can remind us of a personal tragedy that may be unresolved or just too recent. We may wonder why we have these deep reactions when we don't even know any of the victims or live in the community that experienced the tragedy. Research shows that you can experience symptoms from a tragedy, without even being there. The symptoms are real and should be addressed. Whether you seek professional help or implement self-care strategies, the important thing is to not ignore what you are feeling and experiencing.
Self-care is something that all of us need to practice daily, but even more so when events like this happen. What do you do to take care of yourself? Is it a walk outside, perhaps drawing or maybe spending time with loved ones? This won't solve the larger problem of attacks on innocent people, but it can help us to cope and manage our own symptoms, feelings and emotions.
Some tips from APA on managing indirect exposure to terror:
Monday, July 11, 2016
Recently my husband has been working on turning our home into a "smart house." I can't help but think of the movie from the 1990's where the house eventually goes rogue. These days, having a smart house can be a reality. There are so many options such as having your light bulbs turn a hue at a certain time of the day or having your A/C unit change temps when you leave the house. We only have a few things set up so far, but I imagine much more is on the horizon courtesy of my tech savvy husband.
I've been reflecting on these "smart" devices and how they can have the ability to be used as tools to control in an abusive relationship. If you have a "smart" lock, it can be set to open or not open at certain times and it can be controlled from a smart phone away from the house. It can also be monitored and notifications set up for when the door is opened or closed. The passcode can even be changed at a moments notice. This all makes my hackles rise when I think about the controlling ability this can have in an abusive relationship.
There are many ways that an abuser can use to control, such as money, violence, sex, threats, time, children and pets to name a few. But more and more, technology is becoming a huge way for abusers to control. I had a client who could not figure out why her abuser always seemed to know where she was, even after they had separated (and divorced). It wasn't until later on that we discovered she still had her cell phone from when they were together, and he was using it to track her.
I shudder to think of what can be used these days to track and control. If you know someone who is in (or you think may be in) an abusive relationship, the best thing you can do is listen, offer support and extend an open ended offer to help. Also be aware of the phone number to your local domestic violence shelter. If you don't know which one serves your area, you can always call the national hotline at 1-800-799-HELP (7233) or visit the website at The National Domestic Violence Hotline.
Wednesday, July 6, 2016
If you are a military family or know a military family personally, you are probably familiar with the term "PCS." This stands for "Permanent Change of Station" and the nuts and bolts of it mean, ya gotta move. What begins as a phone call from a detailer, moves swiftly into research of your new state and city. After that the spouse begins to see what it takes to apply for licensure in his/her new state. While not all spouses work in licensed fields, this is a very real problem for many. Most states do not offer reciprocity for Licensed Clinical Social Workers. So what this means is that the spouse is then forced to apply for a new license (typically by endorsement). Each state has their own rules and regulations for licensure, not to mention fees that add up very quickly for sending test scores, license verifications and application fees. This becomes a very lofty task ON TOP of moving. Oh and did I mention that this happens every 1-3 years for most military families??
Proudly wearing the title of "Military Spouse" puts me right in the thick of this as we have just PCS'ed. I hold a current licensed in my departing state and have begun the arduous task of applying for licensure by endorsement in my new state. There are also non monetary "costs" such as being unable to apply to jobs until the new license is in hand and the hours that are spent trying to navigate through the new state's laws and rules. Finally, waiting with baited breath to see if the new state will accept everything without having to do additional supervision or classes.
On July 1st, First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden announced that all 50 states have taken action on licensing for Military Spouses. This is a follow up from an initiative they began in 2011. You can read more about it here. I love what they have set out to do and the potential benefits for the future. Looking at this map, you can see the legislature and action that each state has already put into place. The downfalls I can see are that the legislature is not listed specific to a licensed occupation or a specific benefit. This makes it very difficult to tell what benefits there are to help support military spouses who are transitioning to a new state.
While this may affect military spouses more often than the general population, this is a very real problem for all licensed social workers and other mental health professionals. We almost become locked into the state we are in because of the differing requirements for licensure. Even with a national board and exam (for social workers it is the ACSW), the state variances for licensure are great.
This begs to ask the question, if there is a national exam for licensing clinical social workers, why can there not be a national standard for licensure?