Things to Remember About Death, Dying, and Social Work.

Important things to remember about Death, Dying, and Social Work, as told by Sarah Hopkins.


Never devalue someone else’s loss.

      You will encounter a lot of loss as a social worker in hospice. When working with family members who have lost their loved ones, it is important to remember that every loss is a loss. Never devalue someone else’s loss because you don’t think it is a greater loss than your own or another’s.


Self Care is SO important.

      Working in any field of social work can take a huge toll on you emotionally, mentally, and physically. It is so important to have an outlet and ways in which you can release the stress of the day, be it physical activity, reading a book, or simply the company of family and friends.


When disclosing your own personal experience with loss, be sure to ask yourself what purpose disclosing that information will serve.

      We all have experienced some kind of loss in life. When working with a client going through loss, sometimes it can be helpful to share your own experience with loss. But always consider WHY you are disclosing this information and really think about whether or not it will be beneficial to the client.


Never tell a client you know what they’re going through.

      Every individual deals with loss in their own way and feels loss in their own individual way. To tell a client that you know how they’re feeling could devalue their feeling of loss.


Continue to be there.

      When someone loses a loved one, they are bombarded with sympathy and care immediately following the loss. At this point, they’re often still “numb” and the impact of the loss has not really hit them. When the casseroles stop being delivered, and sympathy cards stop coming in the mail, and people move on with their own lives, the pain sets in. Be a person who is there down the road when the real pain of dealing with a loss sets in.


Hopkins, S. (2016). Guest Speaker

Social Work Models Used with Disabilities

When working with clients who have disabilities, social workers refer to the following models of practice:

  • The Behavioral Model
    • This model uses positive and negative reinforcement in order to achieve a more desirable behavior from clients and prevent them from hurting themselves. the focus is on the change in behavior.
  • Crisis Intervention
    • Social workers work with short term crisis intervention. In some cases, if a disability is acquired as a result of an injury or illness, crisis often occurs. It is a social workers job to help with that crisis when the client discovers they have a disability. In other cases, the client is a parent or family member of a person with a disability. It is important to address their feelings on the situation in order to come up with a plan of how to handle care for the individual.
  • Case Management
    • Case management combines elements of direct and indirect practice. It focuses on finding and connecting the client with available community resources and services that the client may need.
  • Advocacy
    • Advocacy is the importance of speaking up for a client in ways they are not able to speak up for themselves. Some clients are nonverbal, have difficulty speaking to others or have difficulty adapting to different situations. They need someone who is able to assess their needs and help them with case management services and finding agencies in the community that meet their needs.
  • Strengths Model
    • This is used in all areas of social work. It focuses on finding strengths in a client and utilizing those strengths in order to help a client achieve their goals.
  • Empowerment
    • Empowerment is very similar to the strengths model, using their strengths to empower them and create the idea of self determination.
  • Independent Living
    • Independent Living is helping individuals run their own lives. It is teaching them the skills necessary to perform every day tasks in their own house or in assisted living.


Abby Arnold

DiNitto, D., & McNeece, C. (2008). Social work: Issues and opportunities in a challenging profession (3rd ed.). Chicago, IL: Lyceum Books

5 Challenges School Social Workers Face

School Social Workers face many challenges, (as do all social workers). Here are a few challenges they face as told by school social workers themselves:

  1. As a social worker in a small school, you are typically the only social worker available to students and staff. Therefore, you are responsible for the entire school population and will most likely have a very heavy case load.
  2. Kids respond differently to social workers depending on who they are. As the only social worker in a building, you will have to find ways around this in order to establish a relationship with the client.
  3. As the only social worker in a school, you do not have immediate access to a support system of colleagues or a supervisor. This is why it is important to have a good network of colleagues in the field whom you can contact if you ever need advice or help with a specific situation.
  4. In smaller school districts, many programs are grant funded and money is very limited as are resources in the community. It is a social workers job to ensure the connection of a client to appropriate and necessary services in the community even while working with a smaller budget.
  5. Often times in school social work, there can be a power struggle between the social worker and teachers/administration. When a teacher or principal asks for information regarding a client, the social worker is not always allowed to provide that information due to confidentiality issues, even if the faculty member asking has a good reason for needing it.


Class Discussion: April 7th, 2016. Guest Speaker: Sam Bligen

Rural Social Work Interview: Stephanie Washburn. March 28th, 2016.

Clearing Up Misconceptions about Child Welfare Social Work

  • Not all workers in Child Protective Services are social workers. Many times, individuals who come to remove children from their homes do not have any type of social work licensure and sometimes, not even a degree in social work. Some are educated in human services, or case management.

Child Welfare 1

  • The goal of social workers in child welfare is NOT to separate children from their families. The ultimate goal of all cases in child welfare is reunification.

Child Welfare 2

  • Child Welfare Social Workers do not work with just children alone. Because they are working for the well being of a child, they must work towards reunifying a family into a safe and loving home. This requires work not only with the children but with the parents and family members as well. This can include coordinating services for parents who deal with financial issues, drug or alcohol abuse, anger management, parenting classes, etc. Any services that are needed for the successful reunification of a family as a whole can be coordinated by a child welfare social worker.

child welfare 3

  • A lot of times, child welfare social workers are seen as casting blame upon parents. Despite what many believe, social workers ultimately want to see parents succeed. They do not look at parents with disgust, but are trained to understand the many possible contributing factors to their current circumstances and the reasoning behind their actions. They use these understandings to create a plan to assist in the bettering of parents in order to be reunited with their family.
  • Child Welfare 4


Abby Arnold

Works Cited

Class Discussion, March 22, 2016

Things You Might Not Know About Addictions And Social Work

The Quick Facts and Stats:

  • 9 to 10 percent of the U.S. population usually meets criteria for substance abuse or dependence.
  • 15 million individuals deal with an alcohol use disorder
  • 4 milion struggle with a drug use disorder
  • 3 million deal with both drug and alcohol disorders

Addiction 3

When people hear the word addiction, they often think drugs or alcohol and a persons inability to stop doing drugs or stop drinking. However, what many people don’t know is addiction does not have to involve a substance to be considered a problem that needs help.

Addictions 1

Social workers address addictions that include substance abuse, pathological gambling, compulsive eating, compulsive shopping and spending, compulsive sexual behaviors, and excessive internet use or other excessive behaviors.

Addiction 2

Addictions do not always occur because of one’s choice to start using a substance or behaving a certain way. There are several factors that can contribute to addiction including family history and genetic predisposition, abnormal brain chemistry, psychological conditions, culture, gender or sexual orientation, and poverty.

Addiction 6

Despite how many people view social workers, as people who are just trying to fix people with problems, social workers actually exist to help individuals help themselves. (This is true in all areas of practice.) In work with substance abuse and addictions, social workers do not believe that people choose to act immorally, but struggle with underlying factors that cause them to. Social workers provide compassion, services and guidance to networks and support systems needed for an individual struggling with addictive behaviors.

Addcition 4.jpg


Abby Arnold

Works Cited:

DiNitto, D., & McNeece, C. (2008). Social work: Issues and opportunities in a challenging profession (3rd ed.). Chicago, IL: Lyceum Books.

Lecture: March 15th, 2016.

Services Provided by Military Social Workers

The role of a military social worker encompasses the role of many social workers into work with the population of veterans and their families. There are many services that these social workers must provide to enable veterans and their families to resume to a safe, healthy, and normalized life following their return home. These services include the physical services you can provide or refer them to as well as the way to approach your work with a veteran.

1.Normalizing behavior – important for client to know that the reactions they’re having to traumatizing experiences are normal and human and not something to be ashamed of.

Military 2

2. Remind them that they are safe.

3. Remind them they are brave: they have been in scary situations and their bravery to share about their experiences and taking those experiences out of the box is a sign of strength.

4. Importance of casual conversation – it is important to show that you empathize with them and validate their feelings and reactions towards these difficult experiences. You are both human and having normal reaction to traumatizing events.

5. Provide or refer to programs that can help with the psychological damage of war.

6. Provide or refer to programs that can help with surrounding issues including “family violence, substance abuse, mental illness, or maladjustment to serious medical illness” (Dulumus, 2012)

Military 1

7. If necessary in the case of the client, social workers should also help with any of the following:

  • Marriage/family problems
  • Moving to assisted living
  • Moving to nursing home
  • Counseling services for grief to vet or family member of passed veteran
  • Help applying for benefits from the VA, social security, and other government/community programs
  • Helping family members of vets dealing with depression, health issues
  • Helping vets or family members with financial and housing assistance
  • Helping with child care for vets who are overwhelmed with caring for children



Abby Arnold

Works Cited

Dulmus, C. (2012). Social work practice with the military. In Social work fields of practice: Historical trends, professional issues, and future opportunities (pp. 273-287). Hoboken, N.J.: John Wiley & Sons.


Class Lecture – March 8th, 2016


Things to Remember When Writing A DAP

A DAP is a brief write up in a health care setting when a client first seeks help or is brought in for help. This write up covers information regarding the patient, their immediate needs, the social workers assessment of what appears to be the reason they are there, and a plan to help them.

  • D— Record data immediately presented by the client including the reason they’re there, a brief history, and any other information that is provided directly by the client. The data portion of this report should be factual focusing only on the facts directly stated and presented.
  • A— The assessment portion of this report should be observational, focusing on symptoms the client may present, how they are acting, if they appear to be a danger to themselves or others, whether or not their speech is pressing, and how they seem to be reacting to the situation or interacting with others.
  • P— When creating a plan for your client, you must take into account all of the data and assessments you have done. The plan should include the next move for the client; whether or not they should be held for more observation, admitted, or if they are safe to leave, the services you think they will need to reach an end goal based on observation of their needs,  and any medical help you think they might need.
  • When recording assessments, be sure to put emphasis on the clients strengths as it is a social workers job to use a clients strengths to push them towards their end goal. If the client shows up and is seeking help, that is automatically a strength and should be recognized as one. Try to use some observations that may have had a negative connotation and make them positive and strengths based. For example, if a client appears to be bossy, and is yelling about what they want or a problem they have, rather than observing “bossiness”, view it as the strength to be assertive and their ability to articulate what they need or want.
  • To help your client understand their strengths, point out that they are not on the low end of the scale regarding their strengths. Point out what their strengths are in order to help them see that although they may appear to have several weaknesses, they can be seen as strong and can only get stronger.



Abby Arnold
Notes taken from Lecture – March 3rd, 2016

8 Facts and Statistics Surrounding Homelessness

  1. Advocates for homelessness estimate that about 3 million people in the United States are homeless. This number is hard to verify because of the vague definitions of homelessness.

homeless 2

2. Homeless women are more vulnerable to many things than men while living out of a home. They experience higher rates of health problems and face a greater risk of sexual and physical assault than homeless men do.


3. Single women with children are the fastest growing homeless population.

homeless 3

4. Characteristics of Homeless

-43% of homeless individuals are substance abusers

-26% are mentally ill

-23% are veterans

-19% have full or part time jobs

-8% have AIDS or related illnesses

homeless 5

5. Homeless Demographic according to U.S. Conference of Mayors

-Single men make up about 48% of homeless

-Single women make up 11%

-Families with children fall around 38%

-Blacks make up about 53%

-Whites make up 31% of homeless

-Hispanics fall around 12%

-Native Americans see about 3%

-Asians only make up 1% of homeless

homeless 46. Two of the main problems that individuals run into that lead to homeless are poverty and the need for affordable housing.

homeless 1

7. Several homeless individuals leave their homes to escape abuse. These victims of abuse are more vulnerable to poverty.

homeless 6

8.ANYONE can become homeless.



Abby Arnold

Information taken from:

Boes, M., & Wormer, K. (1997). Social Work with Homeless Women in Emergency Rooms: A Strengths-Feminist Perspective. Affilia, 12(4), 408-426. doi:10.1177/088610999701200404

5 Crucial Things that Social Workers can Contribute to the Criminal Justice System


Social workers have been limited in the criminal justice system in many ways because of differing goals. The criminal justice system focuses on control and punishment of people who have committed crimes. Social workers put a stronger emphasis on the care and treatment of people who have made mistakes. (DeNitto & Mckneece, Issues)


2. Understanding Mentality

Social Workers understand the importance of words when working with a client. They do not place titles upon people who have made mistakes, but rather understand that mistakes do not define who a person is. For example, a “felon” is not a felon, but simply a person with a felony. And a “drug addict” is a person in long term recovery. (Jeff Pryor)

3. Re-Entry Services

When an individual spends a lot of time in prison, they will need help re-entering the community following release. Services they might need could include anything from rehabilitation for substance abuse, therapy, skills needed to acquire work and housing, etc. Without access to these services, the rate of recidivism is 66%. (Jeff Pryor) Social Workers provide re-entry services to help with a smoother transition back into the community and attempt to prevent recidivism.


4. Value on a Humans Life

When an individual is sent to prison and given the death penalty, without a social worker, the odds will never be in their favor. As a social worker, a human life is one of the most valuable things and that there is more to a person than the mistakes they have made in the past. Social Workers advocate for their clients life in the case of the death penalty and tell their story, every part of it, after gaining a complete understanding of the life events that have led the client here to this. (Lisa Orloff, Days in the Lives)


5. Empathy

Most importantly, Social Workers can provide empathy towards clients in the Criminal Justice System. Empathy is a theme seen in all of the things listed above that are crucial to the well being of clients in the system. Social workers have the ability to gain a fuller understanding of a client, and seeing them more as someone who is nothing but the mistakes they’ve made.


Abby Arnold


DiNitto, D., & McNeece, C. (2008). Social work: Issues and opportunities in a challenging profession (3rd ed.). Chicago, IL: Lyceum Books.


Grobman, L. (2012). Days in the Lives of Social Workers (4th ed.). Harrisburg: White Hat Communications.

Jeff Pryor, Class Discussion on February 18th, 2016

4 Signs They’re Not Your True Valentine (The Cycle of IPV)

1.You just met. He praises you. He makes you feel special and beautiful. He’ll show a jealous side making you think he wants you for himself which will feel really, really good. You’ll feel like his world revolves around you and only you. And you’ll become dependent on him as he becomes dependent on you and you’ll think it’s okay. Welcome to the Honeymoon.

2.He might start blaming you for little things. He’ll criticize you, judge the choices you make, yell at you when you do anything that shows interest in or dependency on anyone other than him. You’ll start to feel the tension building and like you are walking on thin ice and you’ll do everything you can to keep him happy and prevent him from hurting you.

3.You knew it was coming, and it finally did. Here you are in the explosive stage. He snapped. He hit you, he yelled at you, he choked you, pushed you, kicked you, raped you, broke things, and trashed the house. He made you feel like nothing. He left you with bruises, cuts, maybe even broken bones, crying and alone with no one to help because he has forced you to push everyone you love away. You might call for help but you fear he’ll find out and come back even stronger than before.

4.He sees he’s hurt you and he apologizes, trying to reconcile. But only apologizes that it happened and places the blame on you for the abuse that occurred. He tells you how sorry he is and buys you gifts, encourages you to go do things you love, and be with family and friends. He tells you it will never happen again, and you believe it. He might even believe it too. You find yourself back in the honeymoon phase, just waiting for the cycle to begin again.


The use of “he” in this post can be changed to she as domestic violence can occur in any kind of relationship with an abuser or a victim being both male or female.


All information from SW 250 lecture on February 9th, 2016.

Abby Arnold