(1) Most people who suffer from substance or alcohol abuse do so because of something traumatic they have experienced as a child. This traumatic event could be sexual abuse, physical abuse, or even just witnessing something violent and traumatic. The person with the substance abuse problem has probably not talked about the event since it happened, so they do not know how to process it and use drugs and alcohol to self medicate (Merrit  Hartblay).

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(2) You can not put addicts into categories of good people or bad people. They are simply people who have made some bad decisions. Almost everyone makes a bad decision at some point in their life, and a few bad decisions should not define who you are as a person (Merrit Hartblay).

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(3) When trying to help someone who suffers from substance or alcohol abuse it is important to remember that you can not force someone to stop using and stay clean. The abuser needs to want to change themselves or they will not be successful (Merrit Hartblay).

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(4) It is not just the addict that is affected by their substance abuse. The entire family of the abuser is affected by the substance abuse (Merrit Hartblay).

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(5) Relapse happens way before the addict uses the drugs or drinks the alcohol. Relapse happens as soon as the abuser starts thinking that they can no longer stay clean (Merrit Hartblay).

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6 Interesting Facts About Vets

(1) Veterans are very good at reading people. It is important for social workers to remember this when clients share surprising and even disturbing information. Social workers need to quickly regain their composure after hearing surprising information in order to make the vet as comfortable as possible (Connie Sturgeon).

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(2) Veterans are also very interested in finding out how human you are. They want to feel your empathy, and get the sense that you are there for them and can empathize with what they are going through. As a social worker it is important for you to show the vet that you have a soul and your not just a robot (Connie Sturgeon).

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(3) Unlike other forms of social work, military social workers are instructed to always put the vest first. This means that paper work can be put on the back burner if a client is having an emergency and needs to talk to a social worker right away (Connie Sturgeon).

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(4) Sometimes social workers can do phone sessions with veterans and help them that way. This is another aspect of working in military social work that may not be available in other fields of social work. Our speaker gave an example of how one of her clients had her extension to her work phone and would call it when he had trouble sleeping. Hearing her voice on the answering machine was enough to sooth the vet and help him fall back asleep (Connie Sturgeon).

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(5) It is also common for vets to self medicate when they get back from the war (Connie Sturgeon).

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(6) Victims of sexual assault or harassment in the military do not always get justice. Most of the time they also have PTSD, and being that it is very difficult to find hard evidence in those situations, the social worker usually tries to focus on the PTSD (Connie Sturgeon).

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7 Duties of a Medical Social Worker

Social workers responsibilities differ depending on the facility, unit, and culture of the social work department in each given facility. Social workers duties may also differ depending on which shift they work (DiNitto & McNeece, 2008, PG. 203).

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(1) It is important for social workers working the night shift to be well acquainted with community service providers. Keep in mind that they generally make few referrals other than for emergency drug treatment or psychiatric care (DiNitto & McNeece, 2008, PG. 203).

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(2) Social workers working the day shift spend a lot of their time on the phone making referrals, meeting with patients and their family members, and helping the treatment team to provide counseling services (DiNitto & McNeece, 2008, PG. 203).

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(3) Social workers are also responsible for advocating for patients in the health care organization or community if the patient is not able to advocate for themselves (DiNitto & McNeece, 2008, PG. 204).

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(4) It is the responsibility of the social worker to seek out funding that meets global health care demands (DiNitto & McNeece, 2008, PG. 204).

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(5) Social workers act as liaisons between health care organizations and the community (DiNitto & McNeece, 2008, PG. 204).

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(6) Social workers are expected to participate in interdisciplinary treatment teams. The concept of these teams requires that each member complete an assessment according to the standards of his or her respective discipline. They are then expected to identify tentative goals and create a plan that allows each client to reach said goals (DiNitto & McNeece, 2008, PG. 206).

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(7) Providing patients and families with health education is also a responsibility of the social worker. It is important that patients and their families are aware of different medications and procedures before they consent to taking anything or getting operated on (DiNitto & McNeece, 2008, PG. 204).

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Lewis’s Four Categories that Describe the Culture of Poverty

(1) The first category focuses on people who do not belong to social, professional, or community organizations. Included in this category are those who also do not belong to labor unions or political groups. Lewis claims that because this group of people are not a part of the larger culture or society, they are less likely to enjoy the benefits of social support networks and community resources. These benefits are known as social capital, and lead to a productive economy. Being that this group does not participate in these social institutions, they are often distrustful of social institutions (DiNitto & McNeece, 2008, PG. 294).

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(2) The second category that Lewis focuses on are communities that are mostly comprised of people in poor economic situations. Lewis claimed that this group lacked organization beyond the family unit. Being that this group does not engage in activities that support the betterment of the community, they suffer from lower quality public services, social services, and schools. In addition they lack security and safety. All of these factors cause poverty among this group of residents (DiNitto & McNeece, 2008, PG. 295).

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(3) The third element that Lewis focuses on is the family unit. He made it evident that some families fail to properly socialize children, as well as fail to provide them with the tools they need to grow into healthy adults. As a result, these children are more likely to have children of their own at a younger age, as well as engage in single parenting. It is also common for children raised in these environments to drop out of school and become unemployed (DiNitto & McNeece, 2008, PG. 295).

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(4) The final category is focused on individual conduct. He explains how it is common for people in poverty to have weak egos, poor impulse control, and a constant sense of failure. People in poverty also find delaying gratification difficult (DiNitto & McNeece, 2008, PG. 295).

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Works Cited:

DiNitto, D. M., & McNeece, C. A. (2008). Social Work Issues and Opportunities (3rd ed.). Chicago, IL: Lyceum Books.

 

6 Surprising Facts about Prison Re-Entry Clients and Coordinators

(1) 66% of people in prison will end up back there if they don’t get assistance upon release (Jeff Pryor 2/18/16).

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(2) It is the responsibility of the re-entry coordinator to provide the client with opportunities and resources that will eventually allow them to help themselves. It is not the coordinators job to tell the client how they should live their life. The client needs to want to get help and change in order for change to happen (Jeff Pryor 2/18/16).

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(3) Re-entry coordinators work with clients that are at the highest risk for going back to prison. This could get tricky when the re-entry coordinator has to chose between which clients are more likely to go back to prison and which ones aren’t (Jeff Pryor 2/18/16).

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(4) The more intimate and interpersonal the relationship of the client and the coordinator is the better chance the client has to stay out of prison. This does not necessarily mean that larger organizations are not as effective as smaller ones, because large organizations will have a bigger staff as well as bigger funds to work with (Jeff Pryor 2/18/16).

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(5) Some re-entry coordinators are able to meet with their clients up to three months before they get released from prison. This allows the coordinator to form a relationship with the client and build up some trust (Jeff Pryor 2/18/16).

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(6) Clients on parole living in this area get nine or ten chances before being locked back up in prison. This gives them some leeway when readjusting to life outside of prison (Jeff Pryor 2/18/16).

 

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Works Cited

Guest Speaker: Jeff Pryor 2/18/16

 

5 Surprising Facts about Domestic Abuse Shelters

(1) Every shelter varies in the services they provide. Shelters vary in the number of rooms they have and how many beds are in each room. Some shelters provide private bathrooms in each room, while others are only capable of providing public bathrooms for everyone in the shelter to share. For the most part, kitchen and living room space is shared by all. It is also up to the shelter to decide if entire families seeking help stay in one room together or if they take several rooms (Carrie Moylan).

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(2) Every shelter also varies in the amount of rules that victims are required to follow and how strictly they are enforced. For example, Carrie Moylan worked at a shelter that strictly enforced a 5:00 PM curfew (Carrie Moylan).

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(3) It is also very common for shelters to have secret locations. The more difficult it is for someone to find a shelter the safer it becomes for the person staying there. This way victims can feel safe and don’t have to worry so much about their abuser coming after them (Carrie Moylan).

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(4) There are shelters that allow men to stay under the same roof as women. However, there are also shelters that won’t allow boys past the age of 14 to stay overnight. This could be hard on the victim and upset her even more if she needs to separate from her children (Carrie Moylan).

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(5) Shelters do not deny victims entry even if they are full. If the absolutely can not find space for a victim they will call shelters from other counties and try to find them someone safe to stay. Shelters also have the ability to get victims hotel rooms if there is no where else for them to stay (Carrie Moylan).

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Works Cited:

Guest Speaker 2/11/16 Carrie Moylan

6 Factors That Can Complicate Leadership in Social Work

(1) The great divide between private and non-profit organizations. There is still a gap in social work organizations whose goal is to increase profit vs. organizations who are dedicated to furthering a particular cause (Class notes 2/2/16).

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(2) The values, ethics, personalities, and practice of each social worker. Some social workers are not comfortable with power and the idea of having it in a professional setting. The roles they usually assume do not imply lasting power (Rank & Hutchison, PG 492).

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(3) Normally social work involves egalitarian participation when it comes to making decisions, which gives different groups the chance to obtain power. However, this participation can also reduce standards and knowledge that are supposed to strengthen the role of leadership. This is known as ideological constraints (Class notes 2/2/16) (Rank & Hutchinson, PG 493).

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(4) There have been funding cuts to social welfare programs which no longer give the social workers freedom to choose what programs they engage in. Instead of fighting the cuts and changes social workers decided to find new areas of practice (Class notes 2/2/16).

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(5) Social work is largely dominated by women and minorities. These groups are for the most part deemed as unfit to lead by society. The fact that social workers often work with vulnerable and oppressed populations adds to that lack of power (Class notes 2/2/16).

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(6) Supervision is a key element in social work education as well as practice. Although early supervision laws were criticized for being endless and aimless, insurance laws in NYS requires 6 years supervision post masters for a LCSW license (Class Notes 2/2/16).

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