The Stages of Grief: As Told by Kuebler-Ross and our Guest Speaker

According to Broderick (1998), “death was a subject less likely than sex to be found in most college curriculum, but the commitment to the subject varies from discipline to discipline” With that in mind, grief isn’t talked about either. (Huff, Weisenfluh, Murphy, & Black, 2008)


Anticipatory Grief

An interesting point made by our guest speaker, Sarah Hopkins, anticipatory grief is the anticipation of a loss. It is common to feel and anxiety and even dread as this stage occurs. It is a part of grief that might not be talked about in Kuebler and Ross’s stages of grief or by society in general, but it is very important in the process. (Guest Speaker, Sarah Hopkins)



One of the stages of grief is denial. Acting as a defense mechanism, denial is is just ignoring that the situation has occurred.  (lecture)



Often times following denial, anger will come about when it sets in for the person grieving. The anger can be pointed in many directions: at the person who died, at the person his/herself, friends, family, and even medical staff. (Lecture)



Bargaining, another stage of grief, is when people will try to gain control over the situation by fixating on the if only’s. Those look like “If we only spent more time with them” or “if we only were nicer towards them” (Lecture)



Often feeling intense sadness and sometimes numbness, this is one of the common well recognized stages of grief. It can be private or open and if felt too intensely, can be a detriment to the person. (Lecture)



Acceptance is the ability to withdraw from the other stages of grief and come to terms that the death has happened. This isn’t forgetting the person in memory, but for withdrawing from the grief and moving forward with everyday life (Lecture.)




Huff, M., Weisenfluh, S., Murphy, M., & Black, P. (2008). End-of-Life Care and Social Work Education. Journal Of Gerontological Social Work, 220.

Vassello, John. (2016). Social Work with Older Adults and with End of Life. Powerpoint.

5 Treatment Plans for Mental Health Problems

As seen in Swallow Me Whole, medication is a popular treatment in mental health. Different classes of psychotropic drugs including anti-depressants, mood stabilizers, antipsychotics and others help manage the symptoms of a wide variety of mental health issues.


Inpatient Hospitalization
Used in crisis situations and serious mental health problems, inpatient hospitalization could help someone who is fighting for their life. With combinations of group therapy, medication, and individual attention, inpatient hospitalization as a last resort treatment for those who are really struggling.


Individual Therapy
Individual therapy can be found in clinics or in private practice like our guest speaker works in. Individual therapy uses different techniques depended on the patient’s needs, such as cognitive behavioral therapy and dialectical behavior therapy.


Group Therapy
Group therapy is a place where multiple people share a safe space to work though common issues. They share a common goal and look for support from each other to work through individual issues.


Alternative Medicine
While not normally thought of as standard care, alternative medicine like acupuncture, exercise, and adjusting diet can work to manage milder symptoms.


5 Reasons for Bad Attendance and 5 Ways a Social Worker Can Help a Client Fight It

Physical Health
According to lecture, home visits are a way a social worker can help keep a child on track in school when they have extensive physical illness. This is a responsibility that social workers are involved in and many don’t realize. (lecture)


Mental Health
Mental Health is an area of health that greatly impacts students. Our guest speaker talked about a young student who lost her mom to suicide. She was greatly depressed, but Sam was able to talk to her and is helping her stay in school and handle her very tough situation. This is among other issues like anxiety, sexual orientation issues, and other mental health crises. (Sam Bligen)


Bullies can scare kids straight out of school. Sam Bligen talked about his schools zero tolerance policies and policies such as that combined with assemblies and awareness about bullying can really help kids out of the dark. (Sam Bligen)


Subpar Living Environment
According to the reading, there are “increasing family pressures and changing economic conditions” and these pressures too affect the student. Sitting one on one with a student at school and setting short and long term goals for them is something that can help push through the stress. School Social workers may be able to push families to outside resources to help them. (Diehl & Frey, 2008)


Drugs & Alcohol
Drug and alcohol problems can result from any of the above and more. Conventions that mirror scared straight programs may be something that helps a kid work on beating their habit that could or may already have turn into a serious addiction. Working one on one is also a great goal to help the student. (Lecture)


Diehl, D., & Frey, A. (2008). Evaluating a Community-School Model of Social Work Practice. School Social Work Journal, 32(2), 2.

5 Ways The Promise Zone is Supporting Positive Child Welfare

The Promise Zone’s goals include student engagement, academic achievement, social and emotional competence, drop out prevention and so much more. (Guest Speaker)
The goals of the promise zone match many of the dimensions of a child’s developmental needs, according to the lecture, like health, education, and emotional and behavioral development. (Lecture Slide 3-10)


The promise zone collaborates with the community, including parents, employers, elected leaders, educators and community partners. (Guest Speaker)
Collaborating with the community helps build positive welfare for the child because it develops social and family relationships. If a family is not healthy, a child alone will have trouble achieving health. Collaborating with systems outside of the home helps to develop empathy and connect to important resources. (Lecture Slide 3-10)


The Promise Zone helps to equal access for services like mental health. This is more than just therapy! (Guest Speaker)
Behavioral and mental health needs are important for a developing child who may be in a home that isn’t very healthy. The Broome County Promise Zone helps that emotional wellbeing, which is a huge dimension in child welfare. (Lecture Slide 3-10)


The Promise Zone is trying to open a mental health clinic that will help out the students in Windsor school district. It’s for families too! (Guest Speaker)
This is just one example of how the Broome County Promise Zone caters to the emotional and behavioral development, but also to family development as well! This helps make the family healthy and grow a sense of empathy in that system for the child. (Lecture Slide 3-10)CW4.gif

The Promise Zone shows that there is more to child welfare than just Child Protective Services and similar roles. (Guest Speaker)
We often think of child welfare as Child Protective Services, and that is often found in a negative light. While CPS looks to meet all of the dimensions of needs a child has, there are other ways to do so outside of CPS, like the Promise Zone! (Lecture Slide 3-10)


4 Ways Merrit Uses Social Work to Heal the Soul of Someone with Substance Abuse.

“Chemical dependency often comes from anxiety, stress, and having no one to talk to.”

This statement is backed up by the fact that many clients have comorbid mental health diagnoses. It’s hard to tell what came first, the substance abuse or the mental health problem. Because most of these issues are caused by previous trauma, it’s important to also talk it out with someone like a social worker. (Lecture)


“The relapse happens when the person starts to feel that “they just can’t do it”, not when they pick up the substance”

According to the lecture, the stages of change cycle is precontemplation, contemplation, determination, action, maintenance, relapse. Merrit claims that relapse’s definition begins more with the contemplation to do the substance again. If you intervene on that relapse before the drug is touched, it could prevent coming back into the problem. (Lecture)


“If you change the way someone thinks, you can change the way they live” – Meritt on Cognitive behavioral therapy

CBT is one of the many treatments that can help people dealing with substance abuse.


“Addicts aren’t good or bad people, they’re people who’ve made bad decisions”

The media often portrays people with substance abuse problems very differently. The meth addict might be portrayed as scary and serious while the alcoholic may be as goofy and not serious. These portrays affect how we see addicts. (Lecture, The Simpsons and Breaking Bad)


“Social Work is about finding a way to heal the soul.” — Merrit

Lauryn Maleski

4 Breakthroughs about PTSD Treatment You Didn’t Know About as Told By Guest Lecturer Connie Studgeon

There have been new discoveries regarding the origin of flashback in the brain. (Guest Lecturer, Connie Studgeon)

According to Connie, researchers have reasons to believe that the same side of the brain that flashbacks occur on also host symptoms from psychosis, like hallucinations, delusions, etc. With this discovery, anti-psychotic medications like Abilify can be used to help manage PTSD in veterans.


Technology has helped to advance outpatient treatment for veterans who experience PTSD. (Guest Lecturer, Connie Studgeon)
According to Connie, there are apps that are help victims of PTSD with many different activities like recognizing triggers and controlling breathing.


Exposure therapy is an option, but maybe only in an inpatient setting. (Guest Lecturer, Connie Studgeon)

According to Connie, Exposure therapy is when a qualified therapist exposes the patient to something that would be triggering. This can help alleviate a lot of the pain triggers can cause, but it should be done in an in patient setting in case the veteran is triggered and needs a safe space or additional support.


Marriage and Family Counseling is an important part of services offered by Vet centers for military families (Guest Lecturer, Connie Studgeon)

According to Connie, families sometimes experience a secondary PTSD from not being able to understand their returning loved one. This can cause family tension and even lead to divorces in couples. Because of this, marriage and family counseling can be extremely beneficial to everyone.



5 Aspects of Social Work in Health Care You Didn’t Really Know About.

17.2% of US’s gross national product was spent on health care in 2011. In 2013 the number of health care social workers was 141,000. (Lecture)


Social work is involved at various levels of prevention.
These levels include primary (health education, immunizations, prenatal and post natal care), Secondary (early screening for disease, etc) and Tertiary, which prevents further complications in disease. Social workers are superheroes! (Lecture)

Social work in health care can occur on the micro, mezzo and macro levels.
From assessing the patients’ biopsychosocial needs, act as a liaison between an organization and community, and advocating for policy change, social workers working in health care take a variety on a variety of different roles and responsibilities.  (DiNitto & McNeece, 2008)


The American Hospital Association reports they have social work services in 75% of their hospitals. (lecture)
According to lecture, having social workers in the hospital may be more efficient for managing health care costs and for earlier intervention regarding access to outpatient care for whatever a patient is dealing with.


In the past, Social work has a “professional spirit” but wasn’t considered a profession.
People who worked in this field in the past were not considered to be in a profession because they did not have the correct communication and education to be considered true professionals. They modeled themselves after medicine to build a more professional model. (lecture)



DiNitto, D., & McNeece, C. (2008). Social Work Issues and Opportunities in a Challenging Profession (3rd ed., p. 205). Chicago: Lyceum Inc.