Social Work Blog

This article is alarming.  Approaches to therapy must be reconsidered in order to help increase rates of suicide prevention amongst teenagers.  The study suggests a multifaceted approach to include behavioral therapy in conjunction with talk therapy.  What do you think?

This is a clever list films set during a heat wave.  My favorites from the list are Do the Right Thing, 12 Angry Men, Rear Window, and Dog Day Afternoon.  One memorable film that was overlooked for this list is Glengarry Glen Ross.  Though it probably isn’t “memorable” for most people, Predator 2 is set during a scorching L.A. heatwave.  Check out one or more of these films that you haven’t seen yet, and stay cool and stay safe inside during this brutal weather.  Since this is a public appeal to be good to each other, I think it falls under the category of social work, ever so slightly.

There has been much buzz about Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. who is suffering from some undisclosed ailment that has previously been described by his camp as “exhaustion” and a “mood disorder”.  Carol Marin compares Jackson, who has lost control of the PR war unfolding as a result of his absence, and TV news anchor Mark Suppelsa who surprised coworkers this past May when he entered into inpatient rehabilitation for alcohol dependence.

I will be attending the University of Pittsburgh in the upcoming Fall semester to obtain my MSW degree. I was wondering though if it would be considered a bad idea to also hold a part-time job while pursing my MSW degree?

This is just one man’s opinion so take it for what it’s worth.  I say it depends on if you will be a full time student and when you will be starting your internships.  Holding down a job while taking a full load of classes and spending 2-3 days a week at an internship is an awful lot, and yet I know that some of my fellow students are doing just that.  They will tell you to “know yourself” a lot in your MSW program, so be realistic in deciding how to balance school and work.

Hey my name is Sarah and I will be a senior this coming school year, and I am getting a bachelor's degree in social work. I just stumbled upon your blog and even with your few posts I really enjoy it! Just wanted to let you know! I see you said you'll be looking for work in and around Chicago. I am actually from a suburb of Chicago but I go to school in Wisconsin.

That’s terrific!  I went up to Milwaukee last month, and I noticed how basically it is all developed between the two cities.  Thanks for reading, Sarah!  I look forward to interacting with you here.

Zombie (fasci)nation 7/15/12

While in social work graduate school (which I complete in August!), I regularly found myself to be between 5 to 10 years older than most of my classmates, with the occasional outlier being my age (33) or above.  I was born on the ass end of Generation X, and while that generation has plenty of its own issues, they don’t come close to the problems faced by Generation Y (a.k.a. Generation Why?, and Generation Whine).  I can’t exactly put my finger on what common trait shared by this younger generation irks me so much, but perhaps I can give an example in the form of a true story.  Last weekend I attended the West Fest which asked attendees for a $5 donation, and as I was reaching into my wallet to pay the admission, a group of five or so early-to-mid twentysomethings blow right through the entrance, not even acknowledging the volunteers who were collecting donations.  I felt embarrassed for them, and would have given the volunteers $5 more if I had it to spare.  If that were me who did not have the $5 for admission, I wouldn’t blow through the line like these kids did, but rather I’d stop and talk to the volunteers, explaining to them that I’m on a limited budget and can’t pay the donation but that I really appreciate them putting on the festival and so forth.  You know, the polite and thoughtful thing to do, and the complete opposite of what I observed with these five people.  Don’t get me wrong, Gen X’ers are capable of being just as obnoxious in their own way.  But you won’t see 1000+ photos of oneself on the Facebook page of someone born before 1980.  It is almost as if Gen Y’ers lack insight, and yet are completely self-obsessed, having grown up in the eras of MySpace, then Facebook, and later Twitter.  And that brings me to the title of this post.  I want to know why Gen Y’ers are obsessed with zombies?  Gen X was fascinated by vinyl and flannel, but those items had value in terms of delivering music and providing fashion.  I’ve seen Zombie Pub Crawls where people, mostly Gen Y’ers, dress up as zombies and get drunk while visiting a series of bars. It must symbolize something, but what?  People from Millennials to Baby Boomers have become zombie-like in our internet usage on various platforms from cell phones to iPads to laptops to smart TVs.  Zombies are supposed to bite people and turn them into zombies, yet Gen Y’ers can be cliquish and exclusive, not the least bit interested in people unknown to them.  I get the distinct sense that Gen Y’ers have much interest in anything that happened before they were born, whereas when I was in high school listening to alternative rock music, I traced it back to its roots in new wave and punk rock that was coming out around the time I was born, as well as classic rock by influential artists like The Who, David Bowie, and Frank Zappa.  All that said, none of this is particularly unique to Gen Y, who are just the latest instant gratification generations (the Baby Boomers are the worst offenders in this category).  Maybe you can help me out with figuring out the zombie obsession and what it may symbolize.

Click on the title to get to the link to the article.  Under a directive from Mayor Emanuel, police would only detain undocumented immigrants if they are serious criminals.  Not only will this allow undocumented immigrants to feel safe to contact and interact with police, but I think that they will also feel safer to utilize the social services of provided by community agencies and city programs.  For social workers, this increase in potential population served is a blessing and a curse, because while we certainly want to serve others and further social justice, many of us are already have full loads of clients with whom we work, and the prospect of taking on more clients would seem daunting.  On the other hand, the increase might help to create new jobs in the social work field.  While this would mostly impact the communities with high Latino populations, there are other undocumented immigrants who come from other international regions who may feel safer now to seek out social services when before they worried that such an agency could be a front for an INS sting (I’m not making that part up).  The bottom line for social workers is that we must be prepared to serve anyone from anywhere, and have the resources available for new clients if there is in fact a spike in clients served in Chicago following this mayoral directive to the CPD.  This is now the second thing Mayor Rahm Emanuel has done that I approve of, the first being going after the out of control state and city pensions, but that’s a topic for a different day.  Thanks for reading.  Feel free to comment or question.

not really sure where i'm going to work. I am going to college in boston right now so i might stay here for a little while.

Best of luck to you!  Thank you for reading and interacting.  I encourage anyone reading this blog to do so.

I’m already having fun communicating with you!

The whole point of the internet is to bring us closer to each other, but all too often it proves to be a place of sollitude for the disconnected lonely individuals to communicate via social media with other disconnected lonely individuals.  I know, that paints a bleak picture, and certainly does not apply to everyone who uses the internet, but I sometimes wonder when I see a bunch of green lights on FB chat on a Friday or Saturday night why we don’t all just together and have dinner or something.  With the rise of Twitter, it becomes even more solitary sometimes, especially times when you Tweet but nobody notices or cares.  Twitter isn’t all bad though.  I’ve met some interesting people by clicking on hashtags or searching certain topics that are of interest to me.  I think that’s how a quick couple dozen of people found this blog, by clicking on the #Social Work hashtag and finding my new endevour.  I greatly appreciate the followers, and especially those that comment or post questions.  Is it possible to truly bond online?  I say it is because I have done it.  No, I don’t think I’ll be inviting Twitter friends to come stay at my house, but I’d be interested in meeting them at a Tweetup at a NASCAR race (yes, I’m a fan; are there any other social work race fans besides me?).  I’m not sure what point I’m trying to make or how this relates back to social work, but I suppose I’m making observations on the nature of communication over new media.  It is unexplored territory for social workers, and it goes back to the question about how should social workers use social media and other new communication tools.  No matter what type of work you do, as a social worker effective communication is key to our practice.

yes i do plan to get my msw! i am going to take a few years and get some experience first though.

Sounds like a plan.  Where are you looking to work?  I’m going to be looking pretty much everywhere in/around Chicago.