Monday, November 2, 2015

Becoming a Clinical Social Worker: Interview with Dr. Danna Bodenheimer

[Episode 99] Today’s episode of the Social Work Podcast is about becoming a clinical social worker. My guest, Dr. Danna Bodenheimer, is the author of Real World Clinical Social Work: Find Your Voice and Find Your Way published by New Social Worker Press.

In today's interview Danna and I talk about what makes a social worker a clinical social worker, what distinguishes a good from a bad clinical social worker, the one essential thing that all social workers bring to supervision, and the role of narcissism, observing ego, transference, counter-transference and the real relationship in clinical social work. We end with a discussion of money and how social workers need to earn enough so they can be present with their clients.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Cognitive Enhancement Therapy for Schizophrenia: Interview with Shaun Eack, Ph.D.

[Episode 98] Today’s episode of the Social Work Podcast is about Cognitive Enhancement Therapy (Eack, 2012) - a relatively new approach to addressing some of the most persistent and intractable problems faced by people with schizophrenia. In order to learn more CET, I spoke with Shaun Eack, Ph.D. Dr. Eack has been involved in most of the clinical research on CET. He is the David E. Epperson Associate Professor of Social Work and Psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh, and the director of the ASCEND Program, which stands for "Advanced Support and Cognitive Enhancement for Neurodevelopmental Disorders. I spoke with Shaun at the 2015 Society for Social Work and Research conference. In our interview, Shaun talks about the development of CET, the computer exercises and group therapy - the two components of the treatment, some amazing research findings, and how social workers can get trained in CET.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Here's Tweeting at You: Using Social Media to Expand the Reach of Academic Conferences

[Episode 97] Today’s episode of the Social Work Podcast answers that age-old question, how do I live tweet a conference? In April 2014, I recorded a conversation with members of the social media team that was live tweeting the 2014 American Association of Suicidology conference: April Foreman, Tony Wood, Quintin Hunt, Dese'Rae Stage, and Cara Anna. The conversation was recorded at the end of four intense days. You’ll hear team members talking about the personal and professional benefits of live tweeting, how they handled controversial comments, and what it was like to be part of an historic moment. I include a "best practice" guide to help you plan what to do before, during, and after a conference or event.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Attachment-Based Family Therapy (ABFT) for Depressed and Suicidal Youth: Interview with Guy Diamond, Ph.D., and Suzanne Levy, Ph.D.

[Episode 96] In today's Social Work Podcast I speak with two of the three developers of Attachment-based Family Therapy (ABFT), Guy S. Diamond, Ph.D. and Suzanne Levy, Ph.D. The third developer Gary M. Diamond (no relation to Guy Diamond) lives in Israel and was unavailable for the interview.

ABFT is the only family-based psychotherapy with empirical support for reducing suicidal ideation in youth. In today's interview, Dr. Diamond and Dr. Levy discuss the theory and practice of Attachment-Based Family Therapy. Dr. Diamond mostly covers theory and concepts, and Dr. Levy addresses the question of "what does the therapist actually do in the therapy room."

If you're interested in learning more about ABFT, you can buy the treatment manual Attachment Based Family Therapy for Depressed Adolescents, watch a free webinar, or attend a workshop.

ABFT is listed on the National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices, also referred to as NREPP. According to NREPP, 
"Attachment-Based Family Therapy (ABFT) is a treatment for adolescents ages 12-18 that is designed to treat clinically diagnosed major depressive disorder, eliminate suicidal ideation, and reduce dispositional anxiety. The model is based on an interpersonal theory of depression, which proposes that the quality of family relationships may precipitate, exacerbate, or prevent depression and suicidal ideation. In this model, ruptures in family relationships, such as those due to abandonment, neglect, or abuse or a harsh and negative parenting environment, influence the development of adolescent depression. Families with these attachment ruptures lack the normative secure base and safe haven context needed for an adolescent's healthy development, including the development of emotion regulation and problem-solving skills. These adolescents may experience depression resulting from the attachment ruptures themselves or from their inability to turn to the family for support in the face of trauma outside the home. ABFT aims to strengthen or repair parent-adolescent attachment bonds and improve family communication. As the normative secure base is restored, parents become a resource to help the adolescent cope with stress, experience competency, and explore autonomy. 
ABFT is typically delivered in 60- to 90-minute sessions conducted weekly for 12-16 weeks. Treatment follows a semistructured protocol consisting of five sequential therapy tasks, each of which has clearly outlined processes and goals:
  1. Task 1: The Relational Reframe Task, with the adolescent and parents (or parent) together, sets the foundation of the therapy. After an assessment of the history and nature of the depression, the therapist focuses on relational ruptures. This shift pivots on the therapeutic question, "When you feel so depressed or suicidal, why don't you go to your parents for help?" The progression of this conversation leads parents and the adolescent to agree that improving the quality of their relationship would be a good starting point for treatment.
  2. Task 2: The Adolescent Alliance Task, with the adolescent alone, identifies relational ruptures in the family and links them to the depression. The adolescent is encouraged and prepared to discuss these often avoided feelings and memories with his or her parents.
  3. Task 3: The Parent Alliance Task, with the parents alone, explores their current stressors and their own history of attachment disappointments. These conversations activate parental caregiving instincts to behaviorally and emotionally protect their child, which helps motivate parents to learn and use new attachment-promoting parenting skills.
  4. Task 4: The Attachment Task, with the adolescent and parents together, creates an opportunity for the adolescent to directly express his or her thoughts and feelings about past and current relational injustices. Rather than defending themselves, parents help the adolescent fully express and explore these emotionally charged topics. This conversation helps the adolescent work through trauma, address negative patterns in the relationship, and practice new conflict resolution and emotion regulation skills.
  5. Task 5: The Autonomy Task, with the adolescent and parents together, helps consolidate the new secure base. In solving day-to-day problems, parents provide support and expectations and the adolescent seeks to develop autonomy while remaining appropriately attached to his or her parents." (

Monday, March 9, 2015

Happy Social Work Month 2015

[Episode 95] Hey there podcast listeners. March is Social Work Month. I know, you’re saying, but every month is social work month. Yes… that’s true… for social workers. But, social work is one of those professions that, to misquote Ogden Rogers [Episode 88], if you’re doing it well, people don’t know you’re doing it. so, let’s have a month to remind the general public of what social workers do. In that spirit, today’s episode is a quick and dirty rundown of some of the things I do for social work and some of the things I’m involved in that make social work a better profession. So, this episode is a quick and dirty rundown of upcoming episodes, resources for social work and technology, and information about my book, Suicide in Schools, published by Routledge Press in December 2014.

NASW’s theme for Social Work Month 2015 is “social work paves the way for change.” I love our profession and all that we do to pave the way for change for the oppressed, marginalized, and underrepresented in our society. I also recognize that there are social workers who have paved the way for me to change. So, every day this month I’m honoring a different social worker who has inspired me and helped me to change so I can be a better social worker. You can see my list of social workers on the Social Work Podcast Facebook page at, the Twitter feed @socworkpodcast.

Upcoming episodes:
Attachment-Based Family Therapy: Guy Diamond & Suzanne Levy
Cognitive Enhancement Therapy: Shaun Eack
Working with Deaf People: Teresa Crowe Gualladet
The Contribution of the Children's Bureau to Social Work Education: Alice Lieberman
Social Innovation: Steve Anderson
Suicide in Schools: Terri Erbacher

NASW is launching a series of Tweet Chats. Tweet chats are opportunities for people to gather on Twitter at a specified time and use a specific hashtag (that symbol that we used to call the “pound sign”) and discuss a specific topic. I’m honored to be the NASW Tweet Chat guest on April 2nd talking about “Suicide in Schools.” Laurel Hitchcock has a wonderful guide for how to participate in a Tweet Chat. If you like it, you can participate in lots of Tweet chats. Well-established tweet chats specific to social work include:

Speaking of Laurel Hitchcock, she’s one of a growing cadre of experts in the integration of social work and technology. Many can be found posting on the Google + group, Social Work and Technology and Twitter. Name to look out for include: Laurel Hitchcock, Nancy Smyth, Jimmy Young, Karen Zgoda, Melanie Sage, Julie Hanks, Neil Ballantyne, Dorlee Michaeli (formerly DorleeM), Lauri Goldkind, Mike Langlois, and recently Sean Erreger.

Another source of information about tech and social work is, which stands for human services Information Technology applications.

There are several excellent podcasts about social work and social services :



Suicide in Schools provides school-based professionals with practical, easy-to-use guidance on developing and implementing suicide prevention, assessment, intervention and postvention strategies at the individual, family, school, and community level. The book includes detailed case examples, guidelines, handouts, and internet resources on the best approaches to effectively working with youth who are experiencing a suicidal crisis as well as those students, families, school staff, and community members who have suffered the loss of a loved one to suicide. Here are some reviews of the book:

"This book provides the exact kind of practical information school staff need to know, from how to tell a parent his or her child is contemplating a suicidal act to what the school staff member's responsibility is to the child, the parent, and to the community to address suicidal risk. When combined with the detailed case examples that really bring an extra dimension to the step-by-step guides, this book becomes a must-read for any professional working in a school environment." Thomas Joiner, PhD, Robert O. Lawton Professor of Psychology at Florida State University and director of the Laboratory for the Study and Prevention of Suicide-Related Conditions and Behaviors

"A comprehensive guide for all educators seeking the current evidenced-based, model practices for suicide prevention in schools. The ‘expert tips’ reflect a wealth of knowledge gleaned from the front lines, where collaboration is essential between school psychologists, social workers, counselors, and their administrators. The authors paraphrase our national motto: ‘Everyone in the school plays a role in suicide prevention!’" Richard Lieberman, NCSP, school psychologist/consultant with the Los Angeles County Suicide Prevention Network

"Suicide in Schools is an essential, invaluable resource for all school personnel who are interested in preventing self-harm among their students. User-friendly, yet erudite, the book serves as a manual for evidence-based and innovative practices. If only this reference had been available when, as president of the National Association of School Psychologists, I issued a call to action to prevent suicide." Ralph E. (Gene) Cash, PhD, ABPP, professor at the Center for Psychological Studies and director of the School-related Psychological Assessments and Clinical Interventions Clinic at Nova Southeastern University

"This book provides a comprehensive examination of the many issues that schools face in working with suicidal youth and provides hands-on strategies that have been successfully implemented in school-based settings. The authors provide excellent case examples and practical information that aligns with clinical and research experts in the field of youth suicidal behavior. Finally, the authors structure their book to extensively explain how a multi-tiered approach can be implemented for suicide prevention, risk assessment, and management of youth suicidal behavior. This book provides exactly the help school personnel need to feel more confident in working with high-risk youth and thus is an invaluable resource for anyone working in the schools and/or working with them. It already has a place on my desk." James J. Mazza, PhD, professor and director of the school psychology program at the University of Washington

Thanks for all that you do, social workers. We’re an amazing and storied profession. Happy social work month. And keep up the good work.

Download MP3 [12:26]

APA (6th ed) citation for this podcast:

Singer, J. B. (Producer). (2015, March 9). #95 - Happy social work month 2015 [Audio Podcast]. Social Work Podcast. Retrieved from

Monday, January 5, 2015

Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) Adapted for Social Work: Interview with Marion Bogo and Mary Rawlings

[Episode 94] Today’s episode of the Social Work Podcast is on Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) for social work. My guests, Marion Bogo and Mary Rawlings, and their co-authors Ellen Katz and Carmen Logie, are pioneers in the development, implementation, and evaluation of OSCE adapted for social work.

The audience for today's episode is social work faculty, specifically practice instructors who are interested in learning more about how to objectively evaluate their student's skills. Today's episode reviews the origins of OSCE adapted for social work, how it is implemented in different types of social work programs, some findings from the research that has been conducted on OSCE, and some recommendations for faculty who are interested in learning more about this approach.

Disclosure: I served as a CSWE Council on Publications liason with Marion Bogo for the text Using Simulation in Assessment and Teaching: OSCE Adapted for Social Work (Objective Structured Clinical Examination)

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Personal and Professional Perspectives on Religious Child Maltreatment: Interview with Bethany Brittain and Ann Haralambie, JD, CWLS

[Episode 93] Today’s episode of the Social Work Podcast is on Religious Child Maltreatment. Longtime listeners of the podcast will remember that I first addressed this topic in 2012 when I interviewed Janet Heimlich about her book “Breaking Their Will: Shedding Light on Religious Child Maltreatment.” In episode 72, Janet explained that religious child maltreatment is any abuse or neglect that was done in the name of religion, or that was encouraged, condoned, or assumed as a necessary practice by a religious community. Parents are more likely to engage in religious child maltreatment when they are members of authoritarian religious communities. Janet’s book is a wonderful primer on the topic, and her interview was a treasure trove of information for social workers.

In today’s episode I spoke with two people who bring very different perspectives to this issue. Bethany Brittan is on the board of the Child Friendly Faith project and is a survivor of RCM. Ann Haralambie is a certified family law specialist and a certified child welfare law specialist practicing in Tucson Arizona. I had two goals for our interview. The first was to give voice to the experience of people who have survived RCM. To that end, I present Bethany’s story as un-interrupted tape. The second was to unpack some of the differences between the personal experience of RCM and the professional challenges associated with protecting children from religious maltreatment. You’ll hear Ann and me talk about legal, educational, and bureaucratic issues associated with child maltreatment. 

And now, without further ado, on to episode 93 of the Social Work Podcast: Personal and Professional Perspectives on Religious Child Maltreatment: Interview with Bethany Brittain and Ann Haralambie, JD.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Music, positive youth development, and homelessness: Interview with Brian Kelly, Ph.D.

[Episode 92] Today's episode of the Social Work Podcast looks at an innovative approach to developing strengths and resilience in youth experiencing homelessness - a music studio housed within an agency. 

In today’s interview, I speak with Brian Kelly, Ph.D., assistant professor at Loyola University Chicago. Brian briefly describes factors that put youth at risk for homelessness and the three levels of services provided to homeless youth. We end with Brian playing some clips from the audio documentary, and discussing how the music provides insight into the youths' lives.    

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Shared Trauma: Interview with Carol Tosone, Ph.D.

[Episode 91] Today's episode of the Social Work Podcast is about shared trauma, one in which the provider and client experienced the same traumatic event simultaneously. If you're not familiar with the concept of shared trauma, no worries. It is a relatively new concept, but one that has been experienced as long as there have been helpers and... helpees.

In order to better understand shared trauma, I spoke with Dr. Carol Tosone, one of a handful of scholars whose writings and research have defined shared trauma. Dr. Tosone is Associate Professor at New York University Silver School of Social Work. She is a Distinguished Scholar in Social Work in the National Academies of Practice in Washington, D.C.

In today's episode, Dr. Tosone unpacks the concept of shared trauma. She uses her personal experience of being in a therapy session on September 11, 2001, when the first plane flew over her building, and how sharing the trauma of 9/11 with her client affected her professional and personal life. During our conversation she answered many questions: How does a concurrent experience of the same traumatic event as your client affect the treatment relationship? In what ways is it beneficial to the treatment relationship? How do you know when it is detrimental? We end our conversation with recommendations for practitioners.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Adolescence, the Age of Opportunity: Interview with Laurence Steinberg, Ph.D.

[Episode 90] Today's episode is about adolescence. I spoke with Laurence Steinberg, who wrote the book Age of Opportunity: Lessons from the New Science of Adolescence.He is the author of approximately 350 articles and essays on growth and development during the teenage years, and the author, co-author, or editor of 17 books. He has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the American Psychological Association’s Bronfenbrenner Award for Lifetime Contribution to developmental Psychology in the Service of Science and Society and its Award for Distinguished Contributions to Research in Public Policy, as well as the National Academy of Sciences Henry and Bryna David Lectureship. In 2009, Steinberg was named the first winner of the Klaus J. Jacobs Research Prize for Productive Youth Development. In 2013, he was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

In today's interview Dr. Steinberg and I spoke about the growing gap between onset of puberty and the end of adolescence; challenges facing parents, providers, and policy makers to provide adolescents with experiences and skills needed to be successful; and how reconceptualizing adolescence as an age of opportunity rather than an age risk is an essential reframe to address the needs of this youth in this developmental stage. We ended our conversation with recommendations for practitioners, educators, and policy makers. 

One note, even though Dr. Steinberg and I work in adjacent buildings at Temple University, I interviewed him over Skype because he was out of the state.