Saturday, May 9, 2020

Shared Trauma in the COVID19 Pandemic: Interview with Carol Tosone, Ph.D.

[Episode 126] In today's episode of the Social Work Podcast I speak with Carol Tosone, Ph.D., Professor of Social Work and Director, DSW Program in Clinical Social Work at NYU's Silver School of Social Work.

Carol and I spoke on April 1, 2020 about her insights into the COVID-19 pandemic, psychotherapy, technology and shared trauma. Because of everything that was happening in the world, it took me nearly 5 weeks to publish the episode. Although five weeks is a quick turnaround for me, it was an eternity in an environment where life was changing daily.

I was excited to speak with Carol. On September 11, 2014, I published an episode with her about the concept of "shared trauma." This episode, along with the first interview I did with her in December 2009 on psychoanalytic social work, are some of the most widely assigned episodes in schools of social work.

In today's episode we talked about how the concept of shared trauma can help us to understand what's going on in a global pandemic, how we can think about the role of technology-mediated services, and what social workers can do to care for themselves while caring for others.

Download MP3 [22:22]

Bio (from NYU faculty website)
Dr. Carol Tosone is a professor of social work and recipient of the NYU Distinguished Teaching Award. Dr. Tosone, who joined the NYU Silver School of Social Work faculty in 1993, is a Distinguished Scholar in Social Work in the National Academies of Practice in Washington, DC. Dr. Tosone was selected for a Fulbright Senior Specialist Award for teaching and research at the Hanoi University of Education in Vietnam. She also taught as Distinguished Visiting Lydia Rappaport Professor at Smith College for Social Work. Dr. Tosone received her certification in psychoanalysis and psychotherapy from the Postgraduate Center for Mental Health, where she was the recipient of the Postgraduate Memorial Award.

APA (6th ed) citation for this podcast:

Singer, J. B. (Producer). (2020, May 9). #126 - Shared Trauma in the COVID19 Pandemic: Interview with Carol Tosone, Ph.D. [Audio Podcast]. Social Work Podcast. Retrieved from

1 comment:

Ronna R Williams said...

Ronna Renee Williams
Review of interview: Blackboard Assignment 1
The interview addressed how Social Workers can disclose their personal information to support and strengthen client’s therapeutic needs. A discussion was based on how the effects of COVID-19 has a traumatic impact with everyone, and how sharing your personal experiences to help a client overcome anxiety will benefit the worker too. The experience of sharing trauma creates a bond between the Clinician and client, which gives everyone a sense of purpose and meaning. Some examples can include:
• Helps the client feel welcomed at the session
• Eases the tension between the clinician and client
• Creates a safe space to know anyone can have difficulties coping with traumatic events like COVID-19 because we are all human.
The podcast also identified how some clinicians may struggle with challenges of their own since the pandemic and compared the crisis to 911. Some examples given, was problems with technology, and learning to use the various systems such as Zoom to conference with clients. Clinicians should not be afraid of sharing their own personal experiences to help clients they work with. Demonstrating to the client how you are handling stress can be beneficial for everyone.
• I am a strong believer of how sharing your traumatic experiences will sometimes help the client overcome different issues. Many professionals often don’t feel comfortable with utilizing that specific strategy. Throughout the years I have helped many clients overcome trauma by sharing my past experiences and how I was able to cope. I felt a sense of relief to know my story helped others who were struggling.
• Many times, workers don’t practice self-care, and it is vital to practice what you preach. Sharing is caring!!! A traumatic event can change the way one function. It can sometimes take weeks or months to find coping strategies that are helpful for the individual. The shared trauma podcast identified how some clients take comfort in knowing the worker has experienced similar issues that maybe challenging. This reminds me of the quote “together we shall overcome”!! If a worker is experiencing stress how can they help the clients they are being paid to service?