Celebrated each March, National Professional Social Work Month is an opportunity for social workers across the country to turn the spotlight on the profession and highlight the important contributions they make to society. Every day, the nation’s 680,000 social workers work to empower and elevate millions of people, including some of the most vulnerable in our society. They confront some of the most challenging issues facing individuals, families, communities, and society, and they forge solutions that help people reach their full potential and make our nation a better place to live.
In honor of Social Work Month, we are profiling the social workers that we are fortunate to have on the Encompass staff.
Did you know that Encompass is home to two social workers?
Our very own Kat Kaiser, Child and Family Therapist, (above left) and Megan Walsh, Behavioral Health Manager, (above right) are licensed social workers.
What do social workers do at Encompass?
Social workers at Encompass offer support to children encountering mental, emotional, behavioral, and/or relationship challenges and their families. Social workers address these challenges through individual or family therapy, group therapy, and child care consultations.
What makes social work unique?
Social workers focus on helping people function in their environments. They help the child and/or parents of the child explore their current environment—both physical and relational—and help them change both the way they navigate those spaces and, when possible, help the client learn to remove or conquer barriers in their path. As I heard someone recently say, “Social workers get things done!”
What is one of the best parts of being a social worker?
“One of my favorite things about being a social worker is that my education and experiences prepare me to go out into my community and offer tangible supports to people who are struggling,” says Walsh. “Social workers are taught to look at the person in their environment and notice how their relationships and circumstances are impacting them and then develop creative solutions to those challenges.”
What Kaiser likes about being a social worker is that “with a few tools and the willingness to recognize an individual’s or family’s uniqueness and value in society, you can make a fundamental difference in their life.”
What is a challenging aspect of being a social worker?
“I think one of the most challenging parts of being a helping professional is that we can’t just turn that ‘ability to notice’ other people’s emotions and struggles off at the end of the day,” replies Walsh. “Social workers often hold space for and carry the weight of many people’s issues, and it’s vitally important that they are surrounded by a skilled clinical team to help offset the weight heaviness that can entail. One of my favorite things about Encompass is that we place a priority on providing that kind of support to each other on a daily basis.”
Kaiser agrees, stating that the most challenging part of her job is “holding clients’ often painful and difficult stories in order to empathize and collaborate on treatment. Peer support rocks!”
What is something that most people don’t know about social work?
“Social workers are everywhere and an MSW [Master of Social Work] is the most adaptable degree!” says Kaiser. “Politics, healthcare, business, education, courts, grassroots, foundations, arts, and amazing nonprofits.”
How can I celebrate Social Work Month at home?
- Talk about your child’s feelings and try to understand and respect them. This will create a strong bond between you and your child and help your child feel safe and protected.
- Honor your child’s feelings and teach them that feelings can change over time.
- Try to create and maintain routines. This will create a consistent environment to help your child feel safe.
- Create and maintain supportive relationships with friends and family members. It will create a secure, supportive environment for your child.
- All behavior is communication. What is your child trying to tell you?
- Try not to respond only to the behavior. Look for the need underneath the behavior and meet that need.
- When the child’s need for structure increases, their need for nurture increases simultaneously. Provide the structure they need with a heaping dose of nurture.
- Observe your child’s behavior and whenever you notice concerning tendencies, don’t hesitate to ask for help.
Thank you to Encompass social workers Kat Kaiser and Megan Walsh for all that you do for families! Let’s all take Social Work Month as an opportunity to thank the social workers we know for the important work that they do in our communities.
For more information about Social Work Month 2019, visit socialworkmonth.org.