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Home    >    Empowering Clinical Social Work Practice in a Time of Global Economic Distress
Empowering Clinical Social Work Practice in a Time of Global Economic Distress
Janice Berry Edwards and Linda Openshaw, Editors
ISBN: 978-0-87101-546-4. 2019. Item #5464. 236 pages.
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Poverty and financial insecurity can have devastating consequences to one’s physical and mental health, even threatening basic survival. During these challenging economic times, social workers have an opportunity to empower those at risk.

Starting with a discussion of poverty and relevant global social policies, the book explores how economic distress exacerbates already stressful situations, and how those challenges surface in clinical practice. The ensuing chapters examine poverty and its impact on children and adolescents, older adults, adults with disabilities, veterans, immigrants, and other vulnerable groups. Financial insecurity is viewed through the lens of everyday clinical practice and how it interacts with trauma, attachment theory, psychopathology, and psychopharmacology.

Rather than emphasizing deficits, chapter authors advocate for a strengths-based perspective, focusing on the positive aspects of the client’s life, such as their values, skills, talents, hopes, resiliencies, and community. By focusing on the client’s strengths, the practitioner can gain a better understanding of the client; identify the approaches to care that will be most successful; and inspire hope, enthusiasm, and growth.

This book demonstrates that strengths-based interventions can be a powerful antidote to the destructive forces of poverty and adversity, and ultimately lead to resource mobilization and empowerment. Through case studies and active learning exercises, students can practice applying the skills they have learned in each chapter.

Chapter 1: Poverty
Linda Openshaw and Andrew McLane

Chapter 2: The Effect of Economic Distress on Trauma-Informed Social Work Practice and Attachment
Janice Berry Edwards and Stephenie Howard

Chapter 3: The Impact of Economic Distress and Despair on Adults with Disabilities
Ruby M. Gourdine and Kadee D. Atkinson

Chapter 4: Struggling to Make Ends Meet: The Impact of Economic Distress on Older Adults
Claudia Thorne, Sandra Edmonds Crewe, and Gladys Mendez

Chapter 5: Clinical Social Work Practice with Immigrant Populations during a Time of Global Economic Distress
Cudore L. Snell and Barbara Evans-Kwamla

Chapter 6: The Impact of Economic Distress on Veterans
Linda Openshaw and Andrew McLane

Chapter 7: The Impact of Economic Distress and Despair on Psychopathology and Psychopharmacology
Cynthia E. Harris and Shirley Newton-Guest

Chapter 8: The Effects of Ultra-Poverty and Economic Distress on Clinical Social Work with Refugee Women
Julie Orme and Fariyal Ross-Sheriff

Chapter 9: The Impact of Economic Distress on Clinical Practice with Muslims
Stephenie Howard and Altaf Husain

About the Editors
About the Contributors
Janice Berry Edwards, PhD, LICSW, LCSW, ACSW, BCD, is a clinical social worker and associate professor in the School of Social Work at Howard University. She received her MSW degree from the Howard University School of Social Work and her PhD from the National Catholic School of Social Work, Catholic University. Edwards maintains a private practice, where she provides clinical social work psychodynamic and psychoanalytic treatment. Her range of experiences extends from providing clinical services to inpatient psychiatrically hospitalized children, adolescents, and adults to outpatient psychotherapy to individuals, couples, and families. Before she entered academia, she was the clinical director of the Emergency Psychiatric Response Team at the Federal Bureau of Investigation for 10 years. In her position, she was responsible for the assessment, intervention, and treatment of crisis cases, and she provided trauma treatment in a wide range of clinical scenarios. Previously she had been a policy analyst in the Office of the Secretary of Health and Human Services in the Office of the Assistant Director for Policy Evaluation. She currently serves on the Board of the Washington School of Psychiatry in Washington, DC. Edwards has served as a clinical consultant to numerous agencies in Washington, DC. She has extensive experience in clinical social work practice and has publications in the areas of clinical social work practice and social work education. She is an active member of the National Association of Social Workers, the Greater Washington Society for Clinical Social Work, the Clinical Social Work Association, and the American Association for Psychoanalysis in Clinical Social Work.

Linda Openshaw, DSW, LCSW, ACSW, is professor and MSW program director at Texas A&M University-Commerce, where she has worked since 2001. She also worked as a school social worker in Texas and Utah for 14 years and in community mental health in Utah and California for three years. She has been an item writer for the Association of Social Work Boards since 2006. She received her doctorate in social work from the University of Utah.

Kadee D. Atkinson, LGSW, is a graduate of the Florida State University with a BS in family and child sciences. She earned her MSW degree at Howard University, where she had a concentration in direct practice in the clinical mental health field of practice. She is working on her PhD in social work, also at Howard University, and her research interests include trauma, mental health, adverse childhood experiences, and women’s issues. In preparation for her dissertation, she is examining the relationship between maternal child maltreatment and pregnancy outcomes. Atkinson was a 2018 Dr. James A. Ferguson Emerging Infectious Diseases Research Initiatives for Student Enhancement (RISE) Fellow and will be conducting research at the National Institutes of Health in the 2019 Graduate Summer Opportunity to Advance Research (G-SOAR) Program. During this academic year, she was awarded the Just Julian fellowship, which allows her to work on her planned research areas. In addition, she serves as a research assistant in the Behavioral Health Workforce Education and Training Program in the School of Social Work at Howard University, collecting and analyzing data on interprofessional experiences in underserved communities.

Sandra Edmonds Crewe, PhD, MSW, is dean of the Howard University School of Social Work and is a National Association of Social Work (NASW) Pioneer. She is also a professor and former director of the Multidisciplinary Gerontology Center and former chair of the NASW Aging Specialty Practice Section. Crewe is a board member of the NASW Deans and Directors (NADD), Maryland Affordable Housing Trust, American Association of Service Coordinators, and Home Care Partners. She holds a PhD in social work from Howard University and an MSW and BSW from National Catholic School of Social Service. Crewe is a co-lead of the Social Isolation Grand Challenge for Social Work and member of the Council on Social Work Education’s Futures Task Force.

Barbara Evans-Kwamla, LCSW, is originally from Ghana, currently residing in Washington, DC. Evans-Kwamla is a licensed clinical social worker with a vested interest in immigrants, refugees, and other displaced people and their mental health needs. She has practiced as a social worker in various capacities and has developed a great appreciation and desire for helping marginalized and underserved populations. Both her personal and professional aspirations have been grounded and molded by her own experiences as an immigrant and through work with members of this population. Evans-Kwamla’s desire to improve mental health outcomes and engage in research with people displaced and transitioning both locally and internationally is highlighted in her current work, research interests, and studies as a doctoral student at the Howard University’s School of Social Work.

Ruby M. Gourdine, DSW, LICSW, LCSW, is a professor at the Howard University School of Social Work and has scholarship in the area of disabilities, most notably issues of autism. She practiced as a social work administrator in the District of Columbia Public Schools under the Division of Special Education. In addition, she has both research and practice in the areas of child welfare, teen pregnancy, females, and violence. She is a champion for social justice and has recently edited a special edition journal on race and social policy.

Cynthia E. Harris, DHA, MBA/MPA, LICSW, is an associate professor and director of student services and professional development at the Howard University School of Social Work. She has a wealth of didactic and practical experiences in providing direct clinical practice to clients experiencing physical, psychological, and social challenges; teaching clinical courses, including assessment, intervention, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (5th ed.), and psychopharmacology, and social work practice in health care settings; and facilitating clinically based workshops. Before her current appointment, Harris served as a senior research associate and assistant professor at the University of the District of Columbia. She also holds an adjunct professor appointment at Central Michigan University. In addition, she has served as a consultant with the Bureau of HIV/AIDS and other federal offices and local nonprofit agencies. Harris previously worked as a clinical social worker and later served as the social work coordinator and director of the HIV/AIDS program for 15 government-run neighborhood health centers in the District of Columbia.

Stephenie Howard, PhD, LMSW, is committed to advancing knowledge in child welfare and supporting evidence-based practices. Her research area is trauma, and she is a trainer for trauma-informed services. She is also active in research on culturally specific services for diverse populations. Howard has practiced as a clinical therapist in the area of domestic violence and sexual assault and as a social worker with Child Protective Services. She also teaches at the graduate level in social work and counseling.

Altaf Husain, PhD, MSSA, is an associate professor in the School of Social Work at Howard University. He serves as chair of the community, administration, and policy practice area of specialized practice and as cochair of the human behavior and the (macro) social environment sequence. His pioneering article on "Islam and Social Work" was published in the Encyclopedia of Social Work (February 2019, online). Husain recently served as a guest editor of a two-volume special issue of the Journal of Religion and Spirituality in Social Work focusing on social work with Muslims. He serves as chair of the Islam and Muslims track of the Annual Program Meeting of Council on Social Work Education. His research interests include the mental health of displaced populations; immigration policy and its impact on the family; cultural and spiritual competence; and the development of faith-based social services.

Andrew McLane, MS, MSW, LMSW, is working toward his LCSW and has been employed in hospice, nursing homes, and an inpatient psychiatric clinic. He has an MS in psychology.

Gladys Mendez, MSW, is a program assistant for the Division of Education at the Council on Social Work Education, a nonprofit organization that works to ensure and enhance the quality of social work education for a professional practice that promotes individual, family, and community well-being and social and economic justice. Mendez received her MSW from the Howard University School of Social Work and attended the inaugural Congressional Research Institute for Social Work and Policy (CRISP) Political Boot Camp in 2017. During her studies, she also pursued pharmacy as she enjoys learning about medicine and the way interprofessional practice and collaboration can strengthen the contributions she makes as a Howard-prepared social worker.

Shirley Newton-Guest, PhD, LCSW-C, LICSW, is on faculty at the Howard University School of Social Work. Before establishing her current position, she served as associate professor in the Department of Social Work at Coppin State University. She was also a full-time professor at the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Social Work. Newton-Guest is the cofounder of Collaborative Concepts of Maryland LLC in Lanham, Maryland. She is a licensed independent clinical social worker in Washington, DC, and a licensed certified social worker-clinical in the state of Maryland. She has an extensive background in programmatic oversight, program development, and implementation and in clinical supervision and direct clinical practice. She has worked in the public and private sector in behavioral health and maternal and child health. Newton-Guest received her BA in social work from Grambling State University. She earned her master and DSW from the Howard University School of Social Work.

Julie Orme, MSW, is a PhD candidate in the School of Social Work at Howard University and a former Frederick Douglass Scholar. She has practiced as a licensed clinical social worker for more than 14 years and has specialized in mental health treatment of adults with severe mental illness.

Fariyal Ross-Sheriff, PhD, is a graduate professor in the School of Social Work at Howard University. She served as the director of the doctoral program at Howard University from 1994 to 2013. Her area of specialization is international displacement with a focus on resettled and repatriated refugee women and their families. She has worked extensively with refugees in Central Asia and Africa.

Cudore L. Snell, DSW, LICSW, is a professor in the School of Social Work at Howard University. He also serves as the assistant provost for international programs at Howard University. Snell received his undergraduate degree in social work from the University of the Western Cape in South Africa, a postgraduate degree in psychiatric social work from the University of Cape Town, an MSW from the University of Carolina at Chapel Hill, and his DSW from Howard University. His research areas include topics related to HIV/ AIDS, street youths, African American youths, and the African American community. Snell’s international research centers on prevention of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders among pregnant mothers who engage in risky drinking in the Winelands areas of South Africa. He is well-published, has presented his research, and has participated at the International AIDS Conferences, the Joint World Conferences of the International Association of Schools of Social Work, and the International Council on Social Welfare. Snell has served on many professional and editorial boards and was a guest editor for a special issue of Social Work and Public Health on African partnerships. He is also the former chair of the Council on Social Work Education’s Global Commission for Social Work Education. His work in the community and leadership as a board member for the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) in both the local metropolitan and national chapters has led to his distinction as an NASW Social Work Pioneer.

Claudia Thorne, PhD, has more than 40 years of professional experience working in health and human services nonprofit organizations at local and national levels. Before her appointment as assistant professor at Coppin State University, Thorne served on the faculty at the Howard University School of Social Work. She is an ethno-gerontologist, a published author in the field of aging, and a licensed social worker. She holds a BA in psychology from Boston University, an MSW focusing on family and child services, and a PhD focusing on gerontology from the Howard University School of Social work.

The authors’ emphasis on social justice, empowerment, and clinical skills with at-risk populations in the context of difficult economic times is unique and will be useful for students, professors, and practitioners of social work in a variety of settings. This is an important book for social workers, and an important book for the profession of social work.

Marvin W. Clifford, PhD, LCSW, ACSW
Adjunct assistant professor, School of Social Work
Tulane University, New Orleans
Empowering Clinical Social Work Practice in a Time of Global Economic Distress was reviewed by Hyun-kee Harry Lee for the journal Social Work.

In today’s socioeconomically polarized society, economic inequality continues to grow and disproportionately affects vulnerable populations. According to the World Bank, the United States’ Gini index, which measures income inequality in a population, increased up to 41.5 in 2016, reaching its highest level in the past 40 years (World Bank, 2016); as this trend continues to grow each year, creating wide-ranging effects across our society, understanding the consequences of economic distress to social work clients’ overall well-being has never been more important. Thus, the book Empowering Clinical Social Work Practice in a Time of Global Economic Distress is a timely and necessary book to read for many social work professionals. The editors of this book, Drs. Janice Berry Edwards and Linda Openshaw, have written the book to offer insights into the economic challenges faced by vulnerable and underserved populations and approaches to better serve them.

The book is divided into nine chapters, providing detailed perspectives and ideas on understanding the socioeconomically vulnerable individuals’ unique environments and how to effectively approach them through the lens of multiple economic dimensions and strengths-based interventions. For example, the book extensively explores the impacts of economic distress on various populations, analyzing its effects on the following fields and categories: trauma-informed social work practice and attachment, adults with disabilities, older adults, immigrant populations, veterans, psychopathology and psychopharmacology, refugee women, and Muslims. As economic distress is both domestic and global, it is essential to understand economic adversity and its influences on vulnerable populations in their environment-specific contexts. In the time of economic recession, available jobs are limited, and the financial burden that vulnerable populations face can exponentially increase, compared with more financially independent people. With various examples of faith communities and nonprofit organizations, the book also offers applicable suggestions and insights for social work professionals to play an instrumental role in helping these populations that are under economic pressure.

Read the full review. Available to subscribers of Social Work.
Earn 6.5 CEUs for reading this title! For more information, visit the Social Work Online CE Institute.