A Grief Response Guide: Addressing Violence Exposure Among Urban Youth

At the nexus of therapeutic practice and urban youth’s mental health, including depression, anxiety, and grief there are gaps in knowledge. The knowledge available on the mental health of urban youth and their exposure to violence could be used to build interventions and services that support the integration of academic success outcomes through trauma informed care. Young people exposed to violence are affected by fatalism and disenfranchisement, especially those from inner city and high crime neighborhoods.

To better understand how loss impacts urban youth, a theoretical framework that combines two concepts—the socio-ecological theory and the meaning reconstruction theory—is presented. Our objective is to contrast these theories’ justifications for modern treatment methods and their application to young people, then offer a post-positive framework for successful interventions based on these beliefs. The knowledge related to urban youth and exposure to violence can be addressed through culturally aware practice and assessment of need.

The capstone will identify and propose the HEARTS resource created to address the disproportionate services for urban youth and share the research that supports this innovative approach to urban youth and grief.

Leadership Strategies for New Supervisors on Leading a Diverse Workforce

It is said that people spend more time at work than they do at home. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics on average, people spend one-third of their life at work (BLS 2022). Having a poor experience in the workplace leads to turnover, decreased productivity, disengaged employees, and poor customer service.

Leading others can be difficult, and most times leaders supervise by the way they were led or have no supervisory training at all. This capstone product provides three distinct scholarly articles that address leadership strategies for new supervisors in leading a diverse workforce.

Product one is a systematic literature review that examined leadership frameworks that promote job satisfaction and retention of healthcare employees. Product two consists of a conceptual framework for cross-cultural supervision, that promotes employee engagement and retention. Product three focuses on leadership training and the importance of the supervisor-supervisee relationship.

A New Social Work Leadership Standard: Empathetic Leadership

The social work profession has no developed leadership approach. This presentation will discuss the history of leadership in social work and the professional implications that have resulted from not having a developed leadership approach such as burnout. The presenter will then explore Empathetic Leadership as a standard leadership model in social work practice by defining empathy, leadership, and when leaders lead with empathy it can be transformational because research is suggesting that leaders who are empathetic have workers who experience less burnout.

The implications that empathetic leadership could have on the social work profession aren’t known but the possibilities are exciting because the research points to healthier work environments, increased productivity, and overall better health outcomes for employees. To create this level of change it would take a systematic approach starting with a Empathetic Leadership Curriculum Pilot to teach, model, and replicate empathetic leadership theory and skills to MSW students.

Could empathetic leadership improve burnout? This presentation will have you wanting to answer that question.

Rural Mental Health: Cultural Competence, Ecological Perspective, and Training

The aim of this capstone presentation is to bring attention to the unique barriers of availability, accessibility, and acceptability that rural populations in the United States tend to face in relation to mental health services. This capstone presentation will discuss how cultural competence in rural areas is lacking and should be tailored to the area where the rural population served resides. Cultural competence tailored to the population served is important for mental health agencies and providers to possess to work effectively with rural populations.

Specifically, understanding how each unique rural area presents with barriers to mental health services that have an interconnected relationship with the culture in that area. The incorporation of ecological perspective into cultural competence is a proposed solution for mental health agencies and professionals to use to more effectively understand the influence of their geographic location on their area’s culture. Recommendations to alter trainings for mental health professionals at rural community mental health centers, along with agency policy, are provided to incorporate this perspective.

Real and Radical Allyship: Addressing the Mental Health Needs of Black Trans Women

Black trans women are one of the most vulnerable populations in America. Black trans women face multiple forms of legalized and social discrimination that impacts both their livelihoods and mental health. Unfortunately, most social workers and other mental health professionals are not trained on how to address the mental needs of Black trans women.

This presentation will explore the impact of discrimination on the mental health of Black trans women, how clinicians can treat the mental health needs of Black trans women, and how clinicians can become radical allies to Black trans women in the process.

Developing A Trauma-Informed Care Training Model For Youth Emergency Shelter Care

Trauma is a pervasive issue that impacts all youth within congregate care settings. Because of the complexity of trauma and the increasing rates of youth admitted to congregate care settings, service delivery systems, such as youth emergency shelter care, should incorporate trauma-informed care practices to assist in decreasing staff burnout and vicarious trauma, as well as assist the youth in post-traumatic recovery and growth. Trauma-informed care is a clinical model designed to address the comprehensive understanding of trauma, both clinically and organizationally.

This presentation will examine an effective implementation method for Developing a Trauma-Informed Care Training Model for Youth Emergency Shelter Care. The proposed training model will be intended to implement for staff training purposes but will ultimately be a systematic framework that will impact all levels of an agency. If youth emergency shelter care agencies were to incorporate this framework, they would be providing knowledge and understanding to their staff?and security and safety to their residents.

Bridging the Gap: Healthcare Access To Medication-Assisted Treatment and the Power of Coalitions

The opioid epidemic continues. Opioid-related deaths have dramatically increased in the past decade, and issues related to opioids continue to affect millions. National efforts have been implemented through legislation to impact untreated addiction by increasing the availability of harm reduction services and removing barriers to treatment for addiction.

This presentation will provide a historical overview of the opioid epidemic and the efforts made by legislation during that time to address the identified misuse of opioids and the fatal consequence for the nation. An understanding of access barriers for those who need treatment will be provided. Then a proposal to address those barriers will be discussed through the classic theoretical tenets of Systems Theory and Psychodynamic Theory but through a contemporary lens delivering a grassroots approach to building a coalition of professionals to tackle the opioid epidemic in their communities.

Leadership in Overcoming Confirmation Bias through Effective Communication: A Reflection-Based Conversation Guide

Confirmation bias can hinder effective communication, especially in environments where groupthink can exacerbate the problem. This presentation focuses on the need for leadership to overcome confirmation bias through reflective practices, effective communication, and the use of a conversation guide.

The presentation will define confirmation bias and its impact on communication. It will explore how confirmation bias can create blind spots that prevent individuals from considering alternative perspectives, leading to communication breakdowns.

It will examine the importance of reflective practices in overcoming confirmation bias before engaging in conversation. By assessing personal biases and reflecting on their mindset, leaders can identify opportunities for growth and develop a more open-minded and respectful approach to communication.

Next, it will discuss effective communication strategies that leaders can use to counter confirmation bias. It will explore techniques such as active listening, asking open-ended questions, and encouraging constructive dissent. These techniques can help participants to identify and challenge assumptions, leading to better communication outcomes.

Finally, we will introduce a conversation guide that can help facilitate constructive dialogue and promote open-mindedness and respect. This guide provides a structured framework for discussing complex issues and encourages participants to consider multiple perspectives.

By the end of this presentation, participants will have a better understanding of confirmation bias and its impact on communication, as well as practical tools and techniques for overcoming this bias. They will also be equipped with a conversation guide that can help foster constructive dialogue and promote open-mindedness in future conversations.

Symptomatic Overlaps Between Autism and Dementia in Older Adults

Few studies have examined the overlap of symptoms between autism and dementia in people over the age of 65. This research proposal will address the gap in the literature which indicates that it would be informative to conduct a study similar to a previous one but with a more diverse subsection of people with late onset dementia. This review will broaden the understanding of the relationship between autism and dementia, highlighting the impact of the similarities.

Through an analysis of interviews of patients and caregivers, a consideration of innovative technology/Social Learning Theory, Constructivist Grounded Theory, assessment scales for dementia and autism, and a promotion of advanced care planning, this study will explore whether there is a link between autism and dementia and if there is, what further development is needed of existing interventions.

Effective Treatment For Young Children With Co-Occurring Anxiety And Speech, Language, And/Or Communication Needs

There is a high co-occurrence of anxiety and speech, language, and/or communication needs (SLCNs) in young children. Many young children with SLCNs have had repeated, distressing experiences around language and communication resulting in frequent dysregulation when they are expected to use language and/or communications skills they do not have. This makes traditional mental health therapeutic modalities challenging as they often rely on spoken language.

This presentation will address treatment needs for young children experiencing anxiety and SLCNs. The current research on this population will be reviewed, including conventional treatment modalities. The presenter will provide explanations about SLCNs, how young children with SLCNs and co-occurring anxiety present to treatment, and the population’s specific treatment needs.

Additionally, a treatment framework will be presented via a fictionalized case study to demonstrate how child-centered play therapy through the lens of polyvagal theory can be used to provide effective and holistic mental health treatment for young children with co-occurring anxiety and SLCNs.

The Strong Black Woman Schema: A Proactive Approach to Conceptualizing and Providing Mental Health Treatment for Black Women Who Identify with the Strong Black Woman Schema

The Strong Black Woman Schema is the ideology that Black women should display mental and physical strength, stoicism, and nurturer traits. While Black women who identify with this schema typically associate this term with a positive identity, there are adverse outcomes that stem from this identification. Black women who identify with the Strong Black Woman schema experience higher rates of depression, anxiety, and psychological distress.

No treatment modality has been determined to treat Black women who identify with the Strong Black Woman Schema. This capstone presentation will present a systematic literature review that discusses how the Strong Black Woman Schema is defined and the self-perceptions of Black women who identify with the Strong Black Woman schema and explore the impact that anxiety, depression, and psychological distress have on Black women who identify with the Strong Black Woman Schema. This presentation will also aid in conceptualizing the Strong Black Woman schema through the lens of Psychodynamic theory and the introduction of the Strong Black Woman Framework.

The presentation will conclude by introducing a four-part treatment model entitled the A.S.C.C. model, or Assess, Stabilize, Catharsis, and Community, as a proposed treatment model for clients who identify with the Strong Black Woman Schema at a micro level. This paper will also discuss limitations associated with systematic literature review, conceptual work, and application work centered around the Strong Black Woman Schema and provide implications for future research on identifying and treating Black Women who identify with the Strong Black Woman Schema.

Discriminatory Healthcare Experiences and Opioid Use Disorder: A Study of Mental Health Outcomes

When the opioid crisis re-introduced itself to the United States in 1975, individuals began advocating for change regarding treatment of various substance use disorders – something that the health care system was not prepared for or interested in. The creation of programs outside of the hospital setting in forms of detox centers, inpatient programs, and outpatient programs set the tone for discriminatory views and biases regarding SUD that have continued to be present for the past decades.

The purpose of this project is to examine mental health outcomes of discriminatory healthcare experiences and opioid use disorder through three different papers: the systematic literature review, the conceptual paper, and the practice application paper.

The systematic literature review presents an evidence-based analysis of the current knowledge regarding mental health outcomes of discriminatory healthcare experiences and opioid use disorder. It reviews literature related to the history of healthcare and opioid use disorder discrimination and various themes among past research findings and recommendations.

The conceptual paper identifies, explores, and analyzes relevant theories that can be used to address mental health outcomes of discriminatory healthcare experiences and opioid use disorder. It synthesizes knowledge, past change efforts, and presents new recommendations to fill gaps in research.

Lastly, the practice application paper uses synthesized knowledge and theories to solve this practice problem.

Internalized Homonegativity in Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Individuals: An Integrative Treatment Model

This capstone project’s main aims are to (1) identify psychotherapy interventions in the literature that specifically addresses internalized homonegativity (IH) in lesbian, gay, and bisexual individuals (LGBI), (2) present a conceptual model integrating several therapeutic approaches to target the multifaceted nature of IH, and (3) adapt the conceptual model for individual psychotherapy. Specifically, the systematic literature review (SLR) explored the research question, “What psychotherapeutic interventions have been identified in the literature to address the internalized homonegativity (IH) of LGB adult individuals?” The goal of the SLR was to identify the therapeutic approaches that had been adopted for use with LGBI, targeting IH. The findings illustrate four main psychotherapy approaches, (1) psychodynamic psychotherapy, (2) gay-affirmative therapy, (3) person-centered therapy, and (4) cognitive therapy. The conceptual model outlines a new and novel approach to treating IH in LGBI, named the Internalized Psychotherapy Model for Internalized Homonegativty (IPM-IH). The IPM-IH systematically integrates interventions from each of the four therapy models. The practice application paper builds on the conceptual paper by detailing how the IPM-IH is applied to individual therapy. The IPM-IH for individual therapy with LGBI is a three-stage approach that systematically addresses the intrapsychic, cognitive, and interpersonal functions implicated in IH. The treatment model describes the (1) assessment, (2) treatment, and (3) evaluation stages of treatment. While each paper has a particular focus, the culmination of the three papers results in a novel approach to working with LGBI with internalized homonegative biases.

Suicide Postvention for Private Practice Social Workers: Using Supportive Supervision practices

Suicide postvention is a growing terminology and practice in the mental health professions. Supervision practices are a key element of suicide postvention practices, in the field of social work there is an isolated group that does not have this important component of suicide postvention. Supportive supervision practices as described by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) and the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) are one component that can be put in place to support those private practice social workers who currently lack this crucial component of suicide postvention.

Social Work Supervision in the Department of Veterans Affairs: A Supervision Model to Address Retention

The United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is the largest employer of master’s level social workers in the United States (Department of Veteran Affairs). Social Workers have been employed in the VA since 1926. The VA currently employs over 19,000 social workers nationally and because of this sheer scope in number requires critical approaches to ensuring that supervision in regard to administrative, educational, and supportive supervision are consistent across all locations.

Social work within the VA provides services to veterans that touch upon a myriad of programs including mental health, substance abuse, intimate partner violence, suicide prevention, geriatrics, primary care, homeless services, and caregiver support. The nature of the vast types of services that social workers provide in this system call for a unified approach to training and supporting supervisors responsible for the oversite to social work staff in cross sectioned areas, requiring a level of competent knowledge and expertise that spans across specialties.

Since the Covid 19 pandemic, staffing has suffered with a large exodus of healthcare providers including qualified social workers. The lack of resources and the staffing shortages have left social workers still working in the VA healthcare system with large caseloads, feelings of burnout and cross covering in areas outside their primary area of expertise. Supervisors in the system have often been quickly promoted to cover administrative responsibilities with little education, training or mentoring to prepare them for the role. The lack of adequate supervisory support is leading to the turnover rates and ultimately impacting patient care provided of these critical services from social work.

Organizational support for adequate and consistent supervision provided to social workers in the VA is critical to motivating and retaining staff in this growing resource constrained setting. Review of the research and current literature supports that the provision of quality supervision plays an integral role in reducing turn-over rates, burnout, overall job satisfaction and patient outcomes. The following review of the literature posits that the importance of consistent provision and oversite of supportive supervision to social workers in healthcare settings such as the VA is critical to retention efforts and patient outcomes.

Intellectual and Physical Disabilities – Social Inclusion Among Children

Legislation has implemented laws that mandate that students who qualify for special education services have equal opportunities in the school environment. The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Education for All Handicapped Children in 1975 ensured that all children receive free education and that institutions accommodate each child. However, they do not specify what accommodations. This is up to the individual's school district and what programs they offer. Some students who qualify for special education services are placed in self-contained classrooms; these students learn academics and life skills. Unfourtanky many of these classrooms are secluded from the general education environment and other students. This affects them socially. I propose mainstreaming self-contained students with general education students during exploratory classes. Inclusion benefits not only students in self-contained classrooms but students in the general education setting as well. Our educators aim to prepare students for life as best as possible. These students will only sometimes be in a secluded setting that fits their needs.

The Revelation: To help develop preventive ways and methods to decrease burnout, compassion fatigue, and secondary trauma within school social workers

The presentation will explore the impact of burnout, compassion fatigue, and lack of supervision within school social workers. In school social workers, research has been lacking, particularly in terms of burnout, compassion fatigue, self-care, and supervision. Taking care of yourself and implementing different interventions are important to eliminate other problematic stressors as a school social worker. There are a variety of interventions developed to support students which helps decrease burnout and compassion fatigue. This capstone will create awareness of different restorative practice interventions, self-care techniques, and ways to implement appropriate supervision to decrease burnout and compassion fatigue. It's important to provide a theoretical perspective, the strengths of using both approaches are their identification of the problem and the creation of a feeling of reliance. They look to enhance social and emotional awareness, support for all involved, and resources.

Trauma-informed care initiatives have been successful addressing trauma and the barriers because of traumatic experiences. The capstone creates awareness to implement trauma-informed care initiatives within child welfare agencies to promote greater well-being, retention, supportive environments, professional development, and self-care. Utilizing theoretical approaches such as strength-based, solution-focused, systems, and trauma-informed care are essential in implementing a practical solution within organizational leadership. Implementing policies, training, and leadership support will help to increase retention, create a safe environment, promote greater well-being, and eliminate barriers. Providing support to school social workers is essential to support their well-being and to ensure that adequate services are provided to students and the school community.

Implementing Trauma Informed Care Initiatives within Child Welfare: A Best Practice Guide to Preventing Burnout, Trauma, and Mental Health within Child Welfare Organizations

The presentation will explore the impact of burnout, trauma, and mental health barriers that child welfare workers endure while working. There is a lack of self-awareness for the barriers experienced, resulting in high turnover rates, stress, high caseloads, lack of support, and inconsistency providing adequate services to children and families within child welfare. There are a variety of interventions developed to support children within the child welfare, however there is a lack of support for providers within child welfare. Trauma-informed care initiatives have been successful addressing trauma and the barriers because of traumatic experiences. The capstone creates awareness to implementing trauma-informed care initiatives within child welfare agencies to promote greater well-being, retention, supportive environments, professional development, and self-care. Utilizing theoretical approaches such as strength-based, solution-focused, systems, and trauma-informed care are essential in implementing a practical solution within organizational leadership. Implementing policies, trainings, and leadership support will help to increase retention, create a safe environment, promote greater well-being, and eliminate barriers. Providing support to child welfare workers is essential to support their well-being and to ensure that adequate services are provided to children within child welfare.

Adverse Childhood Experiences of Social Workers: Competencies for Clinical Supervisors

People are often drawn to helping professions because they have experienced some form of adversity in their lives. This presentation explores the concept of the "wounded healer" and how this manifest in social work practice. The presentation explores the concept of the “wounded healer” and theories that explain the reported high rates of adverse childhood experiences by helping professionals, particularly social workers. An examination of the Kentucky Board of Social Work (KYBSW) approved clinical supervision training required for licensed clinical social workers in pursuit of providing clinical supervisions. After a review of the current competencies of the KYBSW approved training, a curriculum and competencies will be explored by the presenter, that includes information regarding the disproportionate experiences of childhood adversity, ways to support certified social work practitioners, and ways to encourage open communication during supervision. With the use of clinical supervision, the negative implications of childhood adversity can be reduced. The purpose of this, is to enhance the integrity of social work practice, enhance clinical social work, and prevent impaired social work practice by raising awareness and supporting social workers.

KIN VIP Support Group With Merlin Jones-Smalley

This group will focus on the day to day issues involving relative and fictive kin care and will be a place where each member can find support, resources, ideas, and […]

ASK-VIP LGBTQ+ Foster/Adoptive Parent Support Group

ASK-VIP LGBTQ+ Foster/Adoptive Parent Support Groups are specifically designed for foster/adoptive parents who identify as LGBTQ+ as well as foster/adoptive parents who are caring for children or teens who identify […]