Author: Beth Sharkey, MSW

The Impact of Hip-Hop on Behavior and Culture

This program provides at least 1 hour on content on cultural competence.

Qur-an Webb, MSW and colleagues from Welcome 2 Reality
November 14, 2023
6:00 pm – 8:00 pm
2 CECsRegister Now for CE programs

Registration Fee: $50
10% discount for UConn SSW Alumni and current SSW Field Instructors

The webinar link will be emailed when your registration is complete.

In this webinar we’ll delve into the fascinating realm of hip-hop and explore its profound influence on behavior and culture. From its humble origins in the Bronx to its global domination, hip-hop has captivated hearts and minds, shaping the way we think, act, and express ourselves. Through an engaging presentation and expert insights, this webinar will dissect the multifaceted impact of hip-hop, from empowering marginalized communities to redefining societal norms. Whether you’re a hip-hop enthusiast, a cultural observer, or simply curious about the genre’s transformative power, this webinar will leave you with a deeper understanding of the dynamic relationship between hip-hop and behavior.

In this webinar, we will:

  • discuss the insights into the sociopolitical climate that gave rise to hip-hop and explore how it acted as a form of self-expression and resistance against systemic oppression
  • explore the role of hip-hop in shaping identity, attitudes, and values, and assess both the positive and negative implications of its influence on behavior, such as the promotion of resilience, activism, materialism, or misogyny
  • explore the culture, fashion, language, and art and the global reach of hip-hop and its ability to transcend boundaries, creating a shared culture and language among diverse communities
  • develop an understanding of the complex and far-reaching impact of hip-hop on behavior and culture, allowing for informed discussions and a deeper appreciation of this influential genre

The Intersection of Vicarious Trauma and Social Justice

This webinar provides at least 1 hour of content on cultural competency.

Patricia D. Wilcox, LCSW & Aminah Ali, LMSWRegister Now for CE programs now
Wed, Nov 15, 2023
2:00 pm – 4 pm
2 CECs

Registration Fee: $50
10% discount for UConn SSW Alumni and current SSW Field Instructors

Webinar link will be included in your confirmation email.

Recently agencies are paying more attention to the ways that doing the difficult work of helping trauma survivors to heal affects their staff, known as vicarious trauma (VT). Typically, recommendations focus on self-care and work-life balance. This attention is especially important during these times in which agencies are experiencing so much difficulty in hiring and retaining staff, increasing the burden on the existing staff. The responsibility of helping our staff combat VT is not just the responsibility of the individual. The agency must create a work environment in which all staff feel safe and connected. This includes positive staff support, cultivating connected teams, providing effective supervision, and creating a culture in which staff can acknowledge the effects of the work on them personally.

Yet when we consider vicarious trauma we have paid little attention to the differing experiences of our staff of color. This webinar will examine how healers of color approach the work with different multi-generational histories which affect the way they experience the work and may make it more difficult to take advantage of some potential sources of support. Myths relating to the expectations of Black men and women also influence choices. Their experiences within our agencies may also differ, making it harder to use some of the remedies we traditionally recommend. Power dynamics may have unique meaning to staff of color based on their life experiences. When we list ways of self-care, we may be excluding traditional areas of support used by people of color, and we may be emphasizing methods that are elitist. Also, the current staff/life experiences with racism, and micro and macro aggressions in both their own lives and in the news impacts their well-being in the job. Are we able to include discussion of these topics within our teams?

All of these factors may result in our employees of color not feeling safe enough to even share how the work is affecting them for fear of being seen as weak and not-professional, or of having their reactions attributed to being overly sensitive.

If we want to provide workplaces in which it is possible for all our employees to grow and thrive, we must acknowledge the unique experiences of our employees of color and adjust our strategies to support them more effectively. This webinar will explore these possibilities and include practical suggestions for moving forward.

Participants will be able to:

  • define vicarious trauma and list at least three examples of how it manifests in treaters
  • list three ways in which the multi-generational history of racism could influence the work experience of treaters
  • identify three possible ways to make our recommendations for combatting VT more inclusive
  • create a plan to implement at least one change in their agencies.

Group Work with Older Individuals: Imagine the Possibilities

Willa J. Casstevens. PhDRegister Now for CE programs

Fri, September 29, 2023
9:30 am – 4:00 pm
5 CECs

Registration Fee -$125
10% discount for UConn SSW Alumni and current SSW Field Instructors

Classroom location will be in your confirmation email.

The population of older adults in the USA is growing rapidly. Moreover, older adults have been and continue to be particularly vulnerable to COVID-19, now endemic among us. The global pandemic threatened individual and familial economic security, increased social isolation, and negatively affected individual physical and mental health, as well as social well-being. For many older adults this has led to increased anxiety and depression, and ongoing grief due to the loss of loved ones.

Recommended interventions have included physical activity, human touch, an increase in economic support policies, programs to address mental health concerns, and training on mindfulness and self-help skills, such as meditation. Group work stands out as a treatment modality that can be used effectively in all these contexts.

Social group work is a non-hierarchical and strengths-based practice incorporating purposeful activity and mutual aid. Joanne Sulman, a social group worker of over 50 years working with older adults, notes that social group work provides connection, a space for sharing of experience, and feelings of inclusion in a community of people. Active engagement, very effective when working with older adults, is an important part of this process.

Imagine the possibilities – how can you use social group work in your practice with older individuals?

Group work with older adults can include fitness programs, craft groups, choirs, bridge clubs, etc. In the context of mental health, social group work can offer peer support, help navigating losses, and the opportunity to learn and/or improve coping strategies. This approach also fits well with both occupational and recreational therapy.

This workshop includes both didactic and experiential activities. Space is included for group discussion, as well as group work activities and reflection. We will conduct group activities, reflect on experiences, and consider ways to apply this material and these shared experiences in practice settings.

This workshop will enable you to:

  • gain an understanding of major life challenges older adults face and explore how social group work can be utilized to support individuals in coping with aging-related issues
  • explore factors that contribute to healthy aging and creatively consider ways social group work can be a valuable resource in supporting and enhancing this process
  • learn how to incorporate connectedness, active participation, and independence within group work sessions for older adults, fostering a sense of community and empowerment
  • enhance skills needed to develop and implement purposeful group activities tailored to the needs of older individuals in order to improve overall well-being and quality of life.

Group Work with Involuntary Clients: Addressing Challenges with the Group and within Ourselves

Liz Davis, LICSW

In-person SeminarRegister Now for CE programs
Mon, August 7, 2023
9:30 am – 4:00 pm
5 CECs

$100 – UConn SSW Alumni & Current Field Instructors
$125 – All Others

Room location will be included in your confirmation email.

It can often feel intimidating and even create dread for a group worker to be tasked with a mandated group. You might wonder, “what if no one wants to be here and what am I going to do with that?” This workshop will focus on how we can shift from an experience of anxiety and dread to a confident approach that engages our curiosity and creativity. Often if we can shift our perspective and approach, we can help our clients make that shift too. In this workshop, we will identify and increase our understanding of the experiences and behaviors that may show up for involuntary group members during the various group stages. With this increased understanding, we can better address the challenges both with the group and within ourselves that may arise.

We will also discuss practical tools, activities, and interventions to engage involuntary clients on a variety of different topics. Involuntary clients are often either mandated to attend groups addressing specific issues or they’re mandated to a setting such as a treatment center or correctional setting where they’re also required to participate in groups. As a facilitator it is not easy to strike the perfect balance between teaching the curriculum and keeping the group members engaged with each other, the material, and active in the session. Using knowledge and experiences gained from groups focusing on topics such as intimate partner violence, trauma, grief, and DBT Skills, this workshop will provide examples of how you might strike that balance.

The workshop will be both instructional and experiential. Small and large group discussion, group activities and case examples will be used to demonstrate different approaches and interventions. We will develop a safe space for you to share your own group successes and concerns and apply the seminar material to the groups you are currently facilitating.

This seminar will enable you to:

• gain knowledge and skills for facilitating groups with involuntary clients.
• discuss and practice activities and interventions to support group discussion and engagement on specialized topics.
• increase our understanding of involuntary group members’ experiences and behaviors during the various group stages.
• learn about skills that leaders can use to address group challenges while staying in connection and building group cohesion.

Group Work Then and Now

Register Now for CE programs nowJoan Letendre, PhD, LCSW
Tues, June 27, 2023
9:30 am – 4:oo pm
In-person: SSW Building, 38 Prospect St, Hartford – Room 113
5 CECs – includes one hour of content on cultural competency

$100 – UConn SSW Alumni & Current Field Instructors
$125 – All Others

The field of social group work has always used groups to bring members together to share common concerns, provide support and mutual aid, solve problems, and learn new skills. Practice today requires clinicians to use group work models to work with differing client populations in a variety of settings. The social isolation and loneliness experienced by many during the pandemic has shown us that people need connection and groups are one way to bring people together. Understanding the needs of the members and the group at differing stages of the group. can help facilitators to intervene in a way that fosters communication and promotes positive interactions.

In this first workshop of the group work series, we will focus on understanding a stage model of group development which includes:

  • planning with careful attention to factors that will influence the group (Why this group? Who will be in the group? What is the purpose? What type of group? What will we do? When will we meet and for how long?)
  • beginning the group with a focus on engagement of members and sharing of goals and development of norms
  • the working stage which focuses on developing cohesions with attention to roles, challenging behaviors and conflict
  • ending and evaluation with a focus on saying good-bye, evaluating gains and generalizing skills to situations outside of the group

Attention to diversity of membership and types of groups will be included as we discuss the stages of group development. We will focus on the challenges and strategies for working with open ended groups which allow members to enter and exit at different times, the use of evidence and skill-based curricula mandated by many agencies to build skills and the use of virtual groups which were developed to provide services during pandemic. Each of these groups has their benefits but challenge practitioners to adapt differing strategies to engage members, provide a safe space and develop a cohesive group.

This seminar will enable you to:

• learn how to adequately plan for a group
• understand the needs of members and the group during each stage of development
• learn and practice the skills that leaders use at each stage to facilitate engagement and positive interactions
• adapt knowledge and skills to facilitate groups that are open ended, use curricula and are facilitated in the virtual environment.
• develop strategies that help members to problem solve group challenges in ways that contribute to interpersonal skill development
• learn how to evaluate both the content and process experience of the group

Group Work Series 2023

Illustration of Group Work

Group work education and training is essential to learning the best ways of facilitating diverse groups, but as the complexity of group practice has increased, the opportunities to learn effective ways of facilitation, both in the field and classroom, has decreased.

To address these challenges we have developed 4 workshops to provide a framework for understanding group work and how it is practiced with different populations. Although each session supports work with a specific population, the knowledge and skills learned can be adapted to a variety of groups. Whether you are an experienced group practitioner or new to the practice, we invite you to join us to explore group work in today’s practice world.

Here’s what people are saying:

  • “It was a very informative training, and helpful to reconnect with the fundamentals of group work.”
  • “Facilitator was wonderful – very engaging, professional, and shared so many tips from her vast experience.”
  • “Had a great time. Learned a lot. Felt very comfortable and grounded. Thank you for a great day.”
  • “I came into the training very apprehensive as I have been doing groups for a while. I was very happy to be able to reconnect with the process as well as learn form other awesome practitioners in the field. Just awesome, and thank you.”

Workshops – Register for 1, 2, 3 or all 4 programs. Discount available when registering for more than one workshop or when 3 or more agency staff register.

Group Work with Older Individuals – Imagine the Possibilities – Fri, September 29, 9:30 am – 4:30 pm, 5 CECs
The population of older adults in the USA is growing rapidly. The global pandemic threatened individual and familial economic security, increased social isolation, and negatively affected individual physical and mental health, as well as social well-being. For many older adults this has led to increased anxiety and depression, and ongoing grief due to the loss of loved ones. Group Work provides connection, a space for sharing of experience, and feelings of inclusion in a community of people. Active engagement, very effective when working with older adults, is an important part of this process. Learn more.

Group Work with Children in School Settings – Date TBA
This workshop will emphasize the use of trauma informed practice within small groups and classroom settings. Practitioners will learn specific school-based strategies to encourage the development of connection and mutual aid within the groups.

Group Work Then and Now – Completed
Review of the principles and practices of group work, using a group development model that provides a framework for assessing the needs of the members and group at each stage and the specific leader skills that will promote optimal member participation and group cohesion.

Group Work with Involuntary Clients: Addressing Challenges with the Group and within OurselvesCompleted
It can often feel intimidating and even create dread for a group worker to be tasked with a mandated group. You might wonder, “what if no one wants to be here and what am I going to do with that?” This workshop will focus on how we can shift from an experience of anxiety and dread to a confident approach that engages our curiosity and creativity. Learn more and register for this workshop.

More details coming soon. Questions? Contact

Behavioral Addictions: Treatment Strategies for Clinical Practice

Thomas Broffman, PhD, LICSW, CAADAC, CCS, CEAP
Mon, July 10 and 17, 2023 (2 days)
Register Now for CE programs now
9 am – 12 pm
6 CECs

$120 – UConn SSW Alumni & Current Field Instructors
$150 – All Others

While only one behavioral addiction is officially recognized by DSM-5 (disordered gambling), a second is now a “Condition for Further Study” (Internet Gaming Disorder) and many more are likely to follow in subsequent editions of DSM. This 2 session webinar will focus on the recognition of behavioral addiction through a deeper understanding of the theoretical framework of any addictive disorder. It is likely that counselors in all settings will encounter clients with behavioral addictions, and we should be prepared and willing to address these addictions. Rather than assuming this type of clinical work requires a brand-new set of skills, clinicians need only to add to their previously established skill set to address behavioral addictions. There is a lot of shame around addiction in general and behavioral addictions specifically. Many clients may present with other issues (e.g., depression, anxiety, suicidal ideation, relational conflict, low self-esteem) rather than disclose an addiction to sex, gaming, gambling, food, shopping, exercise or another behavior. The “Four C’s” that can help counselors identify behavioral addictions are:

  1. If the behavior is compulsive.
  2. If the individual has lost control over their behavior.
  3. If the behavior continues despite negative consequences.
  4. If the individual experiences cravings or mental preoccupation with the behavior when not engaging

Upon completion, learners will be able to:

  • Demonstrate practical knowledge on behavioral addiction and articulate its activity in terms useful in a clinical setting
  • Describe the effects behavioral addictions
  • Describe the process for diagnosing behavioral addiction and differentiating the symptoms of behavioral addiction from those of other medical or psychiatric disorders
  • Describe the screening tools for various behavioral addictions
  • Explain the various pharmacologic and psychosocial treatments for behavioral addictive disorders and describe the factors that should be considered in selecting a treatment modality to match the needs of a specific patient
  • Describe the precipitants of relapse and current evidence-based practices to prevent and manage relapse


Advancing Supervisory Skills in Responding to Children and Families in Crisis

Fri, January 19, 2024
9 am – 12 pm
Instructor: Jennifer Berton, PhD, LICSW, CADC-II

This workshop seeks to help social work supervisors to support staff working with children and families in crisis using various supervision models. Supervisors will learn to guide their staff in assessing the diverse needs, strengths, and limitations of their clients. The workshop will also explore techniques to support staff in ethical practice and effective communication with children, family members and family groups.

Learning Objectives (Supervisory Best Practices):

  1. Support supervisees in understanding and recognizing signs and symptoms of mental illness in children and adolescents
  2. Teach supervisees to comprehensively assess the needs of children and their families in crisis
  3. Engage supervisees in collaborating with inter-professional teams to engage appropriate systems in response to clients’ needs
  4. Guide supervisees in developing effective communication with children and their families
  5. Support supervisees to use culturally informed, ethical, and equitable approaches to working with children and their families
  6. Assist supervisees in navigating complex issues of confidentiality and mandated reporting in service to children and families

Competing In The System: Fostering Athletics

Qur-an Webb, MSWRegister Now for CE programs now

Wed, May 24, 2023
2:00 pm – 3:30 pm
1.5 CECs

Children in foster care often face many obstacles, including the opportunity to participate in sports. Unfortunately, many children in foster care are unable to participate due to systemic constraints and other barriers. Participating in sports can provide numerous benefits for children, including improved physical health, greater socialization skills, and an increased sense of belonging. Qur-an Webb brings his unique experience as both a social worker in the child welfare field and as the co-founder of the Association of Black Sports Officials. Mr. Webb designed this training to help attendees understand the issues that foster children face in sports and how to encourage their participation.

Participants in this webinar will learn:

  • the benefits of sports for kids in foster care
  • the challenges and obstacles foster kids face in participating in sports
  • how to encourage participation and provide necessary support


Using Implementation Science to Enhance Practice Changes

Patricia D. Wilcox, LCSWRegister Now for CE programs now
Friday, April 28, 2023
9:30 am – 12:30 pm
3 CECs

$60 – UConn SSW Alumni and Current Field Instructors
$75 – All Others

Social workers are often leaders in implementing practice changes within their programs. Whether the change is starting an evidence-based practice, transforming towards trauma-informed care, becoming more anti-racist, involving families in a new way, scaling up a pilot project to an entire agency, or something else, change is hard. Even when staff agree in theory, it is often difficult to alter daily practice. 75% of change efforts fail because organizations or communities weren’t ready for the change.

Luckily, there’s actually a science of how we can create change. Implementation Science is about using strategies to change people’s behavior. It’s going beyond just awareness and knowledge to really change behavior. Implementation Science is the study of methods to promote the adoption and integration of evidence-based practices, interventions, and policies into routine health care and public health settings to improve the impact on population health.
We can use this knowledge to become more skillful in our own change efforts. Underlying the practice of implementation is a science of implementation that addresses:

• What are the best strategies to change people’s behavior?
• What kind of implementation supports might you need to support people to actually use those strategies?
• What are the different contextual factors that can affect implementation?
• What predicts sustainability?

Participants are urged to bring ideas about a change effort in which you are currently immersed or one you are contemplating. You will leave with an implementation plan and some tools to use with your initiative. Teams who are working together will benefit by attending this training together and working collaboratively on their plan.

We will use the theory and tools of Implementation Science to look at the core components of implementing, including:

Forming and maintaining relationships
Defining the why
Selecting the intervention
Defining who will be doing what differently
Assessing barriers and facilitators
Selecting and enacting strategies
Planning for sustainability

As a bonus, the seminar will include an optional virtual follow-up session during which participants can share their progress with each other and learn from each other’s experiences.

At the conclusion of this seminar, participants will be able to:

1. define Implementation Science and list its primary components
2. create an implementation plan which includes the why, who, and how of a change
3. analyze the barriers and facilitators for their proposed change
4. develop a specific plan of strategies to address the barriers they face
5. develop and plan to measure their efforts and increase sustainability


The seminar will be informed by materials adapted from The Center for Implementation, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, notably:

Moore, J.E., Khan, S. (2020). Implementation, Spread, and Scale Course and Workbook. The Center for Implementation: Ontario, Canada.
Moore, J. E. & Khan, S. (2022). StrategEase: The HOW of Creating Sustainable Change Course and Workbook. The Center for Implementation: Ontario, Canada.