Client Affect Management: Helpful Tools for Success

Donald deGraffenried, LCSW
Friday, July 19, 2024 – in-personRegister Now for CE programs
9 am – 4:30 pm
6 CECs

Registration Fee: $150
10% discount for UConn SSW Alumni and current SSW Field Instructors

Client Affect Management involves working with your client to learn and practice specific relaxation skills that help with stress management and contribute to an increase in resiliency and coping. The goal is to help the client with a reduction of anxiety, an increase in self-esteem and an increased ability to be proactive in the management of personal distress.

Using an Ericksonian perspective, this seminar will draw from his successful techniques of introducing “state change” into the client’s perspective. The program is designed to provide clinicians with training and practice with proven Affect Management tools. These tools are structured to reduce client distress, increase positive states and engage a solution building process. Techniques include One Stone, Diaphragmatic Breathing, Healing Light Visualization, An Enhanced Safe Place and Heart Math.

These tools are appropriate for all age levels and will have direct application for practitioners working in community mental health, nonprofit agencies and private practice settings.

At the conclusion of this seminar, participants will:

  • learn a one-minute relaxation tool and be able to teach it to clients
  • be able to describe the core elements of positive affirmations
  • learn Seven Basic Principle’s for success with clients
  • have an opportunity to practice Affect Management tools
  • be able to identify which tool(s) to use and when to use them in their practice with clients

Writing Letters for Gender-Affirming Healthcare

Sarah A. Gilbert, LCSW

Sat, April 20, 2024Register Now for CE programs
Live Webinar
10 am – 12 pm
2 CECs – this program provides 2 hours of content on cultural competence

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

Link will be emailed when your registration is complete.

If you have some experience in working with trans, non-binary clients, yet you feel unsure about how to go about writing the required mental health assessment letter for your clients to access gender-affirming care, this training is for you!

Clients seeking access to gender-affirming healthcare (including cross-hormone treatment and various surgical procedures) are typically required to get referral letters from mental health professionals. Unfortunately, far too often, these individuals struggle with finding providers who feel comfortable writing these letters, which causes barriers and delays in accessing affirming and life-saving treatment.

Far too often, members of this community experience harmful gatekeeping in accessing the affirming and life-saving services they need as a result. In this 2 hour live interactive webinar, you will be given the information you need to be able to provide a referral letter for gender-affirming healthcare, which will leave you feeling confident in providing this valuable service for your clients.

In our time together, you will:

  • understand the harms that gatekeeping creates for trans/non-binary clients experience in accessing gender-affirming treatment, and the ways in which we can avoid replicating this in our own practices
  • learn about the WPATH Standards of care and understand how to navigate using the SOC in conjunction with insurance policies, physician’s requirements to help write letters that will be successful in getting approvals for gender-affirming healthcare.
  • receive up to date information about specific guidelines for clients with Husky/CT Medicaid insurance in accessing gender-affirming healthcare.
  • learn tips for advocacy with insurance companies in navigating denials for gender-affirming surgeries.

We will also have ample time for Q&A, to address your specific questions about how to apply this knowledge to your practice.

Supervising in 2024: A Field and Continuing Ed Collaboration

Supervising in 2024: Who are our Supervisees and How Can We Use a Social Justice, Anti-Racist, Whole-Person Approach to Facilitate their Growth?

Patricia Wilcox, LCSW and Aminah Ali, LMSW
3 CECs

Registration Fee: $75  –  10% discount for UConn SSW Alumni
Free for Current SSW Field Instructors

Webinar link will be emailed when your registration is complete.

Multicultural workforces are the norm in social service and educational agencies. Though such diversity is positive in many ways, it can also create challenges for staff. Differences in culture and language may cause tension among employees, discomfort among groups or strained relations between employees, interns, and supervisors. Managers and supervisors must be aware of their own biases and assumptions and develop the skills to conduct difficult conversations with their supervisees. Together the two can create meaningful organizational change. In addition, our clients’ lives may be highly impacted by racism and inter-generational trauma. Supervisors can facilitate more effective programs by supporting supervisees to bring these issues into the discussions they have with clients.

This webinar focuses on trauma-informed supervision through a social justice and anti-racist lens, an approach to supervision that begins with the personal and extends to the professional. Personal histories, identities, characteristics, and psychological experiences of supervisors, as well as structural and environmental conditions of the organization, are aspects of supervision. This perspective promotes the role of the supervisor as a leader in establishing a culture within their team that is responsive to and inclusive of the cultures and unique experiences of clients and colleagues. Supervisors are encouraged to remain vigilant in their commitment to social justice and an anti-racist approach by leading their teams and organizations in achieving truly inclusive diversity.

Participants will be able to:

  • Find how to improve their interactions with supervisees by identifying the positionalities and unique experiences of supervisor and supervisee.
  • Appraise and discuss implicit bias and how it impacts the supervisory relationship and work with clients.
  • Implement 3 strategies for addressing power differentials and improve trust between supervisor and supervisee.
  • Explore dilemmas in supervising the whole person while maintaining agency mandates.
  • Develop a plan to increase their team’s ability to have difficult conversations around social justice.
  • Discuss with supervisees the applications of racism and inter-generational trauma-informed perspectives and prepare a plan to utilize this knowledge within their practice.

The SSW’s Diversity Seminar on Islamophobia and Antisemitism

This year’s Diversity Program/Practicum Seminar focused on topical issues in response to the crisis in the Middle East. On Friday, Jan. 19, more than 300 SSW students, faculty, and staff tuned into the presentation, Understanding Islamophobia and Antisemitism.” Moderated by Carlton Jones, director of the Office of Student and Academic Services, the seminar featured two expert panelists:

In introducing the seminar, Jones explained that the purpose of the Diversity Seminar is to bring together students, faculty and staff to discuss topics that are important for not only our SSW community but also to those we serve in and outside of the University.

“The value of the Diversity Seminar lies in having students, faculty, and staff at the UConn School of Social Work challenge their own thoughts and beliefs on certain topics. It is a way to engage in healthy and constructive dialogue to bring about changes to our community and the world,” he said.

Before introducing the panelists, Dean Laura Curran said that the goal of the Seminar was “to address pressing issues related to diversity, equity and inclusion. This year we’re devoting the seminar to Islamophobia and Antisemitism given the steep rise in both.” She also shared that in discussions following the presentations, the School community would consider how to best address the issues as social workers.

Each panelist shared a presentation about their area of expertise. They provided facts about the Muslim and Jewish populations in the United States, definitions of Islamophobia and Antisemitism, as well as examples of how these forms of bigotry have been expressed since the war in Gaza began in October 2023.

Each of their presentations was followed by a Q&A period. Members of the SSW community were encouraged to contact the panelists if they had further questions.

Diversity, equity, inclusion and anti-racism (DEI-AR) is a key component of the SSW’s Five-Year Strategic Plan, and a theme that runs through all of the other focal areas, which include inclusive and impactful research and scholarship; student-centered teaching and learning; flexible and forward-looking field education; and emerging areas of excellence in social work.

Why the DSM Doesn’t Acknowledge Sensory Integration Symptoms

Register for CE programs nowRuth Pearlman, LCSW, LICSW, M.ED
Wed, June 26, 2024
10 am – 12 pm
2 CECs

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

Webinar link will be emailed when your registration is complete.

Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) is a condition where a person has difficulties regulating their senses within their environment. These are our clients who can experience the world as being “too loud” or “too intense”. They can experience the world as being so sensory over-whelming that their bodies go into a defensive “fight, flight or freeze” stance. For many people with SPD, their constant need to re-regulate their senses to adapt to the stimuli around them, creates symptoms of distractibility, irritability, anxiety, and depression.

So where is SPD in the DSM 5? It isn’t. Although more than half of all the diagnostic criteria of disorders in the DSM 5 describe symptoms of SPD, the APA refuses to acknowledge SPD as a disorder. Therefore, DSM 5 conditions such as ADHD, PTSD, Tourette’s, ASD, ODD, the Anxiety Disorders as well as Schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders, are never understood or treated through the lens of sensory integration. Yet all of the above disorders are, in large part, sensory-based disorders. Imagine trying to treat a client with ASD or PTSD and not teaching the client about their sensory system reactions?

In this interactive webinar, participants will:

  • Explore the long-delayed need to incorporate sensory integration issues into our working knowledge of the DSM 5
  • Recognize that negative behaviors of are better de-escalated when sensory overload can be quieted (calmed down), similar to “sensory rooms” and “sensory placed” used in schools
  • Consider the clinical cost of these misinterpretations for both children and adults

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

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.

Understanding Grief in Children/Teens in Foster/Residential Care

Ruth Pearlman, LCSW, LICSW, M.ED
Wed, March 29, 2023Register Now for CE programs now
10 am – 12 pm (ET)
2 CECs

$40 – UConn SSW Alumni and Current Field Instructors
$50 – All Others

Webinar link will be emailed when your registration is complete.

As social workers, we tend to have limited training in the grief of children. How they cognitively and psychologically understand loss is often omitted from our core learning objectives. For children in foster or residential or alternative care, the research is even more limited. This webinar will focus on the specific bereavement and grief experiences of children in alternative care. We will explore how a child, to even “be” in alternative care, is to be a griever. Any alternative care for a child, by its very definition, requires that the child in care has either lost a family member(s) to actual death or another form of loss that often feels like a death.

How have we systemically viewed these grieving children? Are we more likely to diagnose their expressions of grief as negative behaviors? Can the most oppositional child we treat be among the most bereaved children we have encountered?

This webinar will examine children in alternative care as disenfranchised grievers. We will address the bereavement needs that so often, and unintentionally, go untreated. We will also explore why this grief has been systemically undertreated due to a system that was never given adequate resources to address the bereavement needs of these children.

Participants will:

  • be able to identify the common symptoms of grief experienced by children in care
  • be able to identify how grief manifests in behavioral symptoms
  • learn positive interventions to address grief and loss issues of children in alternative care

Developing Comfort and Confidence with Tapping (EFT)

Catherine Ewing, LCSW, MDivRegister Now for CE programs now
Monday, March 27, 2023
10 am – 12 pm (ET)
2 CECs

$40 – UConn SSW Alumni and Current Field Instructors
$50 – All Others

Webinar link will be emailed when your registration is complete

This webinar is a great follow up for those who have taken Fundamentals of Emotional Freedom Technique: Care for Clients and Practitioners, other Entry Level EFT classes, or practicing on their own. Based on feedback from prior participants, this follow up class has proven helpful in deepening understanding and developing confidence in using EFT.

Getting comfortable using EFT comes with practicing on yourself and with clients who are generally well-functioning but may be struggling with anxiety, physical pain, intrusive thoughts, self-limiting beliefs or life changes. The more you use EFT and see the consistent positive results, the less strange it will feel and the more opportunities you will find to use it for your clients and your own self-care.

This webinar will include a review of the Basic Recipe for tapping, including tapping points, set-up phrase and basic tapping protocol. Additional topics to be introduced and further explored will be the Personal Peace Procedure, Tapping to Install Positive Beliefs, Borrowing Benefits, and how EFT dovetails with the Law of Attraction. There will be ample time for group tapping, demonstration, and Q&A.

Participants in this interactive webinar will:

  • Develop more comfort and confidence using EFT for self and with clients
  • Understand the Personal Peace Procedure and its appropriate use
  • Learn protocol for Tapping in Positive Beliefs
  • Learn about the power of Borrowing Benefits in group settings
  • Understand the energetic integration of EFT and the LOA