March is National Social Work Month, established by the National Association of Social Workers to honor men and women who serve as advocates for others. It is a time to spotlight the professionals who serve as social workers, and celebrate the important contributions they make to our community. We are proud to share the thoughts and experiences of Keegan Hackman, MSW, LCSW, who serves as the Clinical Supervisor for the New Vitae Wellness and Recovery Center, as she considers the importance of and challenges associated with social work:
I chose to be a social worker after finishing my undergraduate degree in psychology and working in direct practice within a drug and alcohol treatment setting for a few years. Within the first years of being an outpatient clinician, I recognized the importance of treating a whole person, including the systems they are involved in and the experiences throughout their lives that have shaped them into how they currently present. Through this understanding, I chose to get my masters in social work because the idea of taking a holistic approach to the human experience is at the core of social work practice.
I have worked in many different clinical settings, with different populations and age groups, and I believe that no matter where a social worker is practicing they are utilizing this approach of looking at an entire system and how it connects to an individual experience. I am now a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, working at New Vitae Wellness and Recovery Center, and I use my social work degree to provide direct services in an outpatient therapeutic setting. I provide individual and group therapy to both residential and community clients who experience behavioral health challenges; I also work within the agency’s Young Adult Program to promote transitions towards independence through community integration.
I have recently taken the role of Clinical Supervisor for the outpatient center, and I feel strongly about the importance of the support social workers provide to one another. Weekly supervision with my peers is often a highlight for me, because I strongly believe that in order to do what we do each day, we need to feel heard, connected, and validated just as our clients do. A part of the social worker experience is remembering we are also human and that is the greatest tool in connecting to those we serve. I believe the healthier and more supported we are, the better we are able to manage other people’s pain. I feel proud that I am able to utilize my social work degree, my experiences within this field, and a holistic approach to human wellness within my daily practice.
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Thank you, social workers – those within New Vitae Wellness and Recovery and those within our larger community – for your support, assistance, and guidance throughout the year! We appreciate your focus on holistic health and applaud your dedication to service for others.