How to Get a Job as a Social Worker

Mary Pender Greene, a licensed social worker and certified group psychotherapist, has worked in the profession for 38 years and interviewed as many as 700 social workers annually to find them placements. Aside from skills, credentials, and proper licensing, there are still other factors Pender Greene says she hopes to see in new hires. “If they tell me that they were in therapy, then that gives them extra brownie points with me,” she says, “because in order to be able to help others, you have to be willing and able to look at the things that need work within you and your own family.” Pender Greene also considers personal therapy the first indicator that someone will have longevity in the field. “The second [indicator] is to never be in a job where you aren’t being supervised properly,” she says. “And the third is self-care. That includes the ability to assess when it’s time for lunch, to take a vacation, or even to start a new job.”

Interview Questions Submitted by Real Social Workers

“Are you prejudiced against a particular race?” – Los Angeles County Social Worker Candidate (Location Unknown)

“Can you handle cancer patients?” – Sisters of Charity Hospital Social Worker Candidate (Location Unknown)

“If you were a utensil what would you be?” – HCR ManorCare Social Worker Candidate (Milwaukee, WI)

What is the Job Like?

Family social work can be taxing, as it requires you to deal with clients—many of whom are minors—experiencing various emotions. Being able to respond to conflict in a level-headed and objective manner would be an asset, as would having the ability to exercise sensitivity and tact. Much of a social worker’s responsibilities are performed in an office setting, but they may also travel when meeting with clients and tending to their affairs. The majority of social workers work 40 hours per week, although they might occasionally have evening or weekend hours, depending on the needs of their clients.

Real Reviews From Social Workers

+ “Satisfaction in serving patients and families who really need the help. Autonomy to get the job done.” – Sava Senior Care Social Worker (Location Unknown)

+ “Great work team, varied and interesting patient population, good support from management, variety of locations/work sites available.” – Allina Hospitals Medical Social Worker (Minneapolis, MN)

– “Highly stressful with many unneeded financial, insurance and clerical duties, prevent delivery of good social work pt. care.” – DaVita Social Worker (Tampa, FL)

– “Few holidays, few raises for Social Workers.” – Ellis Hospital Social Worker (Schenectady, NY)

Perhaps If, Whitney Had the Help of a Therapist…

“The biggest devil is me. I’m either my best friend or my worst enemy,” Whitney told Diane Sawyer in a 2002 interview with her then-husband Bobby Brown. Brown, who had a bad-boy image, would be arrested several times over the years on DUI charges and failure to pay child support. It was the prelude to the epic fall of a superstar with a once squeaky-clean image, religious roots and spiritual influence.

Interestingly, Whitney commented that their personalities were not that far apart. In 1993, she told Rolling Stone “When you love, you love. I mean, do you stop loving somebody because you have different images? You know, Bobby and I basically come from the same place.” She later revealed that it was around this time that she became drug dependent. She suffered anxiety, unable to meet expectations and continue at that level of success. She began to care about herself less and less, evidenced by drug abuse, poor judgment and public meltdowns. Like many superstars, she was surrounded by people who were dependent on her and  who also enabled her.  Whitney could not get a reality check! …

9 Ways to Make 2012 Your Best Year Yet

Posted by on Monday, January 2, 2012 · Leave a Comment

The last glass of champagne has been consumed, the last handful of confetti has been thrown, and you realize 2012 has officially begun. It’s a time of celebration, but also a time for new beginnings and resolutions to make (and stick to!) for the upcoming year. Life2PointOh chatted with NYC psychotherapist Mary Pender Greene to discuss how you can make 2012 a better and brighter year!

1. Rediscover your passion. “Ask yourself what you are really passionate about,” Pender Greene suggests. “Is it writing? Start a blog. Is it reading? Join a book club. Is it music or art? Take lessons!”

2. Get polished. Are you over your current hairstyle? Or perhaps those work clothes you’ve been wearing for the last 12 months are ready to be Goodwill donations? Pender Greene says a new or updated look is a great way to start the year with a clean slate, while also giving you a confidence boost. …

Shocks to the System

by Willette Francis

Many terrifying events can trigger post-traumatic stress disorder, but domestic abuse is often overlooked as one of them.


Click here to read a digital edition of this article.

When many people think of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), they see an image of vets returning from the battlefield, shell-shocked soldiers barely able to function because they’ve experienced the unspeakable horrors of war. But the truth is, many events can trigger this anxiety disorder, including ordinary, everyday violence on the home front, better known as domestic abuse.

This is what one woman, Jessica (not her real name), experienced when at the age of 18 she married her high school sweetheart, “P.J.” The two had a courtship that could have jumped straight out of a young adult romance novel—the one where a young girl falls for the popular high school football team quarterback. P.J. was not just a star athlete; he was also a sweet and caring guy, Jessica explains. But soon after the marriage, that changed. P.J. transformed into someone else. He became a violent man who began to beat her.

Jessica’s domestic abuse ordeal began with threatening looks from her husband. They frightened her, making her feel emotional or mental anguish in his presence. “This was the first indication to me that he could get angry enough to hurt me,” she recalls. Her husband also became more controlling. He didn’t want her to leave the house while he hung out with friends.

One day, Jessica got tired of sitting at home, so she went for a jog. When P.J. spotted her, fear seized Jessica and she began running. He sprinted in pursuit and tackled her to the ground. “I just played unconscious so he wouldn’t hurt me,” Jessica says. These were the first signs of the physical abuse to come.

Eventually, Jessica’s husband started slapping and hitting her. “The respect was totally gone; he was out of control,” she says.

Then, P.J. started using drugs. As the domestic violence episodes continued, Jessica began feeling hopeless and depressed. She felt as if she had no reason to live. Although she didn’t know it then, she was developing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms.

PTSD is caused by exposure to a terrifying event or ordeal in which grave physical harm occurs or is threatened. PTSD symptoms include intense fear, flashbacks, nightmares, severe anxiety, racing heartbeats, dizziness, stomach pains and chest tightness. What’s more, those who develop PTSD from domestic abuse, or other trauma, can experience additional symptoms, such as suicidal thoughts and blaming themselves for the maltreatment.

“[Domestic abuse-related] PTSD can begin at the start of the trauma and continue as long as the person’s in the relationship,” explains Mary Pender Greene, a New York City psychotherapist. “Any abuse over time causes PTSD. And the thing that makes [recovery from this kind of PTSD] so difficult is that part of trying to get better means staying away from what causes you to be and feel vulnerable.”

In Jessica’s case, she felt vulnerable whenever she was in her husband’s presence. But despite her fear, she didn’t leave the abusive relationship. At this point, Jessica’s life became a series of repetitive domestic violence episodes: blowups, beatings and flight, followed by P.J.’s remorse and the couple’s inevitable reconciliation.

Eventually, Jessica’s husband threatened to kill her while the couple was vacationing in Florida. “When he told me he was gonna kill me, there was no reason for me not to believe him,” she says. “In this condition, it was almost as if his mind had temporarily left him.”

The incident was particularly violent and public. When her husband briefly left the hotel, Jessica banged on the doors of other guests to ask for help. When P.J. returned, he attacked her. Someone called the police. When they arrived, they found her crouched down on the hotel parking lot pavement, her elbows to her knees as she tried to protect herself from P.J.’s blows. The cops dragged him away and drove Jessica to the police station.

After this brutal fracas, Jessica temporarily separated from her husband and went to stay with an aunt and cousin. Later, she reconciled with him. But nothing had changed. P.J.’s violent flare-ups continued. Jessica was further traumatized, and her PTSD symptoms increased.

Now, besides feeling hopeless, worthless and depressed, Jessica began to withdraw socially and isolate herself from family and friends. “People may also have a lot of guilt or shame,” Pender Greene explains.

These were feelings Jessica experienced. She avoided her family because she didn’t want them to see her in this desperate condition.

Finally, Jessica’s abusive relationship came to an abrupt end. The police arrested and jailed P.J. on a drug charge. But by this time, Jessica had changed. Now she had developed a more aggressive personality. She began selling drugs and would easily explode into violence if provoked. Eventually, she too was busted for drug possession and sentenced to 18 years.

Jessica explains that her exposure to domestic abuse definitely changed her outlook on life. “It was as if a coldness was running through my veins,” she says. “There was no more warmth left in me.”

For Jessica, the years passed in a blur. She didn’t really know how she’d ended up behind bars. But when she reached her 15th year in prison, she finally understood. The physical abuse and domestic violence had caused her psyche to shift, she says.

Although mental health counseling was available in prison, Jessica says that no one offered her treatment. But eight years into her sentence she became proactive and decided to participate in one mental health prison program. It didn’t work. “It was too superficial for my needs,” she says. “What I’d experienced was so deeply rooted that that particular prison program didn’t even begin to scratch the surface.”

Then, Jessica decided to write her experiences down. What’s more, she also started to educate herself about domestic abuse and its effects. This is how Jessica first learned about PTSD. But she didn’t accept that it related to her situation. “I felt that people who had been traumatized or who suffered some type of PTSD or depression were weak,” Jessica says. “I felt that couldn’t be me.”

As she continued her writing therapy, Jessica cried. “Everything that had happened to me since I was 17 just poured out like a flood,” she says. That’s when a relative became concerned Jessica would commit suicide and alerted a prison case manager.

When the case manager read the 1,000 pages Jessica had written, she congratulated her. “Those prison staffers who understood were very supportive,” Jessica says. “That’s how I got to the place I needed to go.”

Today, Jessica believes if she had gotten professional guidance or counseling to treat the domestic abuse and loss of self-esteem she’d experienced, she wouldn’t have wound up in prison. “[Domestic abuse] pushed me into this other lifestyle,” she says. “I wasn’t this cold-hearted person; I was a happy-spirited, lighthearted girl, and then came the abuse. Had there been some type of preventive measure, such as counseling, prison would never have been a part of my life.”

Seeking professional treatment for PTSD can do more than rebuild self-esteem—it can help abuse victims avoid repeating old patterns. “These people are much more inclined to choose someone who is an abuser,” Pender Greene notes.

In addition, Pender Greene suggests PTSD sufferers seek a type of treatment called cognitive behavior therapy. “This kind of therapy helps people change the thought patterns that stop them from overcoming their anxieties and repetitive thinking about the trauma,” she says.

What’s more, antidepressants and anxiety-lowering meds can help, as can support groups and other therapy options, Pender Greene adds.

Today, Jessica shares her story with others as a domestic abuse awareness advocate. “Telling my story may help other people, but it helps me too,” she says. But Jessica also says she plans to seek professional therapy at some point to help with her recovery.

Says Pender Greene, “[It’s helpful] people know that others have been able to leave abusive relationships and recover from post-traumatic stress disorder.”
Just ask Jessica.

Traumatic Numbers
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is often associated with military personnel who survive warfare, but the condition can develop in anyone who experiences trauma.

  • 70% of adults in the United States have experienced some type of traumatic event at least once.
  • 1 out of 10 women develop PTSD (women are about twice as likely to develop the disorder as men).
  • Almost 50% of outpatient mental health patients have PTSD.
  • 20% of soldiers deployed in the past six years have PTSD.
  • According to the National Center for PTSD: “Rates of PTSD are higher in children and adolescents recruited from at-risk samples. The rates of PTSD in these at-risk children and adolescents vary from 3% to 100%.”
  • Studies estimate that one in every five military personnel returning from Iraq and Afghanistan have PTSD.
  • 71% of female military personnel develop PTSD as a result of sexual assault within the ranks.
  • According the National Center for PTSD: “As many as 100% of children who witness a parental homicide or sexual assault develop PTSD. Similarly, 90% of sexually abused children, 77% of children exposed to a school shooting, and 35% of urban youth exposed to community violence develop PTSD.”
  • More than 33% of youths exposed to community violence experience PTSD.

Source: The Sidran Institute


What Can We Learn From Celebrity Divorce?

By Aly Walansky

Here are the facts about three celebrities who were blindsided by their spouse with divorce:

—Actress Laura Dern was totally blindsided when her hubby, Grammy winner Ben Harper, filed for a divorce. The two had been married since 2005 and had two kids together. Meanwhile, Harper claimed in the legal documents that they’d been separated since January, but friends of the couple said they’d been traveling together all year and were intimate maybe as recently as last week. How hard is it to have a sit-down before filing divorce papers?
—Usher and his now ex-wife Tameka Foster had allegedly been separated for a year when Usher filed for divorce, but Tameka claimed they’d been intimate within the week and court documents said she had every reason to believe her marriage was intact.
—Tiki Barber was allegedly “floored” that his pregnant wife Ginny filed for divorce, because she was supposed to do it a month later. Ginny was eight months pregnant with twins and the two had agreed they wouldn’t “file divorce papers until after their babies were born.” The two had been separated since talk of Tiki’s alleged affair had begun a few weeks before.

In each of these cases one partner was shocked and surprised by their partner’s move to file divorce. Clearly there was a communication shortfall but could it have been avoided? What can we learn from these examples?

Mary Pender Greene, noted psychotherapist and relationship expert has this to say: “Many of us share the unrealistic expectations of celebrities and do and will not put the necessary effort into our marriages. This can be traced to the pretty pictures presented by movies, television and other entertainment sources–creating false expectations. This becomes deadly when coupled with the high divorce rate in America.

We learn from the example of our parents and their behavior.

Couples often fall victim to difficult family histories. It is instructive that in the case of celebrities, too many of them are surrounded by adoring fans and equally adoring friends and associates most who care for them based on their fame and fortune. Is it surprising these “stars” would have difficulty with the sometimes hard truths of marriage? But no matter what the situation is or who you are, there is no getting around the fact that marriage takes work. Being “lazy in love”  will almost always spell disaster in a marriage. It leads to communication difficulties and skewed perceptions.

“In the case of these blindsided men and woman, it is clear that a lack of communication between them was the main culprit in their break-ups,” Pender says.

Virtual Personal Board of Directors – One Hour Consultation


  • Achieve new goals to advance your career.
  • Create your own professional posse of trusted advisors.
  • Receive encouragement and support during challenging times.
  • Share knowledge and “pay it forward.”


“Building a Successful Virtual Personal Board of Directors (VPBOD) ” Consultation With Mary Pender Greene





SCHEDULING: By Appointment

Building A Successful Private Practice – One Hour Consultation



  • Are you ready to start a private psychotherapy practice?
  • Is your practice stuck and losing momentum, money, or both?
  • Are you isolated or bored in your practice?
  • Do you want your practice to thrive and not just survive?






SCHEDULING: By Appointment

Top Technology Tips To Streamline Your Practice

By Julie Hanks, LCSW

One of the many challenges of private practice, especially solo practice, is efficiently and effectively juggling administrative and practice management tasks with clinical work. Since I often blog about my favorite technology tips, I reached out to other therapists “in the trenches” of private practice to see what technology they find most helpful to streamline practice management. Here are the devices, programs, and software they use most and how it helps them successfully run their practice.

Dr. Trevor Small, Clinical Director and Psychologist for Bridges to Recovery, a private, behavioral health facility has several tech tips that help streamline his practice:

  1. Quicdoc: This is a great program for documenting and following patients progress as well as helping with insurance requirements.
  2. Therapist Helper: Billing software extraordinaire!
  3. iCal: It is fantastic for billing and keeping track of patient hours.

California psychiatrist David M. Reiss, M.D. suggests these technology tips:

  1. ONE Box Voicemail/Efax and Google VoicemailThere may be cheaper or better companies supplying this service, but I’ve been using them several years and I have not checked any other companies. The One Box/efax allows all phone messages and faxes sent to my office to come to me via email, which I can then read on any computer or my iphone, and can save. I don’t have to call in for messages; I can listen on the road; i can respond from wherever I am, and I can respond to faxes without waiting to a hard copy. I can then save the message in organized files as needed. I have a Google phone number which goes directly to my office number – those messages also come to me via email – and come transcribed. The transcription quality is mediocre, many words inaccurate. Usually good enough to get a sense of the message and the call back, but not perfect. Maybe there are better services than this available, but it comes in handy at time, combined with the One Box.
  2. Google calendar – Again, there may be others offering the same service, but this is easy because it attaches to my email. I can keep a calendar,  and keep non-confidential notes regarding appointments kept, no-shows, reports sent  regarding evaluations electronically in a way that is accessible at  any time from wherever I am, as long as I have Internet or phone, and I can share  it with any office personnel one I choose to allow access.
  3. DropBox (or any other cloud service) – I now have 15 years of complete  medical records accessible to me to read, email, fax immediately from anywhere i have the internet or via iPhone. Makes keeping, storing,  updating, referencing and transmitting medical records much easier, quicker  and more efficient.

Psychologist Tamsen Thorpe, PhD, Director of New Jersey’s Directions, a Center for Life Strategies, LLC swears by the following technology to manage her practice:

  1. Therasoft On-line Web based practice management. Key is that it is web-based and can be accessed anywhere versus software.
  2. Google calendarThis program is great for interfacing home and office schedules.
  3. Smart phoneAllows me access to emails and calendars on the go. Clients email me non-confidential information mostly about appointments.

Clinical neuropsychologist and chief of psychology at Saint Barnabas Medical Center as well as a professor at Kean Ilyse O’Desky, Psy.D. relies on these technology suggestions for teaching and practice management:

  1. Dragonspeak  voice transcription software – Between writing patient reports and professional papers, this has made my life much easier and I can complete any written work (including e-mails) much faster.
  2. PowerPointI think this has improved my lecture presentations dramatically and has allowed me to have much more fun with the 4 or 6 hour presentations I give nationally.
  3. iPad –  First, I can download articles directly to the IPAD to read whenever it is convenient and next, I can demonstrate apps to patients or their parents that I think can be used for cognitive training.

New York psychotherapis, Mary Pender Greene, LCSW-R, CGP  suggests:

  1. WebinarsI use this platform for training new clinicians on how to build their practices, among other topics. 
  2. Twitter/TweetDeckI use Twitter to share the key points from my blog, inspirational quotes, links to articles, and links to resources. I use TweetDeck to automate my tweets, which average about 10 per day.
  3. SkypeI use this program to facilitate online group discussions and also to expand the reach of my private practice to include clients that are at a great distance from my office. 

Dr. Trevor Small adds the best tech tip of all…back up your documents. “It is so simple, but nobody does it. Also, it is important to make sure that what is stored is stored according to HIPPA compliance requirements,” Small says.

What technology do you use to streamline your practice? What programs, apps, devices would be hard for you to live without?

Multiple Income Streams Soothe Therapist’s Financial Anxiety (part 2)

By Julie Hanks, LCSW

Developing multiple income streams is crucial to maintaining income stability in private practice. “Having different income sources allows me to be a bit less stressed when my main funding source, private practice, takes a dip,” shares Jill Kristal, President of Transitional Learning Curves.

Reducing financial anxiety is not the only benefit of developing additional income avenues. Multiple income streams allow therapists to fully express their many talents, gifts, and passions.

Writing and speaking provides former actor Frank J. Sileo, PhD with creative fulfillment as well. “I used to be an actor in a past life so getting up in front of others has helped get that need met, ” Sileo adds. Additionally, multiple income streams allow therapists to make a difference on a larger scale, reaching far beyond the therapy office. “I had a desire to have more impact on troubled eaters than one-to-one sessions or even workshops and talks could provide,” shares therapist and healthy eating expert Karen R. Koenig, LCSW, M.Ed.

If you missed “Multiple Income Streams (part 1)” click here

Here are more potential income streams for you to consider as you seek a stable income and fulfilling career.

Teach classes

Therapist Mary Pender Greene, LCSW-R, CGP has created paid opportunities through giving workshops, webinars, retreats, seminars, training sessions, keynotes and public speaking engagements that have grown out of her passion.

These streams naturally grew out of my private practice and at the core, are centered on the struggles of adult human interaction… such as improving communication, expressing feelings, reflection, solving problems and refreshing relationships.

Michael Heitt, PsyD of Heitt Clinical & Corporate Consulting, LLC adds to his income through teaching masters students at Johns Hopkins, doctoral students at Loyola University and facilitating an online licensure prep course.

Provide professional training

After several students urged Dr. Carol Clark to teach a sex therapy program, she launched STTI, the Sex Therapy Training Institute, and then expanded it to Addictions Therapy Training Institute, and eventually published a book.

As I taught and counseled, several concepts and interventions really solidified and I realized that these themes were incorporated in everything I did with students and clients, so I spent seven years putting
it all into my book, Addict America: The Lost Connection.

Therapist and faith leader The Rev. Christopher L. Smith offers supervision/consultation with other mental health practitioners and other faith group leaders as an additional income stream.

Become a paid TV contributor

After a year of contributing on a local women’s lifestyle TV show, Studio 5, I was offered a position as a paid contributor. One of my personal and professional passions is using the media to educate and inspire, so not only has this opportunity created an additional income stream, it’s allowed me to doing something I love to do anyway and get paid.

Provide supervision to students and interns

Have you considered leveraging your time by hiring students and interns to provide clinical services through your practice? I started hiring therapists under supervision about 5 years ago, and graduate students a few years ago. Its been a great way to provide clinical services to additional clients without having to increase my direct care hours. My Wasatch Family Therapy colleague and play therapist Clair Mellenthin LCSW, RPT loves supervising therapists. She says that in addition to providing income, “One of the unexpected joys of providing supervision is forming relationships with new therapists and helping them to develop confidence and competence.”

Public speaking

From community events, corporate settings to professional presentations, public speaking and presenting is another common income stream that you may want to consider. Dr. John Duffy speaks regularly on parenting issues, and also to corporations on team-building and relationship skills.

Do any of these income streams jump out at you?

What income streams are you developing to add stability to your practice?

Julie Hanks, LCSW has over 20 years in the mental health field & 9 years in private practice as owner of She consults with therapists on how to build a fulfilling and profitable therapy business and attract clients through technology and social media. Follow Julie on Twitter & Facebook. She also writes for PsychCentral’s Ask the Therapist.,porno,,,