Overview of Trauma-Informed Care – Podcast

Cat wearing an iPod

It just occurred to me that I never posted this interview here. Dr. Jonathan Singer, founder of The Social Work Podcast, was gracious enough to invite me to be interviewed as part of his podcast series: Continue reading

The Self, BodyMind, and Virtual Worlds

The World Grid and the Whirled Mind

One of the primary reasons that virtual worlds like Second Life fascinate me is because of what they teach us about who we are, how we know the world, and the nature of reality. One of the earliest experiences that intrigued me was how quickly I came to identify with my avatar, despite the fact that she looks nothing like me.

Body Mapping

I recently came across a post that offered an explanation for this phenomenon happens in the brain. The author, Peter Small, discusses “body mapping” theory and describes how it might apply to virtual worlds: Continue reading

How Strong is Your Personal Learning Network? Take this Quiz to Find Out

Establishing social networks to enhance professional development is a topic that I get excited about. So I was thrilled to stumble across this blog post by Lisa Nielson today (through my personal learning network- PLN!): Continue reading

Twitter 101

Twitter bird, blue on white

I’ve been speaking to colleagues a lot recently about the value of Twitter. Sometimes I manage to convince one or two to check it out; as a result, they are often looking for a good basic description of Twitter. I’ve tried to collect such posts over the years, but I have found them lacking in at least one or more of the elements that I would include, hence this post is my attempt to provide such a description that is current in July 2013, knowing that in a few months Twitter will have changed enough that parts of this post might become less relevant or even obsolete. Most of this post will pertain to anyone wanting to learn Twitter. However, I’ve inserted a section at the end on identifying social work content for any social work readers.

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Trauma-Informed Social Work Practice: What Is It and Why Should We Care?


Over the last 20 years there has been increasing recognition of the role that psychological trauma plays in a wide range of health, mental health and social problems. When people think of trauma, they think about experiences like war and the diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder. But the reality is that trauma includes a wide range of situations where people are physically threatened, hurt or violated, or when they witness others in these situations. Continue reading

Extending Your Professional Consultation Network with Social Media: How It Saved a Life

Global Network

A while back I wrote about why I’m here, that is, why I use social media. In that post, I talked primarily about the value of hearing from a broad network of people about ideas that are outside my discipline. Well today I read about a university colleague who used Twitter another way, to seek fast consultation from colleagues around the globe. Continue reading

Virtual Worlds: Portals to Our Self-Discovery?

I came across this story recently, and it got me thinking about how little we understand about the power of our minds and our imaginations. And it reminded me of why I love virtual worlds: because they provide opportunities for us to glimpse the power of our minds to shape reality–both virtual and physical reality.

Here’s the story:

From New World Notes: Woman with Parkinson’s Reports Significant Physical Recovery After Using Second Life

This is Fran, an 85 year old woman who plays Second Life as an avatar named Fran Seranade, and while that’s interesting in itself, many other senior citizens like her are known to be active in SL. Here is the truly extraordinary thing: For over 7 years, Fran has been afflicted with Parkinson’s Disease, a degenerative disorder of the central nervous system afflicting millions around the world, including actor Michael J. Fox and sports legend Muhammed Ali. In Fran’s case, Parkinson’s has made it difficult for her to stand from a sitting position, and maintain her balance while upright. But now Fran reports she’s gained significant recovery of physical movement — as a direct consequence of her activity in Second Life.

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Health Info & Social Networks: Some Unexpected News

Online Health Info Wordle
I’ve read quite a bit the last couple of years about battle for the search market: how Facebook is challenging Google in online search  because people want to search within their own social networks (e.g. Facebook vs. Google: It’s On in SearchHow Facebook Could Beat Google to Win the Net , and Wired’s Facebook vs. Google). So I was more than a little surprised to read some recent findings about health information search by the Pew Internet team in their new report, Health Online 2013. Beyond their main findings (59% of adults in the United States have looked online for health information in the past year), they found that people don’t start their search for health information with their social networks. Continue reading

What’s Ahead for Social Work This Coming Year?

Crystal Ball

Welcoming in a new year always brings a chance to consider what might be up ahead. Given who I am, many (but not all) of my predictions relate to social work and technology. This is not to suggest that these are the only notable trends for this year, only that this is what I’m noticing and thinking about.

Predictions: What 2013 Will Bring for Social Work

1. More and more social workers exploring how to use the Internet as a way to connect, and more and more non-profits figuring out they need to learn how to leverage the Internet. This trend began accelerating last year with the advent of more social work chats on Twitter (in part, because of the great work from @SWSCMedia). I think we’ll continue seeing more colleagues using Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn professionally this year. And with the start of Google+ Communities I think we’ll see more social workers using them to connect. We already have one thriving community there, started by Jonathan Singer (of the Social Work Podcast fame), called Social Work and Technology. Nonprofits who are looking for some guidance in this world would do well to look at the work of Beth Kanter , including her two books on the topic: The Networked NonProfit, and Measuring the Networked NonProfit, both of which are available on Amazon.

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Why Visual is the New Black

Visual Platforms Take Off

Although I was an early adopter of Pinterest, I confess that it took me a while to understand it. I set up an account sometime in mid-2011 after Jens P. Berget at Sly Marketing mentioned it in one of his newsletters. And then I  did nothing with it for about 6 months, because I didn’t really see it’s appeal.

I don’t recall why I reconnected with Pinterest, but as more people were using it and I saw their images, I began to understand it better. Initially it appealed to the part of me that likes to look through well-designed magazines: I found the images engaging and relaxing. Image of an eye and lashesYears ago I had started to create scrapbooks of magazine pictures that appealed to me (a project that was recommended by one of the creative journaling books I was reading) — eventually those scrapbooks gathered dust with a pile of images that I didn’t have the time to paste into the books. And finally I just threw them out. So Pinterest started as a virtual version of those scrapbooks for me. Then I began to see posts from people like Beth Kanter, who in January 2011 wrote about using Pinterest as a curation tool  and that non-profits were using it to promote their organizations and engage their communities. My understanding of Pinterest matured and I began to see more options for using it in other ways, for example, the Social Work Apps Pinterest board maintained by Dorlee M and me and the Visions of Social Work board that both promotes the profession and highlights some aspects of our school. In his recent Wired article, In Defense of Pinterest, Clive Thompson describes how a therapist used Pinterest to help her clients communicate their moods when words just wouldn’t work.
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