Social workers who truly want to change lives know that their educations don’t end even with an advanced degree.
When Audrey Freshman, Ph.D., LCSW, CASAC, came to Adelphi University last year as director of continuing education, she determined that her role would be to “bring nationally renowned speakers and training to Long Island, at an affordable price,” as she described it.
Social workers who truly want to change lives know that their educations don’t end even with an advanced degree. As the National Association for Social Workers (NASW) states, continuing education is an “essential activity for ensuring quality social work services for clients.”
So far, Dr. Freshman has introduced workshops and seminars focusing on behavioral health, trauma, eating disorders, anxiety and any other issues that social workers may be called upon to address.
With an expertise in helping people overcome substance abuse, Dr. Freshman initially focused on this topic to help therapists “deal with the massive problem of addiction” on Long Island, she said.
She’s not exaggerating. According to a Suffolk County grand jury report released in 2012, persons treated for heroin abuse increased by 425 percent and those for opioid pill abuse 1,136 percent between 1996 and 2011. The situation in Nassau County was likewise bleak. In 2011, the Nassau County Office of Substance Abuse reported that admissions for opioids and prescription drugs increased 82 percent between 2007 and 2010.
The School of Social Work’s Postgraduate Certificate in Addictions enables master’s degree-level professionals in social work and behavioral health to complete the 350 clock-hour education requirement to apply for the New York State OASAS Credential in Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Counseling (CASAC). And the Postgraduate Certificate Program in Trauma Studies and Treatment offers practitioners the opportunity to learn the latest evidence-based trauma treatment and integrate it into their practices.
To assist professionals in further advancing their educations, Dr. Freshman formed partnerships with notable organizations such as the Menninger Clinic, an affiliate of Baylor College of Medicine; Long Island Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists; and the Caron Treatment Center, the No. 1 rehabilitation facility in the country, who were able to provide professional speakers for her events. These workshops are of value not only to social workers but also to psychologists, teachers, guidance counselors and medical professionals, and she aims to bring in speakers who are physicians and psychologists. “Social work synthesizes a lot of theory from other disciplines. Education should reflect this,” she said.
Exploring the Realm of Emerging Adulthood
Last summer, the Office of Continuing Education offered a four-day program on school-based behavioral health certification geared to the treatment of children through high school. Each day a different topic was addressed: psychiatric disorders, suicide prevention, trauma, bullying and special populations, and children of substance abusers.
This year’s Annual Summer Institute took place on July 15–19, 2013. Dr. Freshman expanded the age range to address the behavioral-health needs of college-aged young adults and beyond. According to Pew Research analysis of Census Bureau data, the number of adults ages 25–34 living in multigenerational family households is the highest it has been since the 1950s, increasing from 15.8 percent in 2000 to 21.6 percent in 2010.
Adolescence wasn’t defined as a separate life stage until the 20th century, and now psychologists and other professionals are pointing out a new life stage, what Jeffrey Jensen Arnett, Ph.D., research professor in the Department of Psychology at Clark University, calls “emerging adulthood.” These young people, aged 18–29, are not quite adolescents nor young adults, but establishing identities and testing the waters of adulthood. Whether this stage is positive or makes parents question When Will My Grown- Up Kid Grow Up? as Dr. Arnett’s newly published book asks, is up for debate.
Dr. Freshman was able to secure Dr. Arnett as this year’s speaker. As increasing numbers of young adults return to the nest or delay major decisions until their late 20s or 30s, this keynote was of interest not only to professionals, but also to parents of college students in the Adelphi community and beyond.
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