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Workshop Examples

Examples of workshop submissions from prior conventions

Presentation Submission: Example #1

Title of Presentation: Exploration of the Concept of Forgiveness Among Female Incest Survivors

Presentation Track(s): Direct Practice

Audience: Social Workers

Content Level: Intermediate

Presentation Abstract:  The use of therapeutic forgiveness with incest survivors is a relatively new area of inquiry. Many studies have revealed promising results, including improvement of survivors’ physical and mental health and personal relationships. However, many survivors still shun the concept. An increased understanding is needed of survivors’ personal conceptualizations of forgiveness.

Presentation Description:  Sexual abuse can be a devastating crime to endure. The effects may be severe and long-lasting, with the effects of incest being potentially more damaging than other forms of sexual abuse (Browne & Finkelhor, 1986; Gil, 1991). Multiple therapies and coping strategies have been utilized in attempts to address the crimes’ impact upon survivors, but one therapeutic intervention whose value is just recently coming to into clinical and scholarly view is that of forgiveness.

There have been a number of studies that have utilized forgiveness with a variety of violated individuals (e.g. Al-Mabuk, Enright, Cardis, 1995; Eastin, 1989; Freedman & Enright, 1996; Hebl & Enright, 1993; Huang, 1992; McCullough, Worthington, & Rachal, 1997; Moon, 1989; Phillipps & Osborne, 1989; Wilson, 1994) but only a handful that have examined or utilized forgiveness with survivors of sexual abuse (Eastin, 1989; Freedman & Enright, 1996, Freedman, 1999; Holeman, 1994; Holeman & Myers, 1998; Moon, 1989;Wilson, 1994). However, studies such as these and others have yielded encouraging results, not only that forgiveness can be successfully learned and applied to such personal situations, but also that other aspects of forgivers’ personal health may improve as well, such as decreases in depression and anxiety, increases in self-esteem and hope, etc. (e.g. Freedman & Enright, 1996, Hebl & Enright, 1993; Huang, 1992; Phillipps & Osborne, 1989).

Furthermore, successful forgiveness work by sexual abuse survivors may serve to not only increase the health of the individual survivors, but also to potentially effect the health and functioning of the survivors’ familial relationships, either current family and/or family-of-origin (Elridge & Still, 1995; Freedman, 1999; Holeman & Myers, 1998; Morris, 1998). However, it is crucial that no one be forced or pressured into forgiving someone who has hurt him/her. If forgiveness is done at all, it should be by the personal choice of the survivor, and in his/her own time (Freedman & Enright, 1996; Smedes, 1996; Worthington & DiBlasio, 1990).

Research in this area thus far has largely focused on utilizing predetermined, scholarly definitions of forgiveness with subjects. However, many people shun the concept of forgiveness altogether based on their own definition of or previous negative experience with it. If the utilization of therapeutic forgiveness is to be considered more widely by incest survivors, one must explore how survivors themselves personally conceptualize forgiveness, what role, if any, it has played in their lives to this point, any attempts made to use it in the past, and perceived results. This may serve to form a more solid understanding for therapists and church leaders to enter such discussions with such survivors. This investigator is currently in the process of conducting a qualitative study to explore these issues. Results, therefore, are forthcoming.

Learning Objectives:  After completing this workshop, participants will be able to:

  1. Overview past forgiveness research, and articulate frequently-occurring variables in successful forgiveness interventions
  2. Articulate several areas of an abuse survivor’s life that may be effected by forgiveness
  3. Describe the implications of both the material included in this presentation, including the presenter’s research, for therapeutic intervention including forgiveness

Presentation Submission: Example #2

Title of Presentation: Building Community Partnerships with Congregations: The Opportunities, Challenges, and Rewards

Presentation Track(s): Community Building; Congregations

Audience: Social Workers; Church Leaders

Content Level: Intermediate

Presentation Abstract:  Partnerships between secular organizations and local congregations can be an exciting way to build community. This workshop will examine the opportunities and challenges in building such partnerships. Participants will learn about practical methods that can be beneficial in the formation and sustainability of partnerships with interfaith congregations. The personal faith implications for social workers will be examined.

Presentation Description:  Undoubtedly, there is a current trend, if not a dynamic movement, among community agencies, secular institutions, local government bodies, and many other organizations to partner with congregations. The challenge in the accelerating discussion of “faith-based” service delivery is to form community partnerships with congregations that are creative, high quality, and mutually beneficial while not capitalizing on, or in extreme cases exploiting, congregations. Providing an overview of an urban, hospital based congregational health ministry network as a program model, this presentation will explore the opportunities, challenges, and mutual benefits of organizations building community partnerships with congregations.

Highlighted throughout the presentation will be opportunities for the creative use of concrete social work knowledge and skills to promote the integration of faith and practice in a secular setting.

The presentation will identify some of the challenges encountered when building community partnerships with congregations. Specific to the discussion will be issues that often create barriers to such partnerships such as, understanding congregational culture; engaging church leadership; building and sustaining partnerships; underlying motivation for partnerships; measuring outcomes; program planning; and obtaining resources.

Importantly, the presentation will offer some practical methods and examples for addressing these barriers. Additionally, methods for articulating the mutual benefits of such congregational partnerships with be identified and discussed. The benefits of partnerships to congregations, as well as organizations, will be explored. Issues such as the congregation’s mission and spiritual development, as well as the community service initiatives of organizations, will be discussed. Application of principles will be directly applied to the congregational health ministry network model.

Finally, the presentation will encourage social workers to examine their own faith and practice implications when working with interfaith congregations in such partnerships. The personal challenges, including practical examples, of integrating faith and practice will be discussed. Resources for professional development in building congregational partnerships, as well as integrating faith and practice in such partnerships, will be provided.

Learning Objectives:  After completing this workshop, participants will be able to:

  1. Articulate several innovative strategies designed to help agencies and institutions develop partnerships with congregations
  2. Identify key challenges faced by organizations partnering with congregations and learn how to address obstacles
  3. Describe the mutual benefits of institution/agency and congregation partnerships
  4. More fully understand the personal implications and dynamics of integrating personal faith with social work practice when working in a secular institution partnering with interfaith congregations

Additional Examples of Learning Objectives (gleaned from other workshop proposals):

After completing this workshop, participants will be able to:

  • Identify the foundational principles and guiding questions of restorative justice.
  • Describe a variety of approaches and strategies currently employed by social work administrators for integrating spirituality in the workplace.
  • Identify intervention approaches that congregants prefer when dealing with domestic violence.
  • Increase skills in working with traumatized children.
  • Decide when and how to appropriately address spirituality with clients following the NASW professional standards for ethical practice.
  • Articulate both the benefits and potential pitfalls of seeking government funding.
  • Define burnout, compassion fatigue, and stress and recognize their symptoms.
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