Shining a Spotlight on the Social Work Field
March is a very special opportunity to celebrate the women and men in the field of social work as it is National Social Work Month. There are an estimated 642,000 social workers in the United States, and the field spans a wide range of social responsibilities, from clinical diagnosis and treatment to case management, community advocacy, school resourcing, and more.
Focus Integrative Centers is proud to celebrate the three social workers on our staff: Melissa Cohen, LCSW; Vicki Wenke, LMSW; and Alexia Georghiou, MA. These outstanding women are integral parts of our team, and their contributions to our agency and our community inspire us daily.
We are pleased to shine a spotlight on Vicki Wenke this month. Vicki is a veteran of the US Navy who earned her degree in Social Work after her retirement from the armed services; she now specializes in eating disorders, PTSD, trauma history, and interpersonal relationship issues, and offers ACT and EMDR as treatment modalities.Vicki sat down with us to provide an exclusive look inside the world of a social worker and therapist.
Focus Integrative: Thanks for taking the time to share your passion with us! How long have you been in the field of social work?
Vicki Wenke: I graduated with my Bachelors in 2015 and with my Masters in Social Work from University of Tennessee in 2016. I completed my Master’s internship at Focus Integrative for one year then was hired as a primary therapist. I started seeing clients individually in 2017.
FI: What first attracted you to this field of work?
VW: After I retired from the Navy, I went back to school for environmental science. One of my electives in undergraduate was a social work class and I fell in love with the field, so much so that I decided to switch career paths. Another reason was during my own recovery path, my therapist, who was a social worker, was my hero. She was one of the most compassionate, caring, and empathetic practitioners I had ever experienced in my quest toward recovery from a disorder I had battled for over 25 years.
FI: What is it that social workers do?
VW: Social workers work with people by providing support to help solve and cope with problems in client’s everyday lives, in a variety of different settings - sometimes in clients’ home environments, sometimes in a more clinical setting like [Focus]. [Clinical social workers] diagnose and treat mental, behavioral, and emotional issues, develop treatment plans, and encourage clients to discuss their emotions and experiences to develop a better understanding of themselves, their environment, and their relationships.
FI: What is a common misconception about social workers?
VW: I think most people only think of social workers as people who work in crisis situations, removing children from troubled homes.
FI: What is the hardest part of your job?
VW: The hardest part of my job is trying not to “fix” a client’s problems for them, but instead allowing for self-determination to progress organically. Everyone has to find their own solutions in their own time.
FI: And what is the easiest part of your job?
VW: My co-workers make my job easier by providing support, humor, compassion, and friendship as part of self-care.
FI: Finally, what is one thing that you would like people to know about social workers?
VW: That social workers are held to a very high ethical standard based on the core values of service, social justice, dignity and worth of the person, importance of human relationships, integrity, and competence.
You can learn more about Vicki, as well as our other experienced and compassionate providers, on the Focus Integrative Centers website. To schedule an appointment, click here: https://www.focusintegrativecenters.com/contact
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