Barbara Gilin, Widener University

Associate Clinical Professor Chester, Pennsylvania bjgilin@widener.edu Office: (610) 499-1286

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Bio/Research

I first joined the Widener faculty in 1993 as an adjunct clinical professor, and then began teaching full time in 1999. I have taught the following courses: Practice with Individuals, Practice with Families, Practice with Groups, Advanced Families elective, Treating Trauma, Comparative Social Wor...

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Bio/Research

I first joined the Widener faculty in 1993 as an adjunct clinical professor, and then began teaching full time in 1999. I have taught the following courses: Practice with Individuals, Practice with Families, Practice with Groups, Advanced Families elective, Treating Trauma, Comparative Social Work Practice (an international course). In addition to teaching, I maintain my own clinical practice, which allows me to experience the joys and challenges of working directly with clients. I see individuals, couples, and families, and I specialize in relationship problems with current partners or with families of origin, recovery from trauma, anxiety, depression, substance abuse, parenting concerns, and more. I believe that my teaching is enriched by staying immersed in doing clinical work myself and, in turn, teaching enriches my clinical work. My professional experiences have included working in outpatient mental health settings, a medical hospital, inpatient psychiatric hospitals, partial hospital programs, an elementary school, employee assistance programs, and as a group leader for the Philadelphia Sexual Abuse Project and at Women in Transition.

I believe that the starting point for all good social work practice is the ability to build and maintain effective and trusting helping relationships with our clients. Current research in neurobiology validates the importance of core skills that include being empathic and "attuned" to clients ', listening deeply and carefully to them, and creating feelings of safety that will allow them to build trust in us. Many of the people with whom we work have suffered at the hands of people who harmed them in multiple ways, and we are in a position to help them begin to see that not all people will hurt them as others have done. In order to do this work effectively, Widener's program will also emphasize the importance of being self-aware and mindful of the impact of our work with clients on us, and how to take care of ourselves so we can continue to help our clients. In addition to acquiring valuable skills for micropractice, a good clinical social worker also needs to be able to advocate for changes in policies and laws that negatively impact clients.

One of my jobs as an instructor is to help students recognize and build upon the knowledge and skills they already possess as they enter our program. One of my priorities is to create a safe atmosphere in the classroom that will allow students to ask questions and to really learn the new knowledge that they will need to be effective with their clients. I want to help students be able to connect the theoretical knowledge that they gain through readings and discussions to the actual interventions that they use with their clients. I work hard to help students understand "why they do what they do", and to articulate the theoretical foundations that support their work by the time they leave our program.


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