Social Workers Are Essential

By Pamela Rak, LCSW

National Social Work Month is in March and this year’s theme is Social Workers Are Essential. The social work profession has existed for more than a century and continues to make significant contributions to our nation. Social workers are known as “helping professionals”. We are woven into the fabric of our society, essential to community well-being, and help individuals and families reach their fullest potential.

Every day more than 700,000 social workers nationwide make life better for others. We empower people by giving them the skills and encouragement needed to overcome life’s challenges. We also link clients to resources they may need to live more fulfilled lives. Social workers play a vital role in community organizations and local, state and federal governments, helping create programs and policies that make our society a better and more equitable place for all.

Social workers are everywhere. We work in schools helping children access the services they need to get the best possible education. We work in mental health centers and private practices, helping people overcome mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety and substance use disorders. We protect children from neglect and abuse and help form new families through adoption. Social workers are also found in hospitals, helping patients get the best possible care not only while in treatment but following discharge when they return to their families and communities. Additionally, we help clients of all ages cope with chronic illness and the loss of loved ones through hospice work, as well as conducting and facilitating grief and bereavement support groups.
Social workers have often been unsung heroes during the Coronavirus pandemic, working on the frontlines along with doctors, nurses, grocery store staff and other essential employees. We have been part of care teams in rehabilitation centers, providing services at correctional facilities, running domestic violence shelters, and caring for families in poverty. Social workers provide mental health and substance use disorder treatment; assist active-duty military, veterans and their families; help corporations better serve their employees and communities and conduct webinars and virtual support groups to keep people connected to care throughout the pandemic.

In addition to the rigorous education and practical training required to become a social worker and in order to provide emotional and behavioral health treatment, the social workers who are Fellows of this organization, Collaborative Divorce Illinois, are mental health professionals with additional training in the Collaborative Divorce process as mediators, child specialists and divorce coaches. A Collaborative Divorce Coach is member of a Collaborative divorce team of professionals who helps you and your spouse recognize and communicate your emotional concerns in order to facilitate negotiation during the divorce process. We help guide divorcing couples through the emotional bottlenecks that often impede progress during a divorce. Divorce coaching is not counseling or therapy. Divorce coaching is future focused and goal oriented. It emphasizes moving you and your spouse from where you are now to where you want to be. Divorce Coaching helps you clarify and manage your feelings so that you can participate more constructively in negotiations. Divorce Coaches help you identify and give voice to your needs so that, together with your spouse, you can create a mutually acceptable settlement agreement. By helping you manage the emotional aspects of divorce, a Divorce Coach can help you save time and money. We can also help you reduce the hurtful and unproductive emotional struggles that many couples get caught up in when they are going through a divorce. In sum, your Coach can help you think more clearly, communicate better and manage conflict more effectively in order to navigate through your divorce in a more respectful and constructive manner.

Why Use a Divorce Coach?
Depending upon your needs, you and your spouse may use one neutral divorce coach. Alternatively, you and your spouse may choose to each have your own coach. Your Collaborative Divorce Coach will help you and your spouse deal with your emotions during the Collaborative Process so that those emotions do not hijack your divorce. S/he helps you and your spouse express and represent your goals, concerns, and feelings as you craft your financial and parenting agreements.

Your Collaborative Divorce Coach can help you avoid getting stuck in inflexible positions by helping you recognize emotionally driven reactions, and by helping you identify what you really ultimately need to include in your divorce agreements. S/he will redirect you and your spouse from focusing on blame to focusing on solutions.

Your Coach Will
• Encourage respectful listening
• Help each of you gain perspective on the other’s point of view
• Assist you in formulating goals for your individual futures
• Help you gather information about your hopes and goals for your children, and determine what both you and your spouse believe is best for them
• Support you and your spouse in putting your children’s needs ahead of your own

By creating safe, open avenues of communication, a Collaborative Divorce Coach can help you reduce the expense, time and destructiveness of a divorce.
During Social Work Month, please take time to learn more about the many aspects and positive contributions of the social work profession, and celebrate all the social workers you know.

Pamela Rak LCSW, PC

Northwest Corporate Center Atrium II Ste. 1131

2500 W. Higgins Rd.

Hoffman Estates, IL 60169 ​

(847) 776-1594 / pamelaraklcsw@gmail.com

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