Starting change from within
Kathryn Collins, MSW '11, Clinical Social Worker
"I built up a caseload, working two days a week, and I provide therapy for individuals, couples and groups," Kathryn says. "I am volunteering there in the same capacity because I want to keep providing therapy for my existing clients. I have added some new clients, and I am gaining valuable experience as a social worker."
Kathryn came to social work by way of education. She earned a bachelor's degree in English secondary education in 1989 and a master's degree in literature in 1995, both from SUNY College at Oneonta.
"I was a teacher for 20 years, and I was fulfilled bringing literacy to children," she explains. "But I realized that I was more concerned with helping children and their families with problems that distracted them from learning. I felt restricted by my role as a teacher, and I knew becoming a social worker would allow me to expand my capacity to help people."
In January 2010 Kathryn participated in the MSW program's service-learning project in the seventh ward of New Orleans, which provides mental-health support and other services to children and adults affected by Hurricane Katrina. She says the experience was "transformative."
Through her field and volunteer work, Kathryn is transforming others.
"I have been able to help individuals to overcome crises and change lifelong patterns of destructive behavior. I have been able to help people change the way they perceive and think about themselves and the world," she says.
"However, the most important changes were the ones I've made myself in my own life, and I think this is one of the greatest strengths I bring to the profession of social work."
"Social workers are trained professionals with the knowledge and skills to reflect, empathize, challenge, illuminate and motivate, while respecting the individual's or community's right to self-determination. Social work is work of the mind and heart that provides support to people in need."