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ERIC Number: EJ1123292
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014
Pages: 23
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0882-4843
Enhancing MSW Students' Efficacy in Working with Trauma, Violence, and Oppression: An Integrated Feminist-Trauma Framework for Social Work Education
Wilkin, Leslie; Hillock, Susan
Feminist Teacher: A Journal of the Practices, Theories, and Scholarship of Feminist Teaching, v24 n3 p184-206 2014
Social work is uniquely situated among helping professions, as the clinical practice is an extension of ethical responsibility to pursue social justice. Whether in mental health, addictions, child protection, intimate partner violence services, youth and adult homelessness programs, or any number of social work services, the individuals, families, and groups who come into contact with social workers are disproportionately marginalized on the basis of race, Indigenous status, gender, poverty, sexuality, (dis)ability, and language. When the two authors, Hillock, an associate professor of social work, and Wilkin, a masters of social work graduate student, first met in Hillock's graduate level advanced family practice class, they discovered a mutual interest in feminist and trauma research. They also shared a frustration about working in a profession that claimed to "help" trauma survivors but seemed to do very little to support students and new practitioners to develop adequate theoretical knowledge and education practice skills. They thought that much more could be done. Wilkin approached Hillock about collaborating to develop a new integrated model for social work education, informed by their respective locations as a student/frontline social worker and as a social work educator, working and teaching from a feminist perspective. Given the high levels of marginalization and trauma experienced by social work service users, they believed that social work students and new practitioners would benefit from theoretical and practical education on trauma "symptoms" (a contested term), intervention, recovery, and the connection between trauma and oppression. Despite this need, the literature shows that many social workers still graduate with limited to no clinical knowledge and skills for directly addressing trauma (Breckenridge and James 261), little sense of professional efficacy working with abuse survivors (Warrener, Postmus, and McMahon 194), and an underdeveloped political analysis of trauma and abuse that does not transcend individual pathology (Black, Weisz, and Bennett 181; Danis 179). To change this social work education trend, the authors set out to further develop their knowledge in these areas. Thus, the first half of this paper presents the history and evolution of trauma and feminist theories and draws on the recommendations of feminist, antioppressive, and Indigenous trauma practitioners for ways to integrate the two theories. Following this, the authors examine the current status of Canadian social work education, particularly in the areas of feminist theory and trauma interventions. They then recommend ways to integrate the two theories into a framework for Masters of Social Work (MSW) education and suggest concrete ways to utilize a feminist andragogy to apply an integrated feminist-trauma framework to social work education.
University of Illinois Press. 1325 South Oak Street, Champaign, IL 61820-6903. Tel: 217-244-0626; Fax: 217-244-8082; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education; Adult Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A