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"Veterinary Social Workers Benefit More Than Your Clients"  

Veterinary social work can have a profound impact that is sometimes overlooked. Some may not even know what services a veterinary social worker can provide. This article titled "Veterinary Social Workers Benefit More Than Your Clients" by Amanda Carrozza features Sandra Brackenridge, LCSW. Sandra is a veterinary social worker, consultant, and presenter at the annual Veterinary Social Work Intensive. This article highlights the many areas a veterinary social worker may benefit in a veterinary hospital setting.

“Veterinary social work is a solution to many of the issues that may be leading to somebody feeling isolated or alone in the stressful environment that they’re working in,” said Sandra. “It’s a way of decompressing from many of the stressful situations that really stick with people and contribute to them beating themselves up. I don’t think veterinarians or team members should have to be their own therapist or be their own social worker. I think social workers can help, direct, give resources, offer guidance and streamline the process to better health for all veterinary professionals.” The article then breaks down into specific categories including staff interactions with clients, wellness assessment, conflict resolution, crisis counseling, debriefing, and postventions.  

The four pillars of veterinary social work are animal related grief and bereavement, compassion fatigue and conflict management, the link between human and animal violence, and animal assisted interventions. To learn more about the four pillars of veterinary social work, join us at the 5th International Veterinary Social Work Summit, October 4-6th, or browse our website for other education opportunities.
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5th International Veterinary Social Work Summit

Join us October 4-6, for the 5th International Veterinary Social Work Summit. This year's theme is Animals and Poverty with a focus on how poverty impacts the human-animal relationship. There will also be presentations on compassion fatigue and conflict management, animal related grief and bereavement, the link between human and animal violence, and animal assisted interventions.

This Summit traditionally gathers an interdisciplinary group of animal-related professionals, social workers, and other human health and law professionals who strive to serve both humans and animals in the most effective ways possible. This years Summit theme touches the hearts and minds of all these professionals who have faced the sadness and challenge of animals and humans in need without the funds to resolve the need. It connects us all with the moral complexity of how to humanely handle this societal problem. This Summit will tackle this problem with innovative presentations and problem solving activities… all while having FUN if you can imagine!

This program was approved by the National Association of Social Workers – Tennessee Chapter (Provider Number: NASWTN 2018-0125) for 16.0 continuing education units.

Up to 15 CE credits for veterinarians.

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Summit Presentation Spotlight

Who Ya’ Gunna Call? Abuse Busters!
Speaker: Phil Arkow 
Social workers and veterinary professionals are continually relied upon to solve problems for their human and animal clients. Often the issues involve animal welfare challenges, from animal hoarding to animal cruelty, the resolution of which may be complex. The lack of a uniform systematic response to animal cruelty, combined with pervasively incomplete information on animal shelters’ websites, has been a barrier to the reporting of animal welfare issues. This workshop will review how animal abuse in its many forms is often linked to domestic violence, child maltreatment and elder abuse and present a new National Directory of Abuse Investigation Agencies that can serve as a valuable resource to help veterinary staff and social workers answer the critical question, “I want to help the animals but who should I call?”
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Veterinary Medicine as an Entry to Human Healthcare  
Speaker: Elizabeth Alvarez, DVM, DABVP (canine and feline practice), Ruthanne Chun, William Giles 
With the cost of veterinary medical care on the rise, it is no secret that pet owners in poverty are having an increasingly hard time accessing services for their animals. Though there are many programs in existence that work to provide some level of care, frequently these take the form of high-volume spay/neuter or “vaccine day” type services. While this approach serves a very important public healthcare need for companion animals, it is not a viable option for ongoing management of disease. Furthermore, programs that are looking to provide more ongoing disease management for patients living with families in poverty find a few unique questions and challenges when compared to traditional veterinary practice. And yet, this sort of interaction and ongoing relationship can provide some exciting options for furthering access to human healthcare and services. 
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It’s The Journey: Animal Assisted Play Therapy (TM) With Children Healing From Trauma and Homelessness
Speaker: Katharine Wenocur, DSW, LCSW, RPT, CAAPT
Over 2.5 million children under age eighteen are considered to be part of chronically homeless families in the United States (Bassuk, DeCandia, Beach & Berman, 2010). Child homelessness correlates with a wide range of challenges beyond a lack of stable housing; these include poor school performance, juvenile justice involvement, and higher rates of physical and mental health challenges (Brumley, Fantuzzo, Perlman, & Zager, 2010; Uretsky & Stone, 2016). Moreover, child homelessness is highly correlated with experiences of interpersonal violence and trauma, while engagement in trauma therapy tends to be low among this population (Herbers, Cutuli, Monn, Naryan and Masten, 2014; Thompson, McManus, & Voss, 2006). The challenges facing this population are significant, but a recent pilot study suggests that animal assisted therapy presents a novel approach to engaging homeless children in mental health treatment. 
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Compassion Fatigue: What it Is, What it Isn’t, and What Can Be Done
Speaker: Debbie Stoewen 
Compassion fatigue affects physical and mental health, professional competence and success, and vocational direction and development. Although the symptoms may be mild and considered the result of a stressful day, they can also be severe, additive, and potentially devastating, involving a cascade of adverse physiological, psychological, and interpersonal consequences. There are, however, a number of proactive strategies that can be employed to manage the consequences. Find out what compassion fatigue is, what it isn’t, and what you can do to sustain the heart of who you are!
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Job Opportunities 

UT VSW does not endorse or verify job openings. The below job openings are an opportunity for you, the applicant, to verify and research on your own, and are not reflective of the UT VSW Program. We try to share positings that are searching for a vatriety of professionals with different educational backgrounds.

Veterinary Social Worker
Latham, NY
Upstate Veterinary Specialties (UVS) is looking for a Social Worker to join its team! The Veterinary Social Worker will work closely with both clients and staff members and will be responsible for a variety of tasks, including but not limited to:

* Provide supportive counseling, grief support, and help with end-of-life decision-making.

* Work as a member of the multidisciplinary team to enhance client care.

* Provide consultation to staff regarding their interactions with complex client emotional needs. Facilitate debriefing sessions for staff individually or in groups.

* Offer presentations to staff regarding de-escalation techniques, compassion fatigue, burn out, effective communication skills and active listening techniques.

* Develop resources for clients and staff. Referral for outside services where necessary.

More Information
Animal Assisted Therapist
Hamilton, NJ

Position Summary: To provide high quality comprehensive clinical services as an Animal-Assisted Therapist that include:
*clinical triage 
*psychosocial evaluations
*group and family treatment
*treatment plan development and coordination
*referent relations
*discharge planning
*utilization management with insurance companies
*case management with social service support systems, schools and other relevant external entities.
The above services shall be provided under supervision of the appropriate clinical discipline. This position represents the Animal-Assisted Therapy Program through a variety of mechanisms including presentations, meetings with referral sources and interviews. The Animal –Assisted Therapist may provide services at multiple sites.

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Pet Loss Counselor 
Peabody, MA
Opportunity for a full time Grief Counselor or Pet Loss Counselor who is responsible for ensuring that services are executed to industry-leading standards. This individual will serve to provide:
*grief support for pet parents
*supervise crematory operations
*manage operating costs.
We want candidates who can genuinely demonstrate and communicate care and empathy about people and pets. If this sounds like a great fit for you, we encourage you to apply.
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Social Worker: Purdue Veterinary Medicine  
West Lafayette, IN 

The veterinary social work position is integrated into the Veterinary Teaching Hospital medical team, to:
* Facilitate client decision-making about their animals medical treatment, quality of life and end-of-life issues 
* Provides crisis intervention, brief counseling, and grief support for hospital clients
* Provides support, debriefing, consultation, and educational services related to client interactions and difficult medical situations to faculty, clinicians, staff and students
* Participates on committees as needed. 

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Counselor II/III-Student 
Auburn University
The Division of Student Affairs at Auburn University is seeking candidates for the position of Student Counselor in Student Counseling & Psychological Services. This is an embedded position and is housed in Auburn University's College of Veterinary Medicine (CVM). The CVM consists of 500 professional students, 110 graduate students (including interns and residents), 459 staff, and 117 faculty members. 

Entry into the applicant pool requires a Master's degree from an accredited institution in Education, Counseling, or relevant field (e.g., Psychology, Social Work, etc.) and two (2) years experience in providing counseling or psychological services. 

More Information

Contact Us

Veterinary Social Work Certificate Program
University of Tennessee
College of Veterinary Medicine
College of Social Work
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