This month we want to take time to reflect on the progress we have made as mental health professionals and also the steps we need to continue taking.
Steps to take this month to become more aware and take action:
Click here to review the fact sheet from the US Department of Health and Human Services:
Click here to download the NAMI Partner Guide
Review our Community Events tab to see NAMI events going on this month
Click here to become a member today to be part of a network of social workers, stay up to day on advocacy events, and receive free CEUs,
Share your story. We would love to hear your story. Comment and tell us about your journey!
Recently there were revisions to the DSM-5. The American Psychiatric Association posted helpful fact sheets to assist with understanding the updates. Please review the updates from the fact sheet Making a Case for New Disorders:
Many of the diagnostic criteria sets included in the upcoming text revision of the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5-TR) are largely unchanged from DSM-5, but DSM-5-TR includes some changes such as the addition of a new disorder (prolonged grief disorder) and revised criteria sets for 70 disorders. The multilevel review process underlying such decisions was rigorous and deliberative.
The Big Picture
The text revision scope did not include major changes to the criteria sets or to other DSM-5 constructs. However, the need to make changes in certain diagnostic criteria sets for the purpose of clarification became apparent in conjunction with the text updates made across the manual. Because the conceptual constructs of the criteria are unchanged, the criteria sets in DSM-5-TR that had their origins in DSM-5 are still referred to as “DSM-5-criteria.” The new diagnostic entity “prolonged grief disorder” is referred to as a DSM-5-TR disorder, because of its addition in this volume. Proposals for changes in diagnostic criteria or specifier definitions that were a result of the text revision process were reviewed and approved by the DSM Steering Committee, as well as the APA Assembly and Board of Trustees, as part of the DSM-5 Iterative Revision process.
Some of the most significant changes include:
• Prolonged grief disorder is a new diagnosis in DSM-5-TR, characterized by distressing symptoms of grief that continue for at least 12 months following the loss of a person who was close to the bereaved. The grief response is characterized by intense longing for the deceased person and/or preoccupation with thoughts and memories of the lost person, along with other grief-related symptoms such as emotional numbness, intense emotional pain, and avoidance of reminders thatthe person is deceased. These symptoms are severe enough to cause impairment in daily functioning. The duration and severity of the bereavement reaction clearly exceed expected social, cultural, or religious norms for the individual’s culture and context.
• Unspecified mood disorder is a newly added category. It applies to presentations in which symptoms characteristic of a mood disorder that cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning predominate. However, at the time of the evaluation, they do not meet the full criteria for any of the disorders in either the bipolar or the depressive disorders diagnostic classes and it is difficult to choose between unspecified bipolar and related disorder and unspecified depressive disorder.
• Stimulant-induced mild neurocognitive disorder has been added to the existing types of substance-induced mild neurocognitive disorders such as alcohol, inhalants, and sedative, hypnotics or anxiolytic substances.
• Suicidal behavior and nonsuicidal self-injury: ICD-10-CM codes for suicidal behavior and nonsuicidal self-injury have been added to the chapter Other Conditions that May Be A Focus of Clinical Attention. These codes will allow the clinician to record these clinically important behaviors independent of any psychiatric diagnosis.
• Changes to autism spectrum disorder criterion A: Criterion A phrase “as manifested by the following” was revised to “as manifested by all of the following.” To clarify the intended meaning since the intention of the DSM-5 workgroup was always to maintain a high diagnostic threshold by requiring all three of the following criteria.
• Changes in severity specifiers for manic episodes: The severity specifiers from DSM-IV have been readopted in DSM-5-TR: “mild” if only minimum symptom criteria are met; “moderate” if there is a significant increase in activity or impairment in judgment, and “severe” if almost continual supervision is required. The decision to use them stemmed from the fact that the “mild” severity specifier for manic episodes (few, if any, symptoms in excess of required threshold; distressing but manageable symptoms; and the symptoms result in minor impairment in social or occupational functioning) was inconsistent with manic episode criterion C which requires that the mood disturbance be sufficiently severe to cause marked impairment in social or occupational functioning; necessitate hospitalization; or include psychotic features.
• Addition of course specifiers to adjustment disorder: Duration of symptom specifiers were inadvertently left out of DSM-5 and have been reinstated in DSM-5-TR: “acute” if symptoms have persisted for less than 6 months, and “persistent” if symptoms have persisted for 6 months or longer after the termination of the stressors or its consequences.
• Changes to delirium criterion A: Delirium criterion A has been reformulated to avoid using “orientation,” the reason for the change is that the previous characterization of the awareness component as “reduced orientation to the environment” was confusing given that “disorientation” already appears as one of the “additional disturbances in cognition” listed in criterion C.
More information regarding the updates can be found at
Let us know your thoughts on the udpates by commenting below!
Tuesday, March 1, 2022
This statement is being written on behalf of the Kentucky Society for Clinical Social Work. We
adamantly endorse HB 12 and SB 137 Youth Mental Health Protection Act. Conversion therapy
is a form of torture that inflicts significant harm upon youth. Per the American Psychological
Association, scientifically valid research has indicated that sexual orientation change efforts
(SOCEs) are NOT able to reduce same-sex attractions or increase other-sex attractions.
Homosexuality and gender diverse identities are not pathological and do not require intervention.
There is evidence that conversion therapy can actually increase the risk of causing or
exacerbating mental health issues in youth.
Our primary mission as social workers, as stated in our code of ethics, is to “enhance human
well-being and help meet the basic human needs of all people, with particular attention to the
needs and empowerment of people who are vulnerable, oppressed, and living in poverty”.
Conversion therapy is therefore in direct conflict with the most basic tenets of the mission of
Hello, I hope everyone is having a great day.
It’s been about a year since the passing of Breonna Taylor. Many are still mourning her loss and what her family has had to go through. Even though, justice may not have quite been served for Breonna Taylor. Breonna’s family has been fighting for policy changes and advocating for there to be no more no-knock warrants in the city of Louisville. As a result, they were successful and the Louisville, KY, Metro Council passed “Breonna’s Law” unanimously.
This was a big step and will hopefully lead to no more situations like Breonnas in the city of Louisville, KY. However, as a state we could do so much more to support Breonna Taylor’s family. Last year, House Bill 21 (Breonna’s Law) was introduced and sponsored by 16 democrats. Furthermore, if this bill becomes a law in the state of Kentucky, police officers will be required to have a search warrant and physically knock on a door before entering the premises when executing a search warrant. Additionally, police officers will have to announce themselves in a manner that can be heard by the occupants. Also, House Bill 21 requires all police officers that are present in the execution of a search warrant to wear operating body-worn cameras (these body cameras must be on 5 minutes prior to knocking on a resident’s door).
Recently, this bill just went from the Judiciary to be posted in the committee. It has yet to be voted on, however, time is running out to pass this bill in this cycle. Some of the representatives in the House Standing Committee Judiciary include Ed Massey (Chair), Kim Banta (Vice Chair), Kevin Bratcher, McKenzie Cantrell, Nima Kulkarni and Chad McCoy.
Here is a link to contact legislators in the house that will be voting on this bill https://legislature.ky.gov/Committees/Pages/Committee-Details.aspx?CommitteeRSN=92&CommitteeType=House%20Standing%20Committee.
This is a policy I believe we all should support and push our legislators to pass. Moreover, I think this bill helps police officers be held more accountable and will reduce, if not stop, similar tragedies from occurring here in Kentucky. So let’s keep up the fight for justice and equality everyone.
Titus Covington, Advocacy Committee Member
Social work month has me thinking again about our ethical obligation to be advocates. We read the Color of Law: A Forgotten History of how our Government Segregated America by Richard Rothstien last month for the KSCSW Book Club. It brought forth a new kind of knowing for me, about the persistent, insidious ways that racism has harmed generations in every possible way. And now that we know about the injustice in more detail….I can’t stop thinking about what can we do. If we do nothing, are we condoning it in any way?
I was pleased to see that Lexington has invited this author to a Zoom event where a brief film about his work will be viewed and then a community discussion. Maybe that is the next thing we can do, to keep learning and growing and practicing awareness of racism in our lives and work.
“The good we secure for ourselves is precarious and uncertain until it is secured for all of us and incorporated into our common life.”
― Jane Addams
I am applying for the Pat Callahan scholarship because it would allow me to more deeply pursue trainings in my two passions—clinical supervision and Antiracism—and to share the knowledge gained with not only my supervisees but with several groups in the hospital at large and in the community.
Social work, at its most fundamental core, is about social change and social justice. This is what sets our discipline aside from other, more individually-focused, clinical disciplines. Although perhaps one of the most diverse fields in terms of career opportunities and types of micro, mezzo, and macro practice, the one thread that must connect our work is that of advancing the common good, particularly through fighting for an end to oppression and serving those who are most marginalized in our society. This is our history, our Code, and our ultimate purpose. Whether working with individual clients in a traditional outpatient or private practice setting or at the larger policy and advocacy level, social justice and social change must be at the forefront of our approach.
I have long felt that social work was a vocation, an identity, not simply a career. Social justice, however, was not necessarily in the forefront of my mind as I pursued my passion of becoming a clinical therapist early on in my career; rather, I wanted to help others achieve greater insight into themselves and to heal broken relationships. In some ways, a social work degree was a means to an end at first—a way to get most quickly to my end goal of working with individuals and families in healing their various psychic and relational woes. In my master’s program at Syracuse University, I was drawn to the theoretical focus of family systems theory, and of larger systems theory, which recognizes that everything is connected and that one small change can affect the larger whole; whether in a family or in an entire ecosystem or culture. Over the years I have combined a systems approach with that of dialectical behavior therapy and trauma-informed care.
Of course I knew that part of achieving independent licensure would mean being under clinical supervision. However, I had really only thought of clinical supervision in the abstract, and did not fully appreciate the nature of this relationship that combines mentoring with teaching, support, and modeling, until I was in clinical supervision myself for three years at a community-based outpatient mental health clinic in Syracuse. I came away from this experience knowing what worked (and what didn’t work) in terms of clinical supervision, and knowing without a doubt that part of my calling was to be a clinical supervisor one day, and that being a clinical supervisor as a way for me to help shape the social workers of the future and the profession as a whole. I wanted the opportunity to support and guide others in the way I had been supported and guided, particularly through a systems-oriented approach with a focus on individuals and their families. I also worked with many indigent and lower income clients at this clinic, and developed an appreciation for the particular responsibility of clinical social workers to provide services to these individuals, not just those who can afford higher quality care.
It was not until I became a social worker at Eastern State Hospital (ESH) that I began to fully recognize my distinct identity as a social worker, not just a therapist who happens to be a social worker. Working as part of an interdisciplinary team was both challenging and thrilling—learning to recognize different perspectives and to resolve disagreements regarding patient care helped me to begin to find my unique social work voice. Whereas psychology tends to focus on testing and individual therapy, and psychiatry and nursing focus on diagnosis, medications, and medical issues, our role as a unit social worker is diverse and holistic. We provide not only individual supportive interventions to patients, but we also act as a liaison with their families and community supports, a task that is often identified as the most challenging by ESH social workers as this involves lots of often intense and conflictual meetings and phone conversations. What I loved most about working with families was the opportunity to provide them with support and education about mental illness, and my training in family systems gave me a unique ability to connect family wellness with the patient’s overall outcomes. I also had the opportunity to work with individuals with serious mental illness for the first time, a population that I quickly became passionate about. Individuals with mental illness are perhaps some of the most vulnerable, marginalized, forgotten people in our society. I realized early on the need to not only work with patients on various coping skills and individual interventions, but to advocate for better services and supports in the community and our system at large.
For the past seven years, I have provided individual supervision to CSW-level social workers. I also began leading one of our clinical supervision groups about two years ago. Helping social workers develop their own clinical skills, supporting them in the sometimes intense and high-stress environment of inpatient psychiatric care, and guiding them in discerning their own vocation is rewarding beyond measure. I take the responsibility very seriously, and my husband can tell you there have been many after-work conversations and even a few sleepless nights involving my responsibility to my supervisees. Perhaps in part because of the level of accountability to the profession and the need for additional support, I formed a clinical supervisor “Supervision of Supervision” group in November 2018. The goal of this group was to provide a space for clinical supervisors at Eastern State to support one another and to identify best practices for clinical supervision. We presented at Eastern State’s Research and Practice day in 2019, at UK’s quality forum that same year, and our project poster was also accepted for the 2020 NASW conference (unfortunately we were unable to attend due to COVID). I am incredibly excited that we have most recently partnered with the KSCSW to develop the revised curriculum for the Board of Social Work LCSW Supervisor continuing education course, and we have been able to share much of what we have learned in that group and through that curriculum.
As a clinical social work supervisor, my philosophy has evolved over the past several years but has continued to incorporate elements of systems theory and a developmental framework for clinical supervision. Perhaps one of the most significant evolutions, however, has occurred over the past seven months, since the killing of George Floyd and the subsequent uprising and increased awareness of systemic racism through the Black Lives Matter movement and protests. This was not the first time I had become aware of racism, white supremacy, and violence, but it served as a call to action in our larger society and in my immediate surroundings. I recognized the ethical duty as a social worker to become involved in supporting this movement, and began to search for ways to incorporate an antiracist framework into clinical supervision practice. The antiracism framework goes beyond changing individual hearts and minds toward the need for structural and systemic changes to promote greater equity and equality for all—a philosophy very much in line with the values and ethics of social work.
Over the past several months, I have become involved in our hospital’s Healthcare Inclusivity Committee and actively participate in a working group that is developing an Antiracism Initiative at Eastern State. As part of my role in that working group, I am Eastern State’s liaison in a bi-weekly community of practice learning collaborative with Western State and Central State Hospitals facilitated by our policy advisor, Rashaad Abdur-Rahman, at the Department for Behavioral Health. I am also assisting in an initiative to address race-based trauma for direct care staff of color and improving our training and support when race-based incidents occur with staff and patients. I have been challenged to go outside my comfort zone of clinical practice toward more organizational change and macro-level approaches; however, my clinical experience informs the structural changes needed in that systems theory is the bridge between micro, mezzo, and macro-level approaches.
As a clinical supervisor, I have implemented an antiracism and race-based trauma framework in both group and individual supervision. In group, we read the book White Fragility and had weekly discussions for several months that involved dismantling white privilege and recognizing our responsibility as social workers to fight for more equitable structures. I also invited Mr. Abdur-Rahman to teach an Antiracism continuing education lunch and learn course for Eastern State in partnership with the Kentucky chapter of the NASW. In individual supervision, I have assigned the Social Work Code of Ethics as a homework reading on more than one occasion, and have used this framework and other readings to guide discussions about social justice, social change, and the responsibility for social workers to be involved in change at a systemic level, even as supervisees are working toward independent clinical practice. I have broadened my trauma-informed approach to include race-based trauma specifically.
If awarded the Pat Callahan scholarship, I would use the money toward trainings aimed at uniting my two passions—clinical social work supervision and Antiracism. This would include trainings such as “Antiracism and Multicultural Practices in Clinical Supervision,” offered by the NYU School of Social Work, race-based trauma trainings, and “Cultural Humility and Supervision,” offered by The Bridge Training Institute. I would bring the knowledge I have gained to our Supervision of Supervision group so that I would not only benefit, but all the clinical supervisors and their supervisees at Eastern State. These trainings would continue to inform and energize my efforts to bring about antiracist changes at ESH. Expertise gained could also be incorporated into the LCSW Supervision continuing education course through our collaborative with the KSCSW. In short, the work doesn’t end with me.
As Jane Addams aptly states in the quote at the beginning of this essay, I believe that the good of one individual is only as good as the welfare of all, and that fighting for an end to oppression and systemic injustice is one of many ways in which social workers contribute to the common good. Without this framework, we lose who we are as social workers. Thank you so very much for the opportunity to apply for this scholarship and to share my ongoing growth as a social worker and clinical supervisor.
I hope this message helps inform people about their voting options here in Kentucky.
I am writing to you all on the behalf of the KSCSW Advocacy Committee.
I hope everyone is registered to vote and plans to do so. Registration closed last week on October the 5th. As you all know this is a big election year for Americans and Kentuckians in general.
Voting is essential and should be the right of every citizen in the United States. It’s a great way to let your voices be heard and to make real change. If you feel like your voice is not being heard or if a particular candidate doesn’t support your interests. Then, you should vote to remove them from office. Additionally, if you believe you can promote your community and make crucial changes in the government you should consider running for office. There have been numerous seasoned political candidates (over the last 3 years) that were challenged, defeated, and upsetted by new candidates.
There are multiple local elections here in the state of Kentucky. For instance, Senator Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a seasoned candidate who has been in office for 36 years. He is running for re-election this November against Amy McGrath (and two other candidates) a democrat from Edgewood, Kentucky. Another big local election is the Kentucky Supreme Court 7th District. The two candidates running for this position are Robert Conley who is a judge for the Kentucky 20th Circuit Court and Chris Harris (a democrat) who is a member of the Kentucky House of Representatives, representing District 93.
There are also elections for the U.S. House, State Senate, State House etc. To find out more information concerning the elections coming up and the candidates running check out this website: https://ballotpedia.org/Kentucky.
Furthermore, early voting here in Kentucky starts on Tuesday, October the 13th. Additionally, the times you can vote are Monday thru Friday 8:30 am to 4:00 pm and Saturdays 9:00 am to 1:00 pm. Some of these places include Northside Branch Library, Dunbar Center, and BCTC Leestown Campus. If you plan on voting by absentee ballot or by mail-in ballot make sure to follow all the rules and instructions so your vote is counted and not sent back to you. Also, I’m pretty sure you have to sign it. There are multiple sights in town to vote early. Here is a link/ website to check out where you can vote early at
Make sure you all have masks and possibly gloves on (or sanitize/wash your hands immediately after voting in-person) if you plan to early vote at one of these sights. Stay safe everyone.
Titus Covington, Advocacy Committee Member Kentucky Society for Clinical Social Work
Internet Presencing Essentials V3.5 For Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) Professionals
We hope this message finds you well!
I am writing you on behalf of the Kentucky Board of Social Work. You are receiving this message because you hold a social work license in Kentucky.
As is always the case, we are in the process of reviewing our regulatory protocols related to the practice of social work in Kentucky. One area of particular focus for this review is the required supervision hours/time associated with eligibility to sit for the Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) exam.
As you may know, eligibility to sit for the LCSW exam requires 200 hours of clinical supervision and two (2) years post-CSW clinical experience. Due to a number of issues, many related to market- based factors, we are currently reviewing these standards. As such, WE NEED TO HEAR FROM YOU.
Please take a few minutes to respond to the questionnaire below! We will use YOUR insight to make informed decision related to any proposed regulatory changes.
PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS SURVEY IS ONLY FOR INDIVIDUALS HOLDING A CSW OR LCSW.
All responses are anonymous and no individual information will be used.
Thanks for everything that you do! We look forward to hearing from you!
You can access the questionnaire by clicking this link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/ClinicalSupervisionKBSW.
Jay Miller, Chairperson
KY Board of Social Work
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.