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On Clinical Social Work: Meditations and Truths From the Field

1.13 LBS


Product Description


Now available in paperback and a beautiful hardcover gift edition.

Click here to order from Amazon

Also available from Barnes & Noble or other bookstores.

Through words and images, Dr. Danna Bodenheimer brings to life a wide range of realities for clinical social workers. Consider her a master teacher, supportive mentor, or caring friend--this volume of “meditations and truths” is her gift to you and to the social work profession she loves.

In her own gentle voice and conversational style, On Clinical Social Work is a collection of Bodenheimer’s writings and photographs. She encourages you to think critically about everything from assessment, diagnosis, intervention, and clinical supervision to the social worker’s internal world, anxieties, and self-care. She expounds on attachment and trauma in detail. She comments on current events and how they relate to the clinician’s work. Through it all, she weaves themes of social justice and an awareness of macro-level influences on clients’ lives.

Images from Dr. Bodenheimer’s daily self-care practice of photography offer a glimpse into her deep exploration into the details of both clients’ and clinical social workers’ everyday lives through the keen focus of her camera’s lens.

Building on her first book, Real World Clinical Social Work: Find Your Voice and Find Your Way, this volume shows you that you are not alone. All clinicians are seeking the “truth” about their work, and that is okay.

This beautiful, full-color, hardcover edition makes a beautiful gift for yourself, a student, or a colleague.



From the Foreword
"Danna pays attention to life’s details with a psychotherapist’s insight and writes about them with the passion of a slam poet. She speaks to the soul of social work and inspires us to think about more than just social work."
Jonathan B. Singer, Ph.D., LCSW
Associate Professor, Loyola University Chicago
Founder and host, Social Work Podcast

"I read Danna’s writing with excitement because I know that, in her reflections, I will find some of my own truths. I find myself thinking that we are so different from each other. After all, we are of different ages, races, sexual orientations, religions, family structures. Yet, I consistently find connection to her thoughts and feelings. Her writing is honest, passionate, and filled with wisdom."
Valerie Dorsey Allen, DSW, LSW
Director, African-American Resource Center
University Of Pennsylvania

"Dr. Bodenheimer writes not only about “how to” for social workers but also talks about the role of the social workers themselves. This emphasis on self reflection is often missing from treatment manuals."
Sean Erreger, LCSW
Stuck on Social Work Blog

"Dr. Bodenheimer’s book offers pearls of wisdom that all clinical social workers, ranging from novices to seasoned practitioners, can truly benefit from. I plan to include this book as recommended reading on the Advanced Social Work Practice [and] Leadership and Management course syllabi that I teach."
Jack B. Lewis, DSW, LCSW
Assistant Professor
Stockton University MSW Program



Foreword by Jonathan B. Singer


Introduction to the Essays

     Why I Believe New Social Workers Are a Gift

Introduction to the Photos    

PART 1: The Field and Its Stressors and Realities

1. Keeping the Clinical in Social Work

2. Negotiating Salary, Negotiating Worth

3. On Social Work Supervision

4. Scapegoats and the Social Work Workplace

5. What’s So Wrong With Social Work School?

6. Social Work Ethics in the Real World

7. Quit Your Social Work Job

8. Leaping Into Private Practice

PART 2: Attachment and Trauma

9. Twin Traumas

10. I Believe in Ghosts

11. Childism and Its Implications

12. Troubled Me, Troubled You

13. On the Orlando Mass Shootings and Beyond

14. Poverty as Trauma, Social Work as Cure

15. Deciphering Trauma

16. Emotional Acres of Land/Black Lives Matter

17. On Childhood Sexual Abuse

PART 3: Diagnosis and Beyond

18. The Chicken, the Egg, and the DSM

19. In the Realm of Personality Disorders

20. On Narcissism and Its Discontents

PART 4: Our Clinical-Internal Worlds

21. Can We Ever Take Our Hats Off?   

22. Stinging Stoicism

23. Invisible Bodies

24. The Anxious Social Work Mind: Part 1

25. The Anxious Social Work Mind: Part 2

26. An Enactment With Rice—Reflections on

          Lunch and Therapy

PART 5: On Theory

27. Joining the Chorus

28. Boundaries Versus the Super Ego

29. It’s Not You, It’s Me

30. On Couples

PART 6: Self-Care

31. Social Workers as Empaths, Small Talk,

        and Self Preservation

32. The Tyranny of Self Help or the Necessity

        of Existential Depression

33. Self-Care During Resolution Season

34. Art as Self-Care, the Art of Self-Care

35. Self-Care, Clients as Tenants, and Peer Support

PART 7: What To Do and How To Do It: The World of Assessment and Intervention

36. Alphabet Soup: EMDR, DBT, CBT, TF-CBT, IEP,


37. Questions That Deepen

38. Assessing Through a Kaleidoscope: Part 1

39. Assessing Through a Kaleidoscope: Part 2

40. Nothing But the Truth

41. Obscured Paths Toward Wellness

42. Tenderly Assessing Suicide

43. Rethinking Addiction Treatment

PART 8: Demystifying Dominant Tropes

44. The Myth of the Perfect Intervention

45. The Impostor Phenomenon and the Social Worker

46. On Grief and Its Permutations

47. Saying No to Gratitude and Forgiveness

PART 9: Clinical Social Justice, We Were Made for This

48. The Health of Trans People

49. The Mental Health of Trans People

50. What Really Triggers Us

51. When Everything Hurts

52. An Internal Home for the Holidays

53. Social Work as Moral Compass


About the Author


List of Photographs


Golden Hour

No Libs Art

Beach Glass

Reluctant Companions







Pink Tree






Yes, Ship


Reflecting Trees

Bird of Grief

Proper Graffiti


Other Details

Danna R. Bodenheimer
Jonathan B. Singer
Publication Date:

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