Benefits of Membership
Annual ISCSW membership fee includes:
Why Join a Professional Organization?
Note: This piece was written by Charles Pohl, current Board Member and a founding member of the Idaho Society for Clinical Social Work. Charlie has been a lifelong member of and leader for our society. Charlie - thanks for all you have done for ISCSW and for our profession!
Professionals often wonder why they should join a professional association considering the time and expense involved. For openers, they shouldn’t, as it isn’t a matter of what “should” be done; it is a matter of how that makes a difference in enhancing their individual practice, how it aids in developing the identity of clinical social workers, and how it assists to advance their careers and the value of the profession.
Clinical Practice: by connecting with other social workers, participation expands the understanding of clinical practice in both ones particular area of clinical engagement and having an appreciation for other lines of clinical practice.
Professional Identity Development: Relationally engaging with other social workers aids social workers in appreciating how other clinicians talk about professional issues, what topics are most actively on people’s minds and how we as social workers consider the impacts of the social and political worlds as well as the impacts of the economic realities that we and our clients face; it adds a social work perspective.
Career Advancement: One of the issues that social workers don’t like to talk about, because of the sniff of aggression (an oft maligned word I can address in another sphere) inherent in it, is competition; yet competition abounds. (I once asked a fieldwork class I was teaching if they were “competitive” which everyone sharply denied. However I then noted their academic achievements and all the energy and time that went in to putting their best foot forward to gain admission to graduate school noting that there were other applicants whose dreams they had crushed by competing more effectively for a slot. It was a sobering moment!). When we apply for jobs, how do we present our strengths and how do they help us stack up against other social workers and counselors applying for the same positions?
Everyone knows how much you learn by teaching and the enhanced esteem gained in the professional community. This is another way to develop expertise and be recognized in the community for your expertise.
This isn’t as hard as it sounds as there are many formats for slowly building your presentation skills. We can develop panel discussions where a number of clinicians present short pieces on a particular theme or topic. There are many formats that ease the transition from clinician to presenter eg, to read and present on a professional article, book or workshop you have read or attended to generate a discussion. We are here to help you if you have ideas you would like to pursue.
The sky is the limit with the possibilities that your active participation in ISCSW can help create for us all.