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March 2010
In This Issue...
Other Social Work News...

University on High Mental Health Alert After Apparent Suicides
According to The New York Times, Cornell University is aggressively reaching out to students in a suicide prevention effort following several student deaths.

Something to Smile About for People With SAD
According to the Chicago Tribune, regional court rulings are supporting employees who ask for workplace accommodations for seasonal affective disorder.

Psychiatrist, Social Worker Share 21 Years of Uninterrupted Marital Bliss
The Boston Globe interviews two mental health professionals who are sharing their secrets of a long-term successful marriage.

Mental Health Disaster Relief Not So Clear Cut
According to NPR, the mental health professionals who flock to Haiti to help heal the psychological trauma of disaster will encounter obstacles that trauma workers have faced since the Vietnam War.

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Editor’s E-Note

March is National Professional Social Work Month and Social Work Today
joins in the celebration and honoring of the critically important work of social workers in hospitals, schools, government agencies, nursing homes, mental health and substance abuse facilities and many other settings too numerous to mention here.
Social workers are the largest group of mental health providers in the nation. Mental health services are provided in all of the settings listed above and more and also in the offices of private practitioners. Our E-news Exclusive is written by one of those social workers who has worked with individuals and couples in private practice for decades.

Let’s say first instead of last that we always welcome your comments and feedback on all of our content, but before you react to this month’s E-News Exclusive, here is a brief disclaimer.

The article is written by an experienced psychotherapist who has seen hundreds of women individually and with their male partners over many years of practice. It is based on her observations and work with women partnered with men or who wish to partner with men. She shares her analysis of how the culturally reinforced fantasies of male/female romantic love have influenced them and fostered unrealistic visions of how relationships work.

Keeping in mind the social work sensitivity to inclusiveness and gender-neutral language, the discussion of whether these culturally supported ideals influence or have influenced lesbian, bisexual, or transgender women is beyond the scope of this article—but may be an interesting topic for someone to explore.

This article also excludes situations in which there is serious psychopathology in one or both of the partners, such as borderline personality disorder or schizophrenia.

The article is not a research-based piece but a reflection of the knowledge, training, and experience of a skilled psychotherapist who is also a social worker with a strengths-based approach and a vision and techniques that have worked … and we think that is still quite valuable!

We hope the article stimulates and informs.

Enjoy, and as always, let us know what you think.

— Marianne Mallon, editor

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E-News Exclusive

The Collective Delusion of Romantic Love in Women
By Sally B. Watkins, MSW, LCSW

There is a subtle way that both women and men are victimized by the culture, a phenomenon so endemic that most of us have been blind to it. It is the fantasy relationship, the love between soul mates, the fairy-tale promise of happily ever after.

As women have progressively become independent and have managed to support themselves and even bear and raise children alone, the hype about love and its lure seems to have increased. Romance novels and women’s fiction are produced and read in huge numbers. Movies, soap operas, and TV sitcoms have as their themes the striving for relationship fulfillment with its multiple struggles and blissful successes. All the Disney movies and the classical fairy tales from which they are derived have as their central focus the relationship of the youthful protagonists. The perfect connection springs forth instantly and effortlessly by finding the right man and makes for ecstatic happiness ever after.

Full Story »

Recently in Social Work Today

Respecting Boundaries — The Don’ts of Dual Relationships
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Cystic Fibrosis Social Work — Support on a Changing Journey
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