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"Feeling Dice"
A "feeling dice."

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Heather Kimball and Blossom   Heather Kimball hugs "Blossom" during the final day of SOWK 7223, Spring 2016.

Show & Tell: What brings you joy

Posted May 4, 2016
Reported by: Laurie Anderson,

Athens, Ga. - What better way to wrap up your final social work class than with a Show & Tell about what brings you joy? Dr. Jennifer Elkins invited students to bring something that related to stress reduction to the final day of her 2016 spring semester course Social Work Treatment with Groups (SOWK 7223). The result: students brought a baby, hula hoops, home-made snacks, five dogs and recordings of favorite songs. There was even dancing.

“We’d discussed the need for self-care,” said Elkins. “I told the students ‘When you talk about your dog in front of the class, pay attention to how you feel, because when you stop feeling that joy or passion, when you don’t enjoy play as much, it can be a sign of burnout. Knowing how to recognize the signs of burnout is an important part of self-care.”

Students also took turns tossing 'feeling dice' that challenged them to speak about their student experiences from different perspectives. The activity was modelled on a group therapy game used in trauma treatment for children and their parents.

Elkins’ class is one of several providing specialized training in behavioral health and social services, thanks to funding provided by the Health Resources Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Graduate students accepted into the program intern at agencies that provide treatment for families and youth dealing with mental illness, substance abuse, trauma and other issues, and take courses that emphasize interprofessional skills such as how to work with families in locating and coordinating appropriate types of health services.

Elkins’ class was the last one that many of the students would take prior to graduation. Elkins said she wanted “to remind students one last time that social work is both an art and a science. On the science side, it’s important to consider the evidence base about what’s effective in group work. On the art side, being creative and having fun in group work is important.”

“The HRSA placements can be extremely intense and stressful,” added Elkins, “so self-care strategies are particularly important.”

For more information about the HRSA program, contact Dr. Harold Briggs, (706) 542-5429 or