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SaraKay Smullens

SaraKay Smullens

SaraKay Smullens, MSW, LCSW, DCSW, CGP, CFLE, BCD, whose private and pro bono clinical social work practice is in Philadelphia, is a certified group psychotherapist and family life educator. She is a recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award (2004) and the Social Worker of the Year (2018) from the Pennsylvania chapter of NASW, and the 2013 NASW Media Award for Best Article. In 2018, she was one of five graduates of the University of Pennsylvania School of Social Policy and Practice selected for the school's inaugural Hall of Fame. SaraKay is the author of Whoever Said Life Is Fair, Setting YourSelf Free, and Burnout and Self-Care in Social Work. Her writing has been published in peer-reviewed journals, newspapers, and blogs. SaraKay's professional life continues to be devoted to highlighting destructive societal forces through communication, advocacy and activism. Read more about her work at SaraKaySmullens.com.

Film review: Adolescent and teen clients convinced me that I was wrong in my pre-judgment of Joker. The film exposes truths about the emotionally victimized and our country’s cruel and inadequate mental health awareness, services, and systems. Read more

Reviews & Commentary

Billi and her family go to Changchun, under the guise of a family wedding, not letting on to their matriarch that she only has a short time to live. Review of "The Farewell" by SaraKay Smullens. Read more

Reviews & Commentary

Film review of "The Public." Homeless patrons stage a sit-in in a public library to get out of the extreme cold conditions outside. Read more

Reviews & Commentary

A 2-hour documentary that premiered May 7, 2019, during National Foster Care Awareness Month, the film "Foster" centers on the Los Angeles Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS), the largest county child protection agency in the U.S. Read more

Reviews & Commentary

The college admissions scandal brings attention to a pervasive issue - that of parents' inability to understand the importance of letting go. This article looks at six detrimental parenting patterns and addressing them in social work practice. Read more

Practice 1 Comments

The characters in Shoplifters will continue to live with you. They can never be forgotten. The enormity of all they teach, now and upon reflection, is incalculable. Read more

Reviews & Commentary

The film Beautiful Boy provides a real and raw portrayal of a father and son’s descent into the ravages of the son's addiction to drugs. It also provides important avenues for social workers to discuss addiction issues. Read more

Reviews & Commentary

Two films, "Boy Erased" and "The Miseducation of Cameron Post," expose harm of conversion therapy, or efforts to change a person's sexual orientation. SaraKay Smullens provides commentary on the films and history of these practices. Read more

Reviews & Commentary 5 Comments

Lady Gaga's star ascends in A Star Is Born, and her journey has only begun. SaraKay Smullens looks at the person and the film with a social worker's eye. Read more

Reviews & Commentary

Movie review - In "The Children Act," a family court judge makes critical decisions. The pain and danger inflicted by a lack of self-awareness and reflection make The Children Act a difficult but important film to experience. Read more

Reviews & Commentary

SaraKay Smullens' review of "Leave No Trace" focuses on the social work skills of one unnamed character in the film. Read more

Reviews & Commentary

Review of “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” - the documentary film that tells the story of Fred Rogers, beloved host of the TV show Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood. Read more

Reviews & Commentary

"The Tale," premiering on HBO on May 26, 2018, tells the true story of filmmaker Jennifer Fox's coming to terms with her childhood sexual abuse. Read more

Reviews & Commentary

In the film Phantom Thread, the symbolism of hidden messages mirrors social workers' professional challenges. Read more

Reviews & Commentary 1 Comments

When the Directors Guild of America and the Producers Guild of America chose Guillermo del Toro as their top guy and “The Shape of Water” led the Oscar race with 13 nominations, it was time to see what I had missed. It turns out to be a great deal. Read more

Reviews & Commentary

The award-winning Amazon original series, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, concentrates on universal challenges social workers know well—separation from parents, individuation, marital fulfillment, professional direction, and balancing of responsibilities. Read more

Reviews & Commentary 1 Comments

In past two years, I have developed a new way of working with clients who suffer from burnout. It is a short-term, highly focused interactive process based on the development of what can best be described as a trusted “emotional sense of direction. Read more

Practice

The reason I am so delighted to be a social worker is pride in our commitments, our extraordinary history, and all of the remarkable leaders, from our beginning through the years, who have never given up keeping the hope of our profession alive. Read more

Social Work Month 2015

Book review of Burnout and Self-Care in Social Work by SaraKay Smullens, reviewed by Karen Zellmann. Read more

Reviews & Commentary

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