Since being diagnosed with cancer in 2010, a key question Becky Ellison seeks to live by is: "If I had one more minute and I wanted to live it like God wanted me to live it, what would that look like?"
For Ellison, part of that answer involves those who lead two key ministries to hurting people across Texas -- Christian Women's Job Corps and Christian Men's Job Corps.
Ellison, who holds bachelor's and master's degrees in social work from Baylor University, has been involved in CWJC/CMJC ministries for 14 years. She began serving as a contract consultant with Woman's Missionary Union of Texas in 2008. Six years later -- and four years after her diagnosis -- she was invited to serve as the state WMU's full-time CWJC/CMJC strategist, consulting with 56 ministry sites throughout Texas.
When Bretzlaff-Holstein, Baylor MSW, '06, talks to students about doing family assessments, she includes companion animals.
“I’m really kind-of talking to them about the human-animal bond and why that is important as social workers to pay attention to, to not minimize a client’s love for their dog,” said Bretzlaff-Holstein. “If you have a family who is wanting to put an older relative into a nursing home because they can no longer care for themselves, but they are resistant to that, part of the social worker’s assessment would be to find out what’s going on. Is it money, is it the particular place or is it because the place won’t allow the cat to come with?”
Bretzlaff-Holstein acknowledges the social work bachelor’s degree program at the college in Palos Heights focuses on training future generalist practitioners, rather than offering a specialty in humane education. But she has found ways to weave human and animal rights into to her lectures, as well as respect for the environment.
Podcasting … a seemingly vast and overwhelming realm of possibilities. Any topic one might be interested in is probably available via a podcast, from politics to polar ice caps and everything in between … including mental health. Podcasting is a valuable tool in the mental health care arsenal. Podcasts provide educational opportunities for both those experiencing mental health issues and those wanting to learn more about how to help people cope with and thrive through those issues.
To that end, our own Dr. Holly Oxhandler, associate dean of research at the Garland School of Social Work, is now co-hosting “CXMH: A Podcast on Faith and Mental Health”. According to its creator, Robert Vore, CXMH is at the intersection of faith and mental health, bringing Christian leaders and mental health professionals together for “honest conversations”.
In this important episode, Robert Vote and Dr. Holly Oxhandler talk with Dr. David Pooler, who has done extensive research talking with survivors of sexual abuse perpetrated by faith leaders. Dr. Pooler talks us through the survivors’ experiences within their churches (largely bad), as well as those survivors’ suggestions for preventing abuse, being prepared to respond, helping the victims find healing, and helping the congregation find healing.