Conference Agenda

Overview and details of the sessions of this conference. Please select a date or location to show only sessions at that day or location. Please select a single session for detailed view (with abstracts and downloads if available).

Please note that all times are shown in the time zone of the conference. The current conference time is: 27th Jan 2022, 04:48:31am EET

Session Overview
Workshops 24-25: The Natural World as a Healing Factor in Social Work Practice with Individuals and Groups; The Nine Genders
Friday, 18/June/2021:
3:30pm - 5:00pm

Location: Parallel Session 4

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The Natural World as a Healing Factor in Social Work Practice with Individuals and Groups

Michelle Willoughby

New York University, United States of America

Social work practice must broaden the understanding of a person’s environment to include the natural world. Ecosocial work asserts that the human environment is inclusive of the natural world, and acknowledges the interconnectedness of humans and nature. Research has indicated that the natural world can act as a healing factor for physical and mental health. Persons impacted by trauma may find restorative benefits through contact with animals and nature. Viewing nature has been found to be beneficial for persons impacted by physical pain. Biophilia and deep ecology can be integrated into social work practice with individuals and groups to encourage connections with nature. E.O. Wilson described biophilia as humans’ innate tendency to connect with nature. Using a biophilia framework, social workers can incorporate nature into practice. The Norwegian philosopher, Arne Naess’ development of deep ecology provides a framework for social workers to integrate environmental concerns into social work practice. Deep ecology is a rejection of anthropocentrism and addresses the interconnectivity of the natural world. It is the aim of this workshop for social work practitioners to increase their knowledge of ecosocial work, biophilia and deep ecology, and how these terms enrich social work practice. Steps to take to enhance social work practice will be addressed include participation in green spaces, creation of biophilic spaces, and supporting urban community gardens. This workshop will address how to incorporate nature into direct work with individuals and groups. Elements of nature can be added in intervention spaces with clients such as plants and pictures of nature. Direct practice should include space to discuss the client’s relationship with nature including plants and animals. Research has demonstrated the healing benefits of animal assisted therapies. The workshop aims to provide guidance on how to address the interconnectedness of an individual or group to the natural world in direct practice. Human well-being is connected to our awareness of our surrounding natural environment. The more we establish an affinity to our surrounding natural environment the more we will be moved to care for it.

The Nine Genders

Michael R H Parsons1, Gayle Pruden2

1Canadian Aboriginal AIDS Network, Canada; 2Canadian Aboriginal AIDS Network, Canada

Gender is one of the most influential determinants of health internationally recognized, and gender roles—what a person says and does to assert whether they are male, female, Two Spirit etc. — can affect their health. Evidence increasingly demonstrates that social work interventions—including health promotion—are more effective if they are designed with gender in mind. (Denton, Prus, & Walters, 2004).

Drawing on critically reflexive Social Work, our workshop will be modeled after a traditional teaching circle—a wholistic approach to learning that uses Indigenous knowledge, literature and scholarship and is informed by land-based education. Further, our theoretical background, Indigegogy engages Indigenous methodology such as circle work and lifts up traditional teachings, ceremonies and practices.

The goal of this workshop is to introduce the concept of Nine Genders and the practice of Circle Work to practitioners of Social Work. Circles are wholistic in that no one who participates and/or shares in the circle is above or below anyone else. As one person speaks, they pass on knowledge to other people participating in the Circle

Our workshop will begin by sharing the Nine Genders teachings in order to orient workshop participants to the concept and teachings. The example of Nine Gender application will be offered and some workshop participants will be invited to share their stories that can be connected to the teachings of Nine Genders.

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