Deanna Barry graduated in 2017 with her MSW and a certificate in Applied Arts and Social Justice (AASJ). She currently lives in Portland, Maine, where she works as a School-Based Clinician through Sweetser providing clinical therapy services to middle school students at Brunswick Junior High School
Did you know Sweetser Employees receive a 30% Tuition Reduction to UNE’s MSW Program? Learn more HERE
How are you using what you learned at UNE in your current practice?
I am using everything! After graduation I started my social work career in the domestic violence field where I used a macro lens to provide violence prevention education to elementary, middle, and high school students, as well as provide crisis support to victims. UNE taught me how to work directly with clients, as well as how to build relationships with the community. I am now practicing on the micro/mezzo level by working directly with clients. UNE gave me the skills to provide that type of direct care while also making sure to coordinate services between the other providers in the school, their families, and outside services. One of the most important things UNE taught me was about the importance of interdisciplinary collaboration/coordination of services in order to serve the whole person in their environment.
Learn more HERE about all the interprofessional opportunities available to you at UNE
What did you find most inspiring about your education at UNE?
What I found most exciting was the ability to incorporate art into my social practice and theory through the Applied Arts and Social Justice (AASJ) certificate. Below is a sample activity of how I’ve woven art into my current practice:
Is there anything you’ve been surprised by in entering the Field of Social Work?
The respect social workers are given by other health professionals. There are so many stereotypes about social workers and the work we do, it was nice to experience/realize/see how respected and valued we are by nurses, doctors, teachers, police officers, etc.
How has COVID19 Impacted your work?
Immensely—when I was still doing Domestic Violence work, we moved to entirely remote work. I was facilitating all of my prevention education classes virtually. For my school-based work, I’m doing a combination of telehealth and in person. Below is a sample activity I did to keep the children connected and engaged with one another:
When COVID-19 hit our communities, we all had to find new ways to stay engaged and connected to each other. Over the course of the summer, I assembled weekly “go” bags for children in the 6 towns my agency served. These bags contained various art projects and activities, one of which was “Empowering Plants.” The kids were asked to write a quality they loved about themselves on their cups, and then plant a few flower seeds. Just like plants, we all need love and care to grow!
If you could share advice to incoming MSW students, what would it be?
My biggest piece of advice to new students is to trust yourself and follow your passion. So often we are controlled and influenced by ideas of who or what we think we should be, and what type of social work we should practice. Social workers do this work because we care, because our hearts are in it. The best clinicians, activists, advocates, etc. that I have ever met do their work from this place of passion. So, don’t be afraid to trust yourself and listen to your heart, it will take you where you are meant to be and help you do the work you are meant to be doing.