In the Public Eye: August / September 2023

Richard Brouillette

When we think of empathy, we usually think it’s about how we relate to other people’s feelings. Empathy begins with how well we first learn to relate to our own feelings and emotional needs in childhood, explains NASW California member Richard Brouillette.

“How well we connect with ourselves will determine how we connect with others,” he says in a column he wrote for Psychology Today. “In my clinical work, I use the idea of empathy styles to help my clients understand the way they handle their own emotional needs, and how they either show up for or avoid their partner’s emotional needs,” he states.

Empathy style says a lot about the type of partner you subconsciously look for and are most comfortable being around, Brouillette notes. “It may also explain why you keep finding yourself in relationships that feel eerily similar, even when you’re sure you’ve tried to find a different kind of partner.”

Patricia Welch Saleeby

NASW member Patricia Welch Saleeby, PhD, is the social work program director and associate professor at Bradley University in Illinois. The leading expert on disability in social work and public health was invited to speak at this year’s Social Work Day at the United Nations event.

National Public Radio station WCBU in Peoria, Ill., interviewed Saleeby about the message she took to the UN. She noted many people have heard of electronic health records. Part of their value is their portability — allowing records to be taken from one health setting to another. She explained that in the late 1990s a classification called the ICF was created, which is the International Classification of Functioning Disability and Health.

“It enables us to code and classify in a consistent manner, code related to functioning,” Saleeby said. “So it tells us a lot more about a person and their lived experience beyond what we get from diagnosis only.”

Dawn Rochelle

Community partnerships are essential to ending child abuse, says an opinion piece written by NASW-North Carolina member Dawn Rochelle in The Daily News in Jacksonville, N.C.

Child abuse in Onslow County shows no sign of retreat despite strong preventive efforts ongoing in our communities, says Rochelle, LCSW, CEO of One Place, which is a part of TASCO (Turning Adversity into Success for Children in Onslow) and other efforts that support the development of children and fight against their abuse or neglect.

The push to prevent child abuse does not work without the involvement of the public—parents and non-parents alike, Rochelle wrote. “Educate yourself about how community members can contribute to a positive environment for children. Support the organizations that are working to protect our future. Don’t wait for another shocking headline or disturbing statistic; don’t rest easy until a situation hits too close to home—join the fight now.”

Shakti Sutriasa

Consistency gives people a sense of stability and reassurance. But how do we give each other space to change? NASW-Washington State member Shakti Sutriasa, LCSW, offered insight in how to embrace change instead of fearing it in a column posted at

Among her suggestions are to look for the good, for the excitement, for the shedding that takes place as the “new” unfolds. While it is normal that change brings uncomfortable feelings, recognize those feelings and keep going. “Knowing that we can create a new normal can help counteract that ego pushback...,” she says. Sutriasa is the founder of, offering life coaching, counseling and more.

cover of August / September 2023 issue

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