Psychosocial Support as Activism Before and After the Time of Covid-19 [Online]

The Witness to Witness Program (W2W), based on Weingarten’s witnessing model, began in July 2018 and originally was established to support health care workers and attorneys who were experiencing empathic distress working with people involved in various stages of the immigration detention process.

In this webinar, we will describe how W2W evolved to respond to the needs of the communities we served both before and after the coronavirus pandemic. The form and content of our programming needed to meet the criteria that they be both clinically sound and socially just. We wanted people to leave our sessions – whether individual, group or webinar – feeling more aware and empowered.

The presenters will discuss programming for attorneys working in the immigration sector, providers working in a prison setting and community health workers based in the 50 Mexican Consulates in the US. W2W creates virtual communities of support as a way of strengthening individual and organizational resilience and as a way of doing reasonable hope together. In this workshop, people can share their ways of doing socially just clinical work, whether with individuals, families, groups or in the community. We will collaborate to imagine ways that clinical practice can be social activism.

Learning Objectives:

  • Participants will be able to describe the four positions of Weingarten’s witnessing model
  • Participant will be able to connect their social justice values to direct service applications
  • Participants will be able to identify a concrete action they can take now to enact social justice in their practice


Kaethe Weingarten, Ph.D., directs the Witness to Witness Program (W2W) whose goal is to help the helpers, primarily serving health care workers, attorneys and journalists working with vulnerable populations. She was an Associate Clinical Professor of Psychology in the Harvard Medical School Department of Psychiatry from 1981-2017 and a faculty member of the Family Institute of Cambridge where she founded and directed the Program in Families, Trauma and Resilience. She has published six books and over 100 articles and essays.

Sarah Berland, LCSW, is the Director of the Ackerman Institute’s JUSTICE Project, which provides therapeutic support to families that have been impacted by the criminal justice system.She is a graduate of the Ackerman Institute’s Clinical Externship Program, and is a member of the teaching faculty. Sarah serves on the board of the American Family Therapy Academy (AFTA). She is conducting her private practice from home via telehealth.

Sol D’Urso, M.A., LMFT, is Adjunct Faculty in the MFT program a the Univeristy of San Diego. Sol’s primary clinical work has been with refugee families, survivors of torture, at risk children and youth and transnational individuals and families in San Diego and the US-Mexico border region. Sol provides therapy and supervision in English and Spanish. She provides psychotherapy in the UCSD Free Clinics serving uninsured and underserved low income individuals and families in San Diego.

Date / Time:

Friday, September 18, 2020
10:00 am–1:00 pm

Continuing Education:

3 CE Contact Hours

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