My name is Sandra Haas. I have worked in the field of social work for over 35 years. My work journey started as a freshman at University of Maryland, where I majored in psychology and social work.
One of my field placements included the Maryland Development Center, where I worked as part of the juvenile justice system writing pre-trial assessments with children aged 8 to 17. My second undergraduate field placement was in Baltimore city doing community organization work with citizens of all ages. Ten years would go by before I returned to school to obtain my MSW at Rhode Island College. My concentration included gerontology at both Roger Williams Hospital’s In-Patient Assessment Unit and the Rhode Island Medical Center. While at the RIMC, I interned on the in-patient units, and the Out-Patient Geriatric Assessment unit. It was my great honor to work with some of the best doctors, social workers, and nurses in the field.
After graduation, I obtained a position as a social worker at the now closed Jewish Home for the Aged, and the Adult Day Care Center attached to the nursing home. My work allowed me to be involved with the development of protocols for Durable Power of Attorneys for healthcare, which assist people in expressing their wishes even when they cannot verbalize them. This responsibility allowed me to educate professionals and families during my facilitation of seminars and workshops.
I also enjoyed facilitating caregiver support groups and completing geriatric assessments, especially assisting in diagnosing dementia. During this time, I also began obtaining private consultation so I was able to earn my independent license. Once I obtained this license, my work journey had me traveling to working in a variety of settings, including hospitals, assisted living centers, nursing homes, and Met-Options, which offer behavioral consultation and mental health support to clients and staff across these settings. My specialty included attending seminars in grief counseling and then working for hospice, as well as offering seminars and a grief counseling support group when I worked for the Cranston Senior Center.
I also worked in a partial program in Massachusetts , where I helped to facilitate groups on coping skills, Visual Journaling, family issues, and community resources.
It has been a great privilege to work in a variety of settings and with people from many cultures, especially the Hispanic community, with people with a variety of mental health, physical health, and family issues. I have studied beginning Spanish so I could offer respectful communication when visiting their homes, although I am sorry to say I am not fluent in the language.
My work with children and families continues to be a great experience to this day. I worked in the home, group homes, and residential treatment centers with children with a variety of needs. These needs included children with autism, physical needs, and behavioral issues across settings. I worked with the schools and other community agencies to help ensure that their needs were being met. I became a Clinical Director of a group home for boys aged 8-12 for a couple of years before moving on to in-home services.
I have experience working as a clinician in a pain program. This was extremely interesting as I was able to train with one of the best specialists in the field. During my time in this capacity, I did assessments in the area of chronic pain, facilitated a support group for those with chronic pain, worked with families, and those addicted to Opioids. During my time in the above program, I was given the gift of a great opportunity to work in the area of substance abuse. I assisted in facilitating an intensive out-patient program , which included facilitating groups where education and support were offered including discharge planning. I also worked with the court and DCYF to coordinate services, including writing reports on progress in the program. The area of substance abuse and relapse prevention continues to be of interest during my present work in private practice. I have worked in other private practices, including Family Associates until it’s closing. My client population in private practice continues to include the senior population, caregiver support, grief counseling, and issues of death and dying planning.
I continue to work with children from ages of about 4 to 12 in the areas of depression and anxiety. I have worked with people in the age group of 18 to 23 concerning transitional issues in their lives, including areas of loss. My work includes couples counseling, women’s issues, and relational issues.
Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker