Get 3 Cultural CEU's in the comfort of your home
NASW Members $50
Add $10 for Shipping & Handling
A Bilingual’s Healing Journey:
In Search of the Language of the Heart
Presented by Maria Elena Oliva, LCSW (originally recorded at the 2012 NASW-NM annual conference)
Psychotherapy for a bilingual client is complex when experienced in their second language. It does not always provide healing or helpful outcomes. Much can be misunderstood and much can be missed altogether. Language is in the spotlight when we consider therapy with bilingual clients. Yet, language is rarely the focus of psychotherapeutic work that is referred to as the “talking cure.” This reference speaks to the importance of language. The bilingual client is able to navigate verbal communication in two worlds, but remains at a disadvantage when the intimacy of their culture and expression of their affective experience cannot be accessed in their second language. Their first language holds the bonds of their attachment ties and the rhythm and intonations in the voices of their primary caregiving relationship.
Ms. Oliva received her master’s degree in social work in 1984 from Fordham University in New York City and has been working with the child and adolescent population for approximately 20 years. Throughout this period she became more interested in children with serious behavioral problems, attachment disruptions and multiple placement histories, trauma and the challenges of work with bilingual and monolingual children and caregivers. She currently lives in Connecticut and is a supervisor in a young adults program for 18 – 25 year-olds who have aged out of the child welfare system and who experience psychiatric and/or developmental impairments. Ms. Oliva has a private practice and is in the process of completing the requirements of a doctoral degree in social work from Smith College School for Social Work in Northampton, MA.
“After viewing the session, I felt I knew Maria as a colleague and that her life stories shared were people who drifted into my sessions and workshops. It is touching. Thank you.“
Jamie McDonald MSW, LISW, OSW-C
Presbyterian Cancer Program
Oncology Social Worker