Clinician’s Corner 2022 | VOICES: Holding Space for Difficult Conversations

Read the 2022 Clinician’s Corner articles on Medium!

Photos of six people against beige background with Clinician's Corner logo in bottom leftWelcome to the fourth installment of Clinician’s Corner! We developed this semiannual digest as a way to connect social work research to practice. For each issue, we choose a topic relevant to the field and invite researchers, practitioners, and families across Texas to share their perspectives and strategies for strengthening our collective work.

So much of our work involves difficult conversations—conversations that need to happen but never do, or ones that spark resistance or discomfort. This year, we’ve decided to explore different types of difficult conversations. Through our latest Clinician’s Corner digest, we’ll provide social work practitioners with strategies for identifying, encouraging, navigating and facilitating these conversations in their work.

We invite you to explore this new set of articles and learn from the conversations we held with parents, foster caregivers, youth in care, researchers, and practitioners. Take a look at how centering the voices of youth in child welfare cases and holding open conversations about sexual health can create opportunities for stronger connections and more positive outcomes. Hear from parents and caregivers about what they want to change in the child welfare system and services for children with special healthcare needs—and how we’re working toward those transformations. And consider tips from experts in their fields about navigating grief in immigration work and applying psychoanalysis skills to provide empathetic caregiving.

In an increasingly divided and isolating world, we’re committed to creating the space needed for hard conversations—whether that means confronting systemic problems or growing from our own biases and weak spots. We hope the 2022 Clinician’s Corner leaves you with the questions and considerations needed to keep building better practices and systems, within the field of social work and beyond.

We’re On Medium!

You can view all of the articles on the public publishing platform Medium. To see and share Clinician’s Corner online, click on any of the articles below:

Letter From Our Associate Director

This section shares tips from our experts on navigating challenging conversations and opening up space to process real feelings.

May We Be Kind to Ourselves? Naming Grief in Immigration Work
By Ana Vidina Hernández, MSSW, MA
Explore how grief affects immigration work and the importance of acknowledging loss and using practices to process the grief experience. Read more.

From the Inside Out: Helping Parents Navigate Difficult Conversations Through Mentalizing
By Tina Adkins, Ph.D.
In this article, find out how a psychoanalytic approach can help parents facilitate tough but meaningful conversations with their children. Read more.


This section features the voices of parents, foster caregivers, kinship caregivers, youth in care, and child welfare judges.

Listening to Each Other: How Communication Supports Children in Foster Care
By Alix Mammina
In this article featuring excerpts from interviews with foster caregivers, learn how a new TXICFW project works to transform how systems treat families within foster care. Read more.

Start Fresh With Each Person You See: Serving Children With Special Healthcare Needs
By Stephanie Holmes, LMSW, and Alix Mammina
Hear from a parent of a child with special healthcare needs and advocate in the disability community about her experience seeking services and support. Read more.

Bringing Youth to the Negotiating Table: The Benefits of Engaging Foster Youth in Court
By Tymothy Belseth, MA
Find out how two judicial leaders in the Texas child welfare community integrate youth presence in the courtroom to put them at the center of decision-making. Read more.

Bridging the Gap: Helping Youth and Foster Caregivers Discuss Sexual Health and Relationships
By Sharon Hoefer, MSSW
Hear perspectives from a young adult formerly in foster care and a foster caregiver on communicating openly about sexual health and relationships. Read more.