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National Social Worker Month Spotlight: Kari Phillips

When Kari Phillips was growing up, one of her best friends was someone with Autism. It was hard for Kari to understand why her friend didn’t have many other friends. This experience is a major reason why she now works for an agency that serves intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Kari earned her master’s degree in social work from the Wurzweiler School of Social Work at Yeshiva University. After graduate school, she worked for a clinic in Westchester before coming to Access. In her current role as IDD Clinical Director, she shares supervision of the IDD clinicians with Assistant Director Rachael Rivera. One of the things she appreciates most about working at Access is that the agency isn’t afraid to take some risks in order to help people have a full life.

For those just entering the social work field or considering a career in social work, Kari suggests that people don’t look down on or rule out working with individuals with IDD. She’d love to see more clinicians choosing to work with this population that she’s so passionate about. As far as misconceptions, she wishes more people understood that social workers, while they are fabulous, do not have magic wands with which they can just fix everything. Treatment needs to be a team approach, and the most important member of that team is the client.

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