In the Community

Social Worker Spotlight: Jennifer Candela

Before becoming a Clinical Social Worker, Jennifer Candela was a paralegal working in family law. While she enjoyed working with clients, she realized that she’d rather work to keep families together than helping them to split apart. She decided to make a career change, went to Adelphi to get her Master of Social Work degree, and now she’s been employed by Access for 10 years.

While in graduate school, Jennifer completed her internship at Access. She was hired as a PROS Specialist before she officially graduated, and then took a job as PROS Therapist once her degree was complete. In her current role as Senior Therapist, Jennifer works in an integrated healthcare setting where she provides traditional behavioral health counseling and helps people make thinking and behavior modifications to improve their physical health. She’s learned so much in her current position, expanding her knowledge in the area of healthcare and also working toward becoming fluent in Spanish. In fact, when her Spanish-speaking colleagues learned of her goal to learn Spanish, they completely stopped speaking to her in English. This has gone a long way towards helping her fully grasp the language.

Learning Spanish is just the tip of the iceberg for this lifelong learner. To be a successful Social Worker, Jennifer believes that you need to live and breathe social work. It has to be a passion, not just a paycheck. She also warns that even grad school won’t teach you everything you need to know. You’ll never know it all, and the learning never really ends.

Jennifer can’t stress enough that solid boundaries are crucial in preventing burn out. Because Social Workers are such caring people that want to help everyone and get involved in everything, they have a tendency to stretch themselves thin, volunteering for every project and saying yes to every request that comes their way. That can backfire and do more harm than good. She also advises that it’s beneficial to build a group of friends who work in the field and can help you process. Just as it’s important to help clients develop coping skills and solid support systems, it’s equally important to do this for ourselves.

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