A Message From The Director

It is with great pleasure and excitement that I take over the helm of the Doctorate of Social Work Program from my predecessor and the program’s founder, the brilliant Professor Jerry Floersch. Right from the start, I fell in love with the program and its students, and in the process discovered a new calling; to help accomplished clinicians transform themselves into scholars.

In my almost 20 years at Rutgers, I have been a teacher, researcher, and a writer, but in my heart of hearts, I have always remained a clinician. For me, nothing is more important than helping people relieve their suffering and become healthy and resilient. Here at Rutgers, I am surrounded by intelligent people, but in my mind the very wisest are those who use their hearts and smarts to heal the pain and suffering of others and help them grow and change in the face of formidable obstacles, whether they be childhood or adult trauma, addiction, stigma, social injustice, or the myriad of other challenges we face as we make our way in the world.

As a writer, I have deep reverence for the power of finding and sharing one’s voice. Clinical social workers along with other psychotherapists are the sages of our time, and a few of us are called to share our stories and wisdom beyond the client session. It is those few for which the DSW Program is designed.

Like all worthwhile endeavors, finding one’s unique voice involves sacrifice and struggle. The poet Mary Oliver warns that in order to do so one has to get through “. . . a wild night, and the road full of fallen branches and stones.” We here at the Rutgers DSW Program we cannot make the road easy, but we can give you the tools to make traversing it possible, and we are excited to accompany you on this important journey.

Michael C. LaSala, Ph.D., LCSW