Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
My name is Henry Kronner, and I am an associate professor at Regis College. I have been working at Regis since the summer of 2019. I have been in practice for the last 29 years doing direct practice, and I have been teaching for the last 22 years. I’ve taught probably at about eight different institutions, some full time, some part time.
My background is primarily in direct practice, so that means that I see clients and I often provide psycho-therapeutic services to them. Before I went into academia, I worked with children who were a part of the child welfare system in Michigan. I would often work with the kids who had been removed from their parents and I would help them deal with the traumas they experienced. I also worked with the parents to help them try to get their kids returned to them. We had plans of action and I would provide the psychotherapy to help them get their kids back.
In addition, I’ve also worked with adults in many different arenas. I’ve worked with adults who were struggling with having HIV or AIDS and the challenges that came with them. I’ve also worked with many clients in areas dealing with depression, anxiety, trauma, and relationship challenges. I’ve often provided individual and family therapy in order to help them come up with plans of action and hopefully make changes in their life and develop a set of tools and skills that would allow them to have better mental health.
Why did you choose to become a social worker?
I think part of it is fate. When I had started college many years ago, I was going to become a business person. I was going to take over my father’s company. About halfway through that program, I was not doing very well academically, and I had a teacher who said, “I think you really need to go and look at a different profession.” What I was doing well in was psychology, and so I earned my bachelor’s in psychology. A bachelor’s in psychology does not offer many different jobs that I wanted to do. I knew I was going to have to go for a graduate degree. A friend of mine said, “Why don’t you think about social work?” As I didn’t know much about social work, I went to the program, learned much more about what they do and realized that it was a very good fit for me. I took a little break between my undergraduate and graduate studies and went back and earned my master’s in social work.
I focused on the clinical part of that. In social work, we have three major areas. We have clinical, we have policy, and we have community organizing. I thought the fit for me was to do more clinical, and so that’s what I’ve been doing since I’ve graduated. I like social work because it allows us to also know about and work in those other areas. For me, community organizing and being aware of different systems is extremely important.
What’s the best thing about being a social worker?
One of the best things about being a social worker is the flexibility. One gets a degree in social work and can do a variety of jobs, a variety of different skills because one is taught not just about mental health, one is also taught about how to change policy. One is also taught about how to work in communities and make changes. I think that a degree in social work allows one to be very well rounded and gives a person many more opportunities and options than some other professions.
For me, one of the best things is knowing that I make a difference in my clients’ lives, that many of my clients look to me for emotional support that they are probably not getting from others in their lives. That is something that they are hoping to obtain in the sessions with me. I also know that I am helping them come up with ways to learn to problem solve, ways to find solutions to their challenges and to do that in a very supportive and kind way.
“For me, one of the best things is knowing that I make a difference in my clients’ lives, that many of my clients look to me for emotional support that they are probably not getting from others in their lives.”
I had a client today who I had seen earlier this week, but she was having some challenges. Her analogy was when you have a snow globe and you shake it, everything is up in the air and she goes, “Things were falling, but they weren’t falling into an organized place.” She needed some help putting it into order. By meeting with her today we were able to talk about the different things she was struggling with. One is she was clearly being judged by others and to help her realize that that wasn’t her stuff to take on. That was theirs. Knowing that she had the ability to reach out, knowing that I could make that phone call or a video call with her is something that helped her get through the day. She was much more content.
That I’m able to do that with my clients, to me is a gift, that I make an impact in their lives. I just am so grateful that I’m able to do that.
Can you tell us what it’s like having a private practice?
When I decided to go into academia and knew I was going to be a teacher, I knew that working at an agency full time was not going to be possible. I needed something that was going to be more flexible. Choosing private practice gave me that opportunity. I was able to teach and I was able to have the flexibility of scheduling clients when it worked for my schedule.
An area that has worked well for me is telehealth. Because I’m able to provide therapy via the internet, I had many clients I was seeing in Illinois before I moved to Florida who wanted to continue to see me. In order to do that we were able to use telehealth and I was able to continue those services. They had been seeing me for quite a while and they did not want to start with somebody new. For many of them it’s actually been a great experience. It allows them the flexibility to see me, to get what they need in the services, and it just has become, I think, beneficial for them and for me.
What is one piece of advice you’d give an aspiring social worker?
There’s probably many pieces of advice that we all would want to offer, but I think the main one for me would be self-care. I think it’s extremely important that social workers know how to take care of themselves. I think we go into this profession because we really do want to help others. Again, it’s a great feeling but it can also be exhausting. It can take a toll on us if we’re not careful. We need to make sure that we are taking care of ourselves so we can continue to take care of clients. I think for many social workers, if they’re not careful, they can get burnt out.
“I think it’s extremely important that social workers know how to take care of themselves.”
I think self-care is not just about taking time to read, go for walks, and be with friends. I think self-care is also being aware certain clients may be more difficult. Maybe I take a little bit of a break after that client so I’m ready for the next one.
For me, as I said, I did work with children, but that was something that was not a great fit for me. I work better with adults and I love working with older adults. That became a better fit. I think I could’ve gotten burnt out by not listening to what I needed to do. What I needed to do is find a different population or populations with whom to provide services. Be aware of what takes care of you. Remember, this is a profession that allows us to take our skills and go in many different directions. Find a different direction that takes care of you so you can continue to help the people that you’ve wanted to help from the beginning.
Why should someone choose Regis’ MSW program?
I think there are several reasons. One, we are a clinical program. For those who are interested in doing direct practice, that’s what you’re going to be learning within our program.
The second is we are very student centered. I know we talk about that in different places, but at Regis we really are. The faculty are highly invested in students being successful. We will meet with you via video, phone, text. We will talk with you if you are struggling. We will work with you to solve those challenges and help you get past them. I think that knowing that we are really there for students, students have learned that I am truly available, that I want them to be successful. I think knowing that we have the tools and that the faculty are really here to help you be successful, I think is one of the best things that Regis College offers the students. I think students are very happy and grateful for it.
“The faculty are highly invested in students being successful. We will meet with you via video, phone, text. We will talk with you if you are struggling. We will work with you to solve those challenges and help you get past them.”