Author: Sarah Snow

Social Work in Context

Katelen Fortunati writes that the entire profession of social work is built on and operates within context; not only is social work itself contextual, but so too are the problems it addresses and she offers six pointers for improving our understanding of context.

The Context of Young Peoples’ Lives in the Current Era

David Prescott asks whether there are any young people not at risk at this time of high social stress and unrest. He argues that the pandemic has changed the context of our work and talks about the changes we must make as we approach new challenges that must be contextually understood if we are to generate new and novel solutions.


Phil Rich directs our attention to the theme of this issue: context. The context of our world at the moment is, of course, the pandemic. The larger context, however, includes the social unrest driven in part by the pandemic itself and in part by the social injustice experienced by so many people in our country. Each article in this issue addresses context and its importance in understanding problems and finding solutions.

Issue 2 – Caption This

In the Caption This section of The New Circle, we will publish an uncaptioned cartoon for readers to think about and have fun imagining possible captions.

Building a Counseling Relationship with Adolescents who Have Experienced Physical Abuse

In this article for our series on adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), author Lori Miller discusses physical abuse, the most commonly reported adverse childhood experience in the U.S.—why it results in resistance to psychotherapy and how therapists can help teens who have been carrying the physical and emotional scars of repeated abuse open up to them.

Racial Stress in Children and Adolescents

In this article, Apryl Alexander, feature editor for cultural adversity, begins an ongoing conversation about racial stress and systemic injustices with a focus on the particular effects on children of what has been termed, racial microaggressions—commonplace daily verbal, behavioral, and environmental indignities, both intentional and unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative racial slights and insults.

Clinical Support: Mentoring At-Risk Youths Cannot Succeed Without It

Erika Linskey, the Director of Safer Society’s New Circle Mentoring Program, discusses two key aspects of a successful mentoring program for at-risk youths: a clinical component and mentor retention and longevity; then describes how Safer Society’s program filled both of those needs through a partnership with a local counseling service.

Changing Our Mindset: The Challenges of Working With At-Risk Students in the School Setting

In this article, Linda Metcalf, feature editor for educational settings, launches our ongoing conversation about the challenges faced by at-risk students, the school-to-prison pipeline, and the struggle to work effectively with them in the school environment with a discussion of how the challenges of “reaching and teaching” these students have been met by a school whose student body is composed entirely of at-risk teenagers.

There is No Such Thing as a Child: Part One…

As a child psychiatrist and a parent, Stuart Copans has concluded that a child can only be understood—and treated—in the context of the child’s family and social environment. In this article, Dr. Copans explains how, in his own practice, he has used a tool called the family map, or genogram, to collect general family information so that he can better locate and understand his patients’ behavioral problems.

When the World of Children and Teenagers Goes Online

Lauren Busfield reminds us that the policy of limiting children’s access to the Internet—advocated for years by educators and health officials—has been turned on its head by the COVID-19 pandemic. The fact that in the year 2020, our children’s education and social lives exist mostly online has become a reality that we were not ready to face. How do parents and helping professionals adjust to the newfound importance of technology to our children’s well-being?