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Running Head: Interview Paper

Karlie Muxlow
Interview Paper
SW 3010

Interview Paper
Section 1
My experience of finding someone to interview for this paper was actually
pretty easy. I made a phone call to one person before I decided to go with the
person I interviewed. The first person I tried calling never called me back so I went
with someone else. I felt awkward asking a stranger for help with my paper. I also
felt mad and frustrated when they never called me back. I felt like my little
interview must not have been very important to them like it was to me. I ended up
asking my moms friend Katie Volpe if I could interview her and she agreed. Even
though I didnt have to call many people to ask for help, I can relate to how a
consumer would feel calling a social worker for help. When getting this assignment I
was already freaking out knowing I would have to call a stranger and ask to
interview them because I didnt know if someone would be interested in doing an
interview or even have time too. I bet that a consumer who has to call a stranger for
help feels the same way, like their problems are not worthy of the social worker. I
also felt frustrated when the person I tried calling didnt call me back. I feel like they
could have at least called me back to tell me they were either too busy or whatever
the reason was that they didnt want to go through with the interview.
Section 2
I ended up interviewing my moms good friend Katie Volpe. She went to SC4
for her pre requisite classes and then transferred to Wayne State for her bachelors
degree. She graduated with her BSW in 1992 and went back and did the
accelerated program at Wayne for her MSW in 2000. Mrs. Volpe is a masters level
clinician and her job title is a Program Supervisor for the Intellectual Disability
Program. This program is very intensive and is for individuals whose mental illness

Interview Paper
is so severe that they cannot function in services that are less intensive. Katie has
worked for Community Mental Health for over ten years and specifically works with
intellectually impaired individuals and has even specialized with intellectually
impaired individuals with addictions. Katie said that she works with some of the
most vulnerable individuals and that is what social work is all about.
When discussing the question about personal or social problems or concerns
with the agency she works for she had a little trouble thinking of examples. She said
she doesnt have any personal problems with the agency. She loves working there
and is fortunate to not have any problems associated with the agency. She did end
up thinking of a social problem that could be associated with the agency that she
actually personally experienced. The agency doesnt recognize medical marijuana
cards with their employees. This actually first happened with Katie, one of the
people she supervises failed a random drug test that CMH mandates and his answer
when asked why was that he had his medical card. Katie didnt know what to do in
that situation and had to go to her boss for guidance. The problem ended up going
to the board who decided that the employee must be let go and that CMH does not
recognize the medical cards. Katie said she understood why because the employees
drive company vans and transport clients and CMH cannot take the risk of an
employee being under the influence.
Mrs. Volpe gave a complete and respectable answer when asked to evaluate
her personal effectiveness within the agency she works for. She explained that she
was honored with the staff member of the year award which is a big deal in Port
Huron CMH because there are over 300 employees. She says that honor combined
with the fact that over ten years she has moved up to one of only eight supervisors
in the agency show her effectiveness. What I liked most is that she said perhaps the

Interview Paper
most important measure of her effectiveness is the feedback from her clients and
prior clients. She says walking through the halls at work and hearing old clients say
hi to her or come to her with things means that she made a difference in their lives.
She also has a select few clients who still call her to this day to talk about different
things and being that constant person in their life has reminded her how effective
her work has been.
Mrs. Volpe also gave a complete and respectable answer when asked to
evaluate the agency she works for. She said that CMH is a pioneer for other
agencies. She would go to trainings and people would be just starting to discuss
things that CMH had already been practicing. For example, peer specialists who
have mental illnesses and are hired to help council others with that mental illness,
were first brought to the area because of CMH. Also, evidence based practicing and
dialectical behavioral therapy was also brought to the area because of CMH. Mrs.
Volpe was one of the first employees from CMH to go to a ten day intensive training
on dialectical behavioral therapy. She also told me that about a year ago, CMH was
honored in regards to their Integrated Duel Disorder Treatment (IDDT). IDDT is
where they treat both disorders if someone has overlapping disorders.
Katie said that Community Mental Health uses all three levels of social work
in their agency. They use micro social work during individual therapy with clients.
They have more instances of mezzo social work though because of the large
amount of diverse groups they offer. These groups include psycho education groups
which are groups that include family members of those diagnosed with a mental
illness. In this group the family members learn about the mental illness and how to
help their loved one. Group therapy is popular with multiple mental illnesses;
substance abuse, system management, recovery, and learning about their mental

Interview Paper
illness all have individual groups. There are also different groups based on the
recovery level of the individual. There are also peer specialists who have the mental
illness who know how it feels to receive the services CMH provides and how to deal
with the illness. These individuals are far enough along in their recovery that they
are able to communicate well and hold down jobs. There are also multiple ways
macro social work is used in the agency she works for. They do lobbying in Lansing,
one of her coworkers; Deb Johnson goes at least once a week to Lansing for
different meeting. They work with the local hospitals and both the St. Clair County
and Port Huron police departments. Community Mental Health has patients that are
both in and out of hospitals and the police pick them up as well so they need
employees to go to the hospital to do psych evaluations on the patients to make
sure they are cleared from the hospital. There is also the St. Clair County
Coordinating Body that works with the policy end of macro social work.
Section 3
My assessment of the interview and the work that is accomplished there is
overall very positive. CMH seems to be an acceptable agency to both work for and
receive services from. I learned what the mental health side of social work actually
includes and may be more open to that field of social work now. Mrs. Volpe did
inform me that if I want to work in the jail either with juveniles or adults that I may
be teaming up with mental health social workers who assess inmates. I thought it
was cool to make that connection between social workers. I also learned how micro,
mezzo and macro social work are all integrated in the same agency. Ive been
having some trouble connecting them and after talking to her I made a better
connection. I felt comfortable during the interview because I knew her personally. I
also felt excited to actually be getting answers from a social worker who has been in

Interview Paper
the field and not the text. I do think differently about the mental health side of
social work after this assignment. I think it is awesome that people like Mrs. Volpe
are devoted to working with such a vulnerable group of people who need their help.
I do think I may want to research the area of social work I want to peruse a little
more before making a final decision because of my interview with Katie Volpe.