• The Collaboration of Social Work and Shamanism: Social work is a profession that provokes innovative ways in which to improve human interactions. The author acknowledges the value of research in understanding human behavior and systems of social justice, but proposes that in our quest for knowledge we have missed the essence of our work; and by doing so, inadvertently reinforce punitive and pathological approaches towards change. Throughout the author’s professional development and personal travels throughout the world he has been privileged to apprentice in many traditional ways of the indigenous people of the lands he visits. As a human race we have lost our connections to the technologies of the indigenous peoples who exist without science. The author is aware that this is counter intuitive for an “educated” society to look to the “un-educated” for answers to such questions as human rights and social justice. Examples of how we interact with the mentally ill or elderly are examples of how indigenous societies may have more advanced technologies than our current systems. The author suggests a paradigm shift that may reshape how we conceptually look at the struggles of our societies, and in that shift, would suggest looking to those who have a more intimate connection with the earth and each other. Each continent is home to those who co-existed and relied on principals towards the common good. These “Shamans” were in fact the professors and teachers of how to work in harmony with the land, the ancestors and each other. By returning to the Elders of our respective societies and engaging in meaningful dialogue the author wonders how this might in turn reshape the interactions we as professionals may have with our clients and communities? This paper will explore the core elements of these Shamanistic societies that are consistent throughout these societies. This paper will consider the implications of these indigenous principals and what they might offer our social work communities. Then explore how this paradigm shift towards these common principals among traditions will lead to the overall objectives of social work. Invited Talk/Keynote, Presented, 04/27/2017.


  • American Sign Language, functional.

Geographical Regions of Interest

  • Mongolia
    Ancient Traces, Changes Spaces, Modern Faces: Learning Abroad: Ulaanbaatgar, Mongolia. Addressing issues around childhood homelessness and Shamanism.
  • Peru
    Have traveled Peru on several occasions exploring cultural and spiritual philosophy as well as social justice issues in the various regions of this country.