Mary Lou Groen

Marylou is a registered social worker with 22 years of practice experience. In the first 20 years of her career, she worked in non-profit organizations with a focus on child welfare and addictions.

“Just recently, in 2015, I opened my own private practice.” says Marylou. “It was always a dream of mine since I became a social worker, and I knew that with enough experience, it was something that I would eventually achieve. As I developed as a professional, I realized that I always needed to be enhancing my skills to understand my area of practice and to excel in my role.”

Marylou identifies the CCP as an important part of how she continues to understand her own development as a practitioner, and what she needs to do to continue to excel in her career.

“What was relevant 20 years ago when I started in the field may not be relevant today. The kinds of issues that I see today, as I work with youth in my own practice, are incredible. I undoubtedly need to keep current and up-to-date in my research to ensure I can help my clients face challenges that may have been non-existent when I first started in the field. If not, I will be unable to help them; my skills won’t be effective.”

Marylou states the CCP has provided the opportunity for her to become more familiar with some business aspects of administering her own private practice. “For me, it’s been both challenging and rewarding to make the transition from the non-profit sector to working for myself.  I have come to realize through my CCP that some principles are more applicable to me now than they had been when I was working for someone else. For instance, ‘Principle VI: Fees’ {in the Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice} is applicable to me now that I have my own practice.”

“I have definitely had to learn the business component because it was brand new to me. I spent about five months gathering information, going on the College’s website, reading materials, consulting with business owners, and contacting Revenue Canada in order to help prepare myself to open my own business and to do it properly and legally. Each day I learn something new. Everything I do now is self-directed. I am spending a lot of my time teaching myself how to do this and how to help some of these clients in instances when they bring issues to me that I have not seen before.  All of these activities can become learning goals and then activities I do to satisfy my learning requirements.”

Marylou says although she always understood the need to be a continuous learner, now that she is in private practice she sees the need to be continually competent and her annual participation in the CCP helps ensure she continues to update her skills.   Marylou draws a direct relationship between her ability to be a professional and to do a good job for her clients with her annual professional development.

“As a registered social worker, I understand and appreciate that the CCP aids me in my lifelong learning as a social work practitioner. When I hear clients say thank you or when they provide positive feedback or see progress, that’s what makes you realize you are helping to make a difference.”