Pikesville-based clinician Lisa Ferentz was recently named 2009 Social Worker of the Year by the Maryland Society for Clinical Social Work.
Ms. Ferentz, who is the president and founder of the Institute for Advanced Psychotherapy Training and Education Inc., has been in private practice for more than 24 years.
Her solo practice includes work with children, adolescents, adults, couples and families. Her specializations include adult children of alcoholics, survivors of emotional, sexual and physical abuse, co-dependency, substance abuse, eating disorders, anxiety, depression, multiplicity, professional burnout, parenting skills and stress management.
For more than 10 years, she was a University of Maryland School of Social Work adjunct professor, teaching first- and second-year graduate students.
Five years ago, Ms. Ferentz created, and started training clinicians in, a certificate program in advanced trauma treatment. The institute provides social workers and other mental health professionals with continuing education encompassing a variety of clinical issues, client populations and practice settings.
To be named Social Worker of the Year, Ms. Ferentz had to be nominated by a peer from the Maryland Society for Clinical Social Work.
In nominating her, the peer wrote, “I have always been appreciative of her respect and compassion for clients and the depth of her insight into clinical issues. Starting the Institute was a big entrepreneurial risk. She is actively involved in a community theater group and choreographs dance movement for local high schools.
“She also maintains a meaningful spiritual component to her life. All this is to say that I see her as being able to provide balance in all spheres of her life.”
Said Martha Miller, president of the Maryland Society for Clinical Social Work: “We are a professional association of clinical social workers. Members of our society have the opportunity to nominate another member. This was not a nomination coming from all of the social workers in Maryland. It was our membership choosing one of our members.”
The organization has, she said, 155 members.
“In the scheme of things, we’re small,” added Ms. Miller. “We’re an organization made up of clinical social workers, all folks involved in psycho-therapy practice. Many of us are in private practice, like Lisa is.”
She added that a two-person committee reviewed nominations before a decision was made on Social Worker of the Year.
“This is a well-deserved honor for Lisa,” said Ms. Miller. “It’s our way of recognizing one of our members. We look for a clinician who has taken some risks in their practice, like in Lisa’s case starting the institute. We look for someone who has contributed to the knowledge of the field, and someone who has gained a reputation as an expert in their particular specialty like Lisa has with her work in trauma and in eating disorders.”
Said Ms. Ferentz about the award: “I was very humbled and very proud. It’s an organization I’ve supported for years with first-rate clinicians in it. To be given an award by my peers is very special. I was very moved by it. It meant a lot.”
Ms. Miller said she also knows Ms. Ferentz from a professional book club they both attend and she has observed Ms. Ferentz’s insights in that group.
“She is involved in choreography and she has a spiritual practice. These are aspects that make her life balanced. Her life is bigger than her clinical work. There is that aspect of self-care, that a person practice what they preach,” Ms. Miller said.
Ms. Ferentz said she prides herself on that balance of life. “I want to be a good role model for my clients,” she said. “After 24 years of practice, I still come to it with a lot of joy, humility and gratitude. This was icing on the cake to be recognized. I have amazing clients who express their gratitude on a daily basis. This is a blessing and a privilege, like a cherry on a sundae.”
Ms. Ferentz is married to Dr. Kevin Ferentz. Both are active in community theater and worship at Pikesville’s Beth Tfiloh Congregation. The couple has three children.
More information on the institute can be found at LisaFerentz.com.