Joanne Wolf Small Author | Therapy Services | Lake Michigan

About Me

Quick facts, philosophy & origins   

Joanne Wolf Small MSW LCSW-C Social Worker | Therapy Services | Author

my life's work

Since 1977, I've worked in community mental health and private practice. In my 20's, I lost my parents, moved across the country, & was managing a divorce - All while raising three kids. A licensed clinical social worker helped me, and I decided that would be my future path.

Joanne Wolf Small MSW LCSW-C Social Worker | Therapy Services | Author
Image by Thomas Millot

master's

degree

I began my undergraduate work at the University of Michigan Ann Arbor. Transferring to CUA, I earned my BA in psychology with a minor in philosophy. I later received my MSW. I'm still, and forever will be, a University of Michigan football fan though.

university-michigan_439.jpg
Joanne Wolf Small MSW LCSW-C Social Worker | Therapy Services | Author

author & 

expert

I served as the first and only adopted person on the Model States Adoption Legislative Procedures & Advisory Panel. My professional experience includes a post-adoption clinical practice, clinical supervision, in-service training, & seminars, lectures, publications, and interviews with over a thousand adoptive family members.

Image by 🇸🇮 Janko Ferlič
Succulent
Philosophy 

Most

psychotherapy

 ...was originally based on a medical model of "disease". I believe this model has led, in some instances, to pathologizing and consequently even stigmatizing a variety of human behaviors -- as far an entire class or group of people. Adopted people, homeless people, or women that have been sexually assaulted are among the many hurt by the mindset of pathologizing mental health.

 I do not say this to suggest this is true for all mental health conditions, but rather the past and present tendency for mental health professionals to see almost all human behaviors as symptoms of a disease, possibly blinding them to accepting a different, more normal, less pathologizing perspective.

Understand

societal

Influence

As a therapist & social worker

 I believe understanding an individual’s feelings, needs, and experiences, and how those things are related the society at large, is paramount to helping any client I work with. I believe our mental states are part of our surroundings, because society, like an ecosystem, impacts us in ways we are just beginning to understand and recognize. rather attributing all the blame to the individual first and foremost, as the medical model of "disease" often does, I use my knowledge to see beyond just a diagnosis and into causes of what my client's are facing. I provide solutions and understanding to my utmost abilities.

Holland, Michigan: Holland Harbor Lighth | Joanne W Small Therapy Services
Origins
Joanne Wolf Small MSW LCSW-C Social Worker | Therapy Services | Author

lake michigan

roots

My roots lay in the Mid-West. Winter meant snow, sledding, and ice-skating. Summer meant frequent trips to the beach. The "Big Red Lighthouse" you see on my website is close to Lake Michigan - the beaches and sand dunes I know and love. In my mind I can still hear the reassuring warning folks to take car, or action, or change course. 

Image by Cyrus Crossan
Ship at Night
Joanne Wolf Small MSW LCSW-C Social Worker | Therapy Services | Author

I grew up in a

strong...

...adoptive family. My brother Dick came first. I arrived almost four years later. What made us strong was that all of us accepted that our family was different - that adoption was different. And, that when talking about adoption, truth mattered. My parents needed us, & we needed them. This mutual awareness provided us a shared sense of equality. Our understanding forged adoptive family love, trust, and strength. Unfortunately, my brother and I lost our parents Joe and Anne Wolf when we were still in our early twenties. 

early on

I fantized...

I fantasized becoming a nurse, reading a series of books about young visiting nurses. I later volunteered as a "Candy Striper" at local hospitals. Nevertheless, my interest eventually turned more philosophy, and social sciences, including sociology and psychology. 

Candy_Stripers_in_training_in_Tallahasse
Joanne Wolf Small MSW LCSW-C Social Worker | Therapy Services | Author
Joanne Wolf Small MSW LCSW-C Social Worker | Therapy Services | Author

by my

thirties...

Divorced, happily remarried, and with four children, I recalled having earlier sought professional help from a skilled social worker. A pediatrician I knew at the time referred me to her, which led me to study to clinical social work.

Joanne Wolf Small MSW LCSW-C Social Worker | Therapy Services | Author
Joanne Wolf Small MSW LCSW-C Social Worker | Therapy Services | Author
Joanne Wolf Small MSW LCSW-C Social Worker | Therapy Services | Author

I began my

undergraduate...

...degree at the University of Michigan, in Ann Arbor. I later moved to the East coast, and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree, with a psychology major and philosophy minor from the Catholic University of America (CUA), in Washington, D.C. I returned there to earn a Master of Social Work degree with a clinical casework major.

​

Now, I reside in Maryland, with my wonderful husband of 54 years, enjoying my children and grandchildren.

 
Image by Maria Oswalt Joanne Wolf Small MSW LCSW-C Social Worker | Therapy Services | Author