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May 28, 2018 : Ohio University Lancaster professor to present at international conference

by Sarah Shy


Ohio University Lancaster Assistant Professor Lisa Skeens, presented in Prato, Italy at the “Effective Strategies for Working with Involuntary Clients-International Perspectives” conference.


Her paper “Spiritual Applications with Involuntary Clients: An Affirmative Technique to Enhance the Client/Worker Relationship” is about helping to motivate involuntary clients through spiritual approaches. Her paper concentrates on how to apply spiritual techniques through the various stages of the client/worker relationship. Some techniques include how to connect with individuals using hopefulness on the first meeting or encouraging clients to use their own interpersonal experiences to transcend pain and trauma.


“Spirituality and social work have common themes, such as utilizing a strength-based perspective, focusing on the present, and healing through introspection and action.” Said Skeens.


Skeens hopes that through her presentation she can connect with international peers about the subject of spirituality and eventually conduct research on the topic in the next academic year, possibly developing a spiritual interventions course on campus. She wants to help others understand the research regarding efficacy of spiritual interventions and to help professionals have a clearer understanding of how to apply these strategies in their everyday work.


“Many times, when clinicians hear the terms “spiritual” they only think of it as a question on the client assessment and not an ongoing process. It is my hope to de-mystify the concept of spiritual interventions into active strategies that professionals are confident to use on a regular basis with their clients.” She said.


She decided to conduct research and training on guided imagery techniques, which lead her to find interest in other non-traditional and evidence-based techniques such as, spiritual interventions. Her hopes are that her research and findings will help empower others to break down the barriers in their lives.


“It is a joy to watch clients overcome obstacles and to witness students confront self-doubt and transform into confident professionals. My clients and students are always providing new insights into how to do more creative and meaningful work. I have learned about the power of hope from working with first generation college students from diverse backgrounds. My clients and students inspire me every day!” said Skeens.


Skeens has taught Human Service Technology from 2010 to 2014 and Social Work from 2014 to present. She has worked with many cultures and diverse people and has been inspired by their resilience and strength when overcoming obstacles. She has participated in multiple community development projects in Latin American and the U.S. and she has been a first-hand witness to the power of human connectedness. For more information she can be contacted at