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Wurzweiler Student’s Essay Wins Award

Rina Ben-Benyamin '16S Discusses Complexity of Ending Client Relationships

An essay by Rina Ben-Benyamin '16S, a student at Yeshiva University’s Wurzweiler School of Social Work from Brooklyn, New York, has won the 2017 Diana List Cullen Memorial First Year MSW Student Writing Scholarship Award. The award, bestowed by the Metropolitan Chapter of the New York State Society for Clinical Social Work, recognizes first-year students from graduate schools of social work in Manhattan and the Bronx for excellence in writing.

Rina Ben-Benyamin Rina Ben-Benyamin

“Ms. Ben-Benyamin’s paper on ending a client relationship established during her first-year internship at the Boro Park Rehabilitation Center demonstrated a clear, exceptional understanding of both the theory and the practice of clinical social work,” said Dr. Jill Becker Feigeles, assistant professor of social work at Wurzweiler. “We are very proud of Rina.”

Ben-Benyamin was inspired to write about the topic of terminating client relationships after a discussion with a professor at Wurzweiler about her own struggles with the process as a newcomer to the social work field. “Ending a professional relationship which has been founded on the basis of vulnerability and trust is an incredibly delicate experience,” she said. “Countless books and articles have been written about it, attempting to help young practitioners navigate this professional milestone. However, merely reading about ending my time with a client did not prepare me for the various emotions experiencing it caused. My professor suggested writing a paper about terminating with a client to help reflect upon the experience. This opportunity allowed me to process my emotions and healthily disengage from my first therapeutic relationship.”

Ben-Benyamin, who eventually hopes to specialize in couples and family therapy, chose to pursue a career in social work because of its ability to empower clients to lead healthier lives. “I believe the ethos of social work, which values diversity and fights for social and economic justice for all, is the backbone of a healthy, inclusive, and productive society,” she said. “During my time as a student, I am trying to work with as many diverse populations as possible. I am trying to learn as much as I can while being exposed to incredible learning opportunities, such as working with the geriatric population in Boro Park and working with victims of domestic violence.”

Scholarship recipients were honored at an awards ceremony on November 1 attended by deans, faculty, board members of the Society, and family and friends, where they presented a summary of their work and received one-year student memberships in the New York State Society for Clinical Social Work. In addition, their papers will be featured on the Society’s website.