Carolyn Karoll, a psychotherapist and LCSW-C operating as Karoll Counseling LLC in Towson, Maryland, specializes in treating eating and mood disorders as well as issues arising from life transitions. Karoll has a bachelor’s degree in women’s studies from Towson University and an MSW from the University of Maryland School of Social Work. Karoll’s career includes working for Kennedy Krieger Institute, BonSecours Women’s Resource Center/ The House of Ruth and the Baltimore City Detention Center among others.
What inspired you to enter the field of social work?
“I always wanted to work in a helping profession. My home valued social justice and service. Becoming a social worker was a way to combine my calling for service and to push for social justice. The common thread in all of the different places I have worked has been my desire to instill hope in those who felt disenfranchised.”
How does your educational background relate to your current role?
“I learned critical thinking at Towson University, where I was in the first graduating class in women’s studies. It was there that I became sensitive to bias and stopped taking things at face value. My current role calls upon these critical thinking skills as well, as the core values of the social work code of ethics from graduate school: service, social justice, dignity and worth of person, human relationships, integrity and competence. Also, my training has helped me be sensitive to the psycho-social factors, that is, the ‘person in the environment,’ my clients face because, of course, they do not live in a vacuum.”
What does it take to be successful in what you do?
“I don’t believe you last in this field without passion. One of my specialties and truly a passion for me is the treatment of eating disorders. I have worked with individuals and families in every setting. I have seen co-workers come and go. In order to remain and feel effective, there has to be a passion and an ability to retain empathy in the face of the resistance and ambivalence which is so much a part of this insidious disease.”
What is some advice you can offer others interested in social work?
“Keep an open mind regarding the types of people you are willing to serve. Say yes to training experiences and job opportunities that put you out of your comfort zone, because they may teach you something or offer perspective you may otherwise have missed. Know your limits. Pick a specialization(s) and stay up to date via continuing education; a specialization will keep you in demand. On the other hand, be flexible. It is rare to find someone without a co-morbidity; therefore refusing to work with someone out of your own ‘specialty’ becomes very limiting. Lastly, make sure to engage in self-care practices that include support for yourself. It is easy to burn out in this field; consult on difficult cases.”
Susan Brown originally spent many years in banking/finance before confronting her addictions. She has now been in recovery for 20 years.
Primary interests include metaphysics and energy healing in which she has several certifications. She has written for Examiner.com since 2009 and also writes for Om Times. Sue lives in Baltimore.