Barbara Gillin

Barbara Gilin, MSW, LCSW

Associate Clinical Professor

Research Interests

Trauma theory and practice, family violence, gender issues in couples and families, the impact of oppression on individuals and family systems, adoption, interdisciplinary collaboration, and strategies for self care as a professional social worker.

Courses Taught

Practice with Individuals, Practice with Families, Practice with Groups, Advanced Families elective, Treating Trauma, Comparative Social Work Practice (an international course)

I first joined the Widener faculty in 1993 as an adjunct clinical professor, and then began teaching full time in 1999. I have taught the following courses: Practice with Individuals, Practice with Families, Practice with Groups, Advanced Families elective, Treating Trauma, Comparative Social Work Practice (an international course). In addition to teaching, I maintain my own clinical practice, which allows me to experience the joys and challenges of working directly with clients. I see individuals, couples, and families, and I specialize in relationship problems with current partners or with families of origin, recovery from trauma, anxiety, depression, substance abuse, parenting concerns, and more. I believe that my teaching is enriched by staying immersed in doing clinical work myself and, in turn, teaching enriches my clinical work. My professional experiences have included working in outpatient mental health settings, a medical hospital, inpatient psychiatric hospitals, partial hospital programs, an elementary school, employee assistance programs, and as a group leader for the Philadelphia Sexual Abuse Project and at Women in Transition.

I believe that the starting point for all good social work practice is the ability to build and maintain effective and trusting helping relationships with our clients. Current research in neurobiology validates the importance of core skills that include being empathic and "attuned" to clients ', listening deeply and carefully to them, and creating feelings of safety that will allow them to build trust in us. Many of the people with whom we work have suffered at the hands of people who harmed them in multiple ways, and we are in a position to help them begin to see that not all people will hurt them as others have done. In order to do this work effectively, Widener's program will also emphasize the importance of being self-aware and mindful of the impact of our work with clients on us, and how to take care of ourselves so we can continue to help our clients. In addition to acquiring valuable skills for micropractice, a good clinical social worker also needs to be able to advocate for changes in policies and laws that negatively impact clients.

One of my jobs as an instructor is to help students recognize and build upon the knowledge and skills they already possess as they enter our program. One of my priorities is to create a safe atmosphere in the classroom that will allow students to ask questions and to really learn the new knowledge that they will need to be effective with their clients. I want to help students be able to connect the theoretical knowledge that they gain through readings and discussions to the actual interventions that they use with their clients. I work hard to help students understand "why they do what they do", and to articulate the theoretical foundations that support their work by the time they leave our program.


  • M.S.W., University of Pennsylvania.
  • B.A. Michigan State University (Psychology Major).
  • Family Institute of Philadelphia. (3-year training in couple and family therapy



Gilin, B. (in press). Internet Resources for Therapists Who Want to be Trauma-Informed, Journal of Pastoral Care and Counseling.

Gilin, B. (2012). Social Work Practice Interventions with Survivors of Trauma. Journal of ChongQing University (Social Science Edition).

Wellmon, R., Gilin, B., Knauss, L., Linn, M. (2012). Changes in student attitudes toward interprofessional learning and collaboration arising from a case-based educational experience. Journal of Allied Health. 41(1).

Wellmon, R., Gilin, B., Knauss, L., Linn, M. (2009). The benefits of an interdisciplinary collaborative learning experience: The student perspective on outcomes. The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, 4 (18), 15-27.

Gilin, B. (2009). The losses of infertility. In J. McCoyd, & C. Walter.

Grief and loss across the lifespan: a biopsychosocial perspective. New York, Springer Publishing Company, 194-204.

Gilin, B., & Young, T. (2009). Educational benefits of international experiential learning in an MSW program. International Social Work. January, 2009.

Gilin, B., and Sullivan, M. (2009). Generalist practice with persons who have experienced trauma. In J.E. Poulin Strengths-Based Generalist Practice: A Collaborative Approach. Brooks Cole, Chapter 16.   

Recent Presentations

Council on Social Work Education, Annual Program Meeting, November, 2012
Washington, D.C.
Advancing Competency-Based Trauma Education in Social Work

Delaware County Probation Officers, August, 2012
Chester, PA
Stress Management

Social Work and Community Development Conference , May, 2011
ChongQing Technology and Business University
ChongQing, China
Working with Trauma Survivors

West Chester University, March 2011
Presentation to Social Work faculty, alumni, and field instructors
Trauma-Informed Social Work Practice

International Conference on Interdisciplinary Social Sciences
Athens, Greece
The Benefits of an Interdisciplinary Collaborative Learning Experience: The Student Perspective on Outcomes

Philadelphia Connections Seminar, October, 2009.
Philadelphia, PA
Working with Trauma Survivors

Council on Social Work Education, October, 2007
San Francisco, CA
Educational Benefits of International Experiential Learning in an MSW Program

International Association of Schools of Social Work, August 2006
Santiago, Chile
Educational Benefits of International Experiential Learning in an MSW Program


  • Licensed Clinical Social Worker in PA.
  • National Association of Social Workers
  • Board Certified Diplomate in Social Work
  • Pennsylvania Society for Clinical Social Work
  • American Family Therapy Academy