Celeste M. Johnson

Celeste M. Johnson, PhD, MSS, LCSW

  • Associate Professor

Programs I Teach


  • PhD, Social Work (2006)
    Bryn Mawr College (PA)

About Me

My academic and clinical social work careers inform my teaching. My practice career includes practice with individuals, families and groups in child welfare, psychiatric, mental health, medical and school settings doing case management, counseling, supervision, and consultation in agency-based settings and private practice. I teach clinical social work and foundation social work courses. My research and publications explore stress, grief, loss, resilience, and the impact of community violence on underrepresented urban populations.

For teaching, I am interested in creating a learning environment and experience that will help students become reflective and reflexive social work practitioners. By reflective, I mean social workers who can be curious about the interface of all the factors influencing work with clients and systems. This involves an awareness and sensitivity to issues of race, ethnicity, and other aspects of difference and diversity. It includes aspects of discrimination, oppression, and the importance of social and economic justice in the broader social context. By reflexive, I mean social workers who are able to be responsive in the moment, allowing the knowledge of themselves, theory, and context to enhance all that is possible. I am interested in helping students develop a road map for their continued professional growth, their ability to tolerate complexity, and their attention to self care.

Research Interests

I am interested in the experience, meaning making, and impact of traumatic stress, grief, loss, and also resilience in underrepresented populations across the lifespan living in urban settings. I use qualitative methods in my research.


  • Johnson, C. (2015). Bereavement after losing friends to homicide: Two African-American girls speak. In J.L. M. McCoyd & C.A. Walter (Eds.), Grief and loss across the lifespan: A biopsychosocial perspective (2nd ed). New York, NY: Springer Publishing Company, LLC.
  • Johnson, C.M. (2014). The loss of friends to homicide and the implications for the identity development of urban African American teen girls. Clinical Social Work Journal, 42(1), 27–40.
  • Johnson, C.M. (2013, March). Sharing with Thammasat University: Urban African American teen girls grieve the loss of friends from homicide. Presentation at Thammasat Univeristy, School of Social Administration, Bangkok, Thailand.

Professional Affiliations & Memberships

Pennsylvania Society for Clinical Social Work (PSCSW), Alliance of Black Social Workers (ABSW)


  • Faculty Development Grant, Widener University, Funding for Research, 2014–2015
  • Phi Alpha National Honor Society, 2012
  • Christian R. & Mary F. Lindback Foundation Minority Junior Faculty Award, 2004