Q&A with School of Social Work alum Hillary Wasson
With her private practice and her new book out, School of Social Work alum and licensed clinical social worker Hillary Wasson ’05, M.S.W. ’07, has been very busy since getting her Master of Social Work, but she took time out to answer our interview questions.
Why did you choose the Master of Social Work (MSW) program at Illinois State?
Earning my Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) at Illinois State was a wonderful experience. I was familiar with many professors and the program has an excellent reputation.
What do you feel you gained in particular from our MSW program?
The MSW program not only helped me gain a better understanding of social work and social justice, it also helped me develop critical thinking skills used in the workforce. I’m so thankful that many School of Social Work professors nurtured my generalist skills, while also emphasizing my desired areas of specialization like child and family practice.
What is your current specialty? Why did you choose it?
I have been pursuing Sandplay certification for approximately three and a half years and hope to have my official certification in the next three years. It is a non-verbal, hands-on form of therapy based on the works of Carl Jung and Dora Kalff. Children and adults work in the sand creating pictures that depict their inner conflicts. I’m drawn to this specialization because I enjoy the symbolism that comes with working along with miniatures, and I have also seen how healing the sand can be for those with deep trauma and/or psychological conflict.
Tell us about you and your husband’s book, My Cousin Casey and the Day He Lost His Way: A Story of Adoption, Family Traditions, and Unconditional Love?
It is about my cousin, Casey, who was in the U.S. Marine Corps. He passed away in June of 2013, and I wrote the book and my husband Tim illustrated it shortly after. Since my cousin was a Marine, we donate 100 percent of any proceeds to Got Your 6, a veterans organization whose message aims to bridge the civilian-military divide by utilizing veteran’s unique potential to strengthen America.
What are your plans for the future?
I plan to continue growing my practice and working towards my Sandplay certification. I also look forward to continuing to spend time with my wonderful husband, Tim, and our 3-year-old daughter, Daisy.
What would you tell any students considering applying to the program?
If you feel social work is the right path for you, then go for it! We are lucky to have such a wonderful BSW/MSW program right here. Be prepared to work hard, listen to the professors, and take good notes! Even now I still look up old assignments, notes and handouts.