Dr. Carol Tosone Promotes Counseling Education and the Social Work Profession in Afghanistan

Dr. Carol Tosone (center) with Dr. Martha Bragin (fourth from left) and faculty of the counseling department at Herat University
Dr. Carol Tosone (center) with Dr. Martha Bragin (fourth from left) and faculty of the counseling department at Herat University

NYU Silver Professor and Director of the DSW Program in Clinical Social Work Dr. Carol Tosone recently returned from eight days in Afghanistan where she advised faculty at Kabul University and Herat University as part of a USAID-funded project to improve the quality of their counseling education.

Dr. Tosone is no stranger to Afghanistan. In 2012, she was part of a team, led by Silberman School of Social Work Associate Professor and NYU Silver alumna Dr. Martha Bragin, PhD '01, that developed National Occupational Skills Standards for Social Work in Afghanistan, a project jointly sponsored by UNICEF and Afghanistan’s Ministry of Labor, Social Affairs, Martyrs and Disabled. Dr. Tosone, who served as a Consultant and Technical Advisor to the Afghan government, noted, “It was an honor to work with the Afghan ministry to develop the standards for a cadre of home-grown social workers to serve the generations of children and families impacted by war and poverty.”

To complete that project, Dr. Tosone made multiple trips to Kabul and collaborated with colleagues and officials from the Afghan ministry to produce a document setting forth culturally relevant standards for the social work profession. That document bolstered efforts by other members of the project team to establish a social work department at Kabul University, which opened in 2014.

Dr. Tosone’s latest project in Afghanistan, which is also part of a grant led by Dr. Bragin, stems from a five-part series of Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) social work training videos she co-produced, wrote and narrated on topics including engaging the reluctant client, social work with older adults, and social work with survivors of trauma. She led two three-day workshops with the counseling departments at Kabul University and Herat University in which she taught them how to develop training videos and other practical materials for the teaching and learning of counseling skills. She also met with the steering committees at the two schools to advise them on principles of teaching and learning in counseling psychology. Now that she is back in New York, she will continue to advise the schools’ counseling faculty via Skype until they have completed their own their culturally and linguistically relevant training videos.

“With our mission to alleviate human suffering and pursue social justice, social workers have a critical role to play in Afghanistan,” Dr. Tosone said. “It has been exciting to collaborate with Afghan academics to define the profession’s standards in the country’s context and, most recently, to develop educational programs to train high quality counseling faculty to meet the pressing public need.”