Field Consultant and Lecturer Erica Gomes joined Berkeley Social Welfare in August 2019. She is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who has been working in the non-profit sector providing clinical social work services for the past 20 years. She started her career as a Domestic Violence Counselor and has worked primarily in medical settings providing services to a variety of populations including children, youth and families, pregnant and postpartum women and individuals living with HIV/AIDS. She has worked in a community health center in San Francisco, providing bilingual (English/Spanish) clinical services; developing and implementing their integrated behavioral health model. She has also provided outpatient sliding-scale psychotherapy services, mental health evaluation for asylum cases, and has worked internationally providing social services in Central America. She is an Exam Writer for the Association of Social Work Board's Clinical Licensing Exam and has contributed to research related to culturally adapted best practices in group CBT interventions for unaccompanied minors. In addition to her Field Consultant work at UC Berkeley, she is a Lead Integrated Behavioral Health Supervisor at La Clínica where she supervises a team of clinical social workers who provide integrated services at several medical and school-based clinics throughout Alameda, Solano and Contra Costa counties.
When did you know you wanted to pursue a career in social welfare?
I had the unique opportunity to live and work in Central America right after college. I was a field volunteer accompanying organized women's leadership groups in a post-civil war setting in El Salvador. While engaged in this work I decided that I wanted to continue to be involved in community work in support of social work-focused programs. When I returned home I began my first social work position and have been so grateful to have found this field!
What interested you in the position at UC Berkeley School of Social Welfare?
I am passionate about social work as a field and love to learn along with others. I've supported social work interns in the past and have always loved hearing about how students apply classroom learning to social work practice in the field and I've always wanted to be a part of that conversation. Working at Berkeley is my opportunity to give back to the profession while learning along with incredible students and faculty that are furthering the field of social work.
What are you most looking forward to about working with Berkeley Social Welfare students?
Learning from students and getting to know their own paths to social work. Our field is rich with practitioners who bring the strengths of lived experience in service of others and I appreciate and feel honored when others are able to share their journeys with me.
If you had the chance to add one book to every Berkeley Social Welfare student's curriculum, what would it be, and why?
This is the hardest question because there are so many!
This is a book from grad school that I still have with me and refer to often: Trauma and Recovery by Judith Lewis Herman
And this is a book that I recommend to all new clinicians: Trauma Stewardship by Laura van Dernoot Lipsky