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New Jersey Woman Uses Cable Show to Shape Public View of Social Work

Dr Ginny Klein and Guest
Some social workers complain they don’t like how their career is portrayed on television and in movies.

But New Jersey social worker Dr. Virginia “Ginny” Klein did more than kvetch. Ginny, PhD, LCSW, ACSW, launched her own local cable access program to promote our profession.

“Through the Looking Glass” airs on Comcast Cable’s Channel 280 in Somerset, N.J., on Fridays at 10 p.m. and Saturdays at 3 p.m. Ginny uses her program to enact sessions with “clients.”

The clients are portrayed by other social workers. There are no scripts and scenes are totally improvised, she said.

“Through the Looking Glass” first aired in 1990 and recently taped its 407th episode. It covers many problems social workers help their clients overcome, including marital issues, anxiety, and conflicts with friends and family.

“I’ve got just about everything that will cause dysfunction in a person’s life,” she said of the show’s topics.

Ginny got started in the television business back in the late 1980s. She was at relaxing at home with her son Earl when he said, “People just look at television and are not listening to their teenagers.”

That comment got Klein thinking and prompted her to launch her first local cable access program that addressed teen issues such as alcohol, drugs, dating and divorce. That program was nominated for a 1988 CableACE Award. Klein taped 76 episodes of the teen program before the cable company cancelled it.

Besides her television program Klein sees clients in real life and trains social workers in the United States and Switzerland.

She says “Through the Looking Glass” serves dual roles. It educates the public about the life-improving services social workers provide. And social workers who watch the show gain tips on how to do their jobs better.

“I think the show is wide reaching,” she said. “I’m very pleased.”

By Greg Wright, NASW

EXTRA: To watch Ginny’s 400th episode click here. The video was provided courtesy of Caz Bielen of Premiere Media. And to learn more about Ginny visit her Web site by clicking here.

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6 Comments

  1. Want to thank the site and Greg Wright for writing that nice article! I was intrigued by the email on this new site encouraging the social worker world with the media, so I replied and now want to thank Greg Wright, writer for doing that nice article, and especially my always wonderful camera video guy who does my shows for years putting up the Fox O’reilly interview and some shows right out to Greg for the article and viewers in a one minute phone call! That’s my media guy! He’s just great!

    Thanks Greg, and thanks one more millioneth time, Caz Bielen of Premiere Media!

    Ginny Klein, Ph,D., LCSW, BCD
    Through the Looking Glass
    Comcast Ch. 280

  2. Hi everyone,
    First, I want to thank those who have put this website together for social workers to speak out. Social work is a very noble and meaningful vocation. As a Vietnamese-American clinical social worker, I want to share a bit of my experiences in social work with the API community. In particular, I want to share about the clinical, mental health aspect that clinical social workers provide to the API community. As many clinical social workers are already aware, the percentage of Asian-American seeking mental health services is quite low. For this reason, much of my volunteering efforts now is to promote social work and de-stigmatize mental health, which often gets equated with mental illness. I’d like to share with you the good news that we are making good progress towards this effort. The Vietnamese community now have the first mental health show on a public tv station 44-4 in California, which can also be viewed online. The show is call VietView, co-hosted by a Vietnamese psychiatrist, a clinical social worker & psychologist, and myself, an associate clinical social worker. The website, http://www.viet-care.org has more information about the efforts to promote social work and de-stigmatize mental health in the Vietnamese community.

  3. From NASW Facebook Page:

    Chrisula T.: I love Dr. Klein! Fantastic clinical supervision!!!!

  4. The world needs more Ginny Kleins who do more than qvetch!

    E. A. Wahrburg, MSW, LCSW (NC, NY)

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