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TV Projects Keep Finding Social Worker

National Association of Social Workers member Aracely Neeley, MSW, is on a roll.

In 2010 she was offered a spot on “Keeping Up with the Joneses,” a reality show that ran on Centric. In that program Neeley was shown providing grief counseling to up-and-coming magazine editor Tracey Ferguson.

Now Neeley will be provide on-the-spot advice on the morning show for Spanish-language Univision Channel 45 in Houston. SocialWorkersSpeak.org talked to Neeley about how she has managed to be featured on television twice in two years:

 Q: Mrs. Neeley, tell us a bit about where you got your social work degree, where you practice social work, and what kind of social work you do.

A: I received my master’s degree in May of 1994 from the University of Houston Graduate School of Social Work. I have my own private practice and I am the sole practitioner; my office is located in northwest Houston. The major reason for choosing the location is that it is near my children’s catholic school and close to home. I initially began working with various home health agencies and then I landed a job managing the social work needs of adult patients  for a subsidiary of Prudential  that owned clinics throughout Texas with 27 clinics right here in Houston. After a three- year work hiatus (I wanted to stay home to care for our twin boys), I return to work at a hospice facility as the bereavement manager. I loved hospice and felt very comfortable working with individuals who were grieving and I chose that as my “specialty” when I began my private practice.

Aracely Neeley

Q: How did you land the spot on Houston Channel 45?

A: A medical doctor colleague from my network of referrals referred me to the station, when she was approached if she knew of a Spanish-speaking psychotherapist she immediately gave them my name.

Q: Did they know of your appearance on Keeping Up with the Joneses?

A: No they were not aware of it,  I did mention my appearance and told them I was comfortable in front of the camera. Univision is primarily Spanish speaking and they were more concerned about me being comfortable speaking Spanish on air. Even though I was born in Monterrey, Mexico and lived there until I was eight years old, I feel as though English is my primary language. But luckily, my parents always spoke Spanish to us and I have been able to retain the language.  I am looking forward to the challenge of providing informative answers to their questions in the time frame allotted.

Q: What type of advice will you be giving on air?  

A: Each week they plan to have a topic of family concern, such as domestic violence, child abuse, and general parenting issues that are of concern to local viewers. I am fortunate to have the experience of working in many different types of settings, such as Children’s Protective Services where I was a lead investigator; home healthcare, medical social work and hospice; and private practice. I can draw on these years of experience.

Univision 45 TV logo

Q: When will the first show air?

A: My first appearance will be August 15. Coincidentally, the studio is located at the same office building where I once worked with Children’s Protective Services.

Q: Can you give other social workers advice on how to do television work? Is there some magic secret?

A: That’s a tough question, it’s hard to give out that type of advice when I didn’t purposefully go out in search of television appearances. However, I will pass on a good bit of advice I learned from Oprah Winfrey’s Master Class where she said, “Do your best and people will notice.” That comment struck me deeply and I have found truth in that, not in just getting television appearances, but in general, because people who are impressed with your work and integrity will refer you to others and that is how my practice keeps going; and you never know who your name will be passed on to and where it will take you. I wish there was magic to it. I just know that no matter what, be ethical,  be fair, respect your clients, and most of all have integrity.  I believe the universe responds in kind.

To learn more about the valuable services social workers such as Aracely Neeley provide clients, visit the National Association of Social Workers’ “Help Starts Here” Website by clicking here

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