Anne-Elizabeth Straub

Clinical Social Worker 
Somatic Educator
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Interests

Areas of Interest

The montage playing above, includes photos, representing people, groups and activities that are important to me.  Some of these are described below.

Art/Creativity

I believe that every person has a need for beauty in his or her life and needs to be able to appreciate it and express it in some way, whether in written work, music, movement, dance, visual art or some other medium.
I have done some work in a number of media, some of which might be seen here, here and here.

Animals/Nature

Nature and connection to the natural world is important on many levels,  from stress relief to the actual survival of life on earth.  The realization of our place in the vast web of life can assist in maintaining perspective on an individual level and might be a way to encourage individuals and groups to change behavior to improve the environment.

While I did not have "furry" pets as a child, I did have a strong interest and affection for animals of all sorts from a very early age, which only increased as I grew older.  As a child, my fantasies vacillated between a horse, a panther (think Sheena Queen of the Jungle), or a team of huskies (think Sgt. Preston) for a pet. But I settled for walking other people's dogs and reading lots of books about animals (horses-fictional and non, dogs, otters, pigs), veterinarians, and animal rights crusaders.

As an adult and parent of two boys,we shared our home with numbers of animals of a wide variety of species.

I am currently partnered with a wonderful assistance dog, who helps me with activities of daily living and enriches my life in many ways.

I have written about assistance animals and discussed this topic with a number of different audiences.  

      Click here for a PDF of one article.



Family/Friends

A strong network of family and friends is of major importance to me.  Spending time; communicating, visiting them, having them visit us, feeding them, being fed by them; sharing stories and music; all these activities are nourishing and supportive. 

I have also engaged in genealogical study for many years. This is an extension of that same value for connection; seeing and extending those familial connections backward in time and through space; while preserving the knowledge and sharing it with others, now and in the future.  

I have not only traced ancestors but found contemporary relatives in this and in other countries, while maintaining connection with those long known and loved.


Health and Wellness

My own approach to health and wellness has grown and changed throughout my life, due to both my own health issues and challenges and the awareness and insights I have gained through my study and practice of the Feldenkrais Method®.  I have come to a much greater appreciation of and ability to use my physical self and its abilities, even though I have some significant neurological difficulties. 

Physical activity has become more important to me and to a great extent, is more pleasurable now than when I was a child and a young adult. Possibly, I took what I could do for granted then, but didn't do much with it. At that time of my life, I was much more focused on the intellectual and emotional areas of my life.  I also took myself much more seriously!

I am more willing now to make mistakes and risk doing things imperfectly, which allows me the option to learn things I might not learn otherwise.  This has led to me taking charge of my health and physical activity in a way I wasn't able to earlier.
 

Reading

Reading has had tremendous importance to me, even before five years of age, when I first learned to read. From that time forward, I would read any printed material at all (signs, books, magazines, cereal boxes, newspapers-my own, or over other people's shoulders).

I am still an avid reader and researcher of any topic that catches my interest. This has nurtured my mind and assured that boredom is not in my experience.  I read material in print, large print, paper, in electronic and audio media.  I would like to share that passion with others.

             Here's a link to my Bookstore.


Social Justice

Social justice goes beyond an interest.  It is a key value in my life and permeates all its areas.   I have been involved in this issue since grade school, on many levels, from fundraising, direct service to poor, hungry and homeless people to legislative advocacy and political activism and protests on behalf of civil rights, voting rights, immigration, educational, disability and LGBT issues.

The value of social justice underlies many of the actions I have taken over time and my choices of groups with which I have affiliated.

 


Organizations

 Feldenkrais® Guild of North America (FGNA) and National Association of Social Workers  (NASW)
are the two professional organizations to which I belong because of my professional affiliations.  These organizations provide support and resources for their membership.

Social Workers Advancing the Human Animal Bond  (SWAHAB)
began in 2004 as a group of New York City Social Workers and some members of other disciplines who recognized that the interaction of people and other animals affected the lives of both, often in profoundly important ways. This interaction seemed largely unacknowledged and undervalued in common clinical and policy planning situations. We began meeting to support one another, to raise awareness and to continue to educate ourselves and others. In 2007 we became a special interest group of NASW-NYC and began meeting monthly at NASW offices.

SWAHAB's 
mission is to recognize and promote the healthy relationship individuals have with animals and the powerful bond that can exist between them. This group aims to:
◦ Educate professionals and students in the human service field on multiple issues related to the human-animal bond including attachment issues, pet loss, and bereavement
◦ Promote and advocate for the involvement and recognition of service animals in the social work and healthcare professions
◦ Recognize and educate others of multiple human-animal concerns including the correlation between animal abuse and other types of violence, the consideration of animals in times of crisis and disaster response, and animal hoarding
◦ Support social workers and others who are currently working in environments in which both human welfare and animal welfare are at stake.

I joined due to my own interests in the area of Animal Human Bond in general, in relation to my own practice and personal experience as a person who loves animals and has an assistance dog partner.  I am an active member of this organization and been involved in establishing and maintaining its online presence and communications.  I currently hold the position of Vice-Chair and describe myself as SWAHAB's cyber-ambassador.