Dr. Joyous Bethel
Office: Stayer 321
A native Floridian, Dr. Bethel holds both a BA in Social Work and an MSW from The University of Oklahoma. She furthered her education by earning a Ph.D. in Social Work at Barry University, focusing her dissertation on issues related to complications in mourning and trauma. She has extensive experience in hospice care as a social worker and bereavement clinician as well as an administrator. She served on the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization’s National Council of Hospice Professionals as a steering committee member for the Social Work Subcommittee as well as on the Advanced Clinical Subcommittee for Bereavement Counseling. During her tenure in hospice, she developed two weekend camps for bereaved children still used today.
Dr. Bethel currently teaches Social Work at the undergraduate and graduate levels at Millersville University. Prior, Dr. Bethel taught Social Work for 13 years at the University of Southern Mississippi. She has taught Practice at the foundation and advanced levels and Human Behavior and the Social Environment at the micro and macro levels. Additionally, Dr. Bethel teaches Human Diversity, courses related to the proper use of the DSM, courses on aging related to the Gerontology Minor, and electives in normal grief, complicated mourning and trauma, and spirituality in social work practice. She is the Coordinator for the Interdisciplinary Minor in Gerontology at Millersville University. Her research interests are complicated mourning, trauma, spirituality, creativity, and wellness, and aging.
Recent Scholarship, Publications and Presentations
Girvin, H. & Bethel, J. (2013). Religion and Spirituality in Competency- Based Social Work Practice. Social Work and Christianity: Special Issue.
Bethel, J. (2005). Teaching a Combined Course on Grief and Bereavement for BSW and MSW Students: Strategies, Content, and Evaluation. Journal of Teaching in Social Work, 25 (3-4) pp. 197-215.
Bethel, J. (2004). Impact of Social Work Spirituality Courses on Student Attitudes, Values, and Spiritual Wellness. Journal of Religion and Spirituality in Social Work, 23 (4), pp. 27-45.
Forster, M., Bethel, J., Hrostowski, S., & Rehner, T. (2002). Infusing Aging Content in USM’s B.S.W. & M.S.W. Curricula. Proceedings of the 31st Annual Alabama/Mississippi Conference on Social Work Education. Hattiesburg, MS: The University of Southern Mississippi School of Social Work.
Bethel, J., Bohanon, J., & Kolbo, J. (2002). A Community-Based Approach to Enhancing Educational Opportunities for At-Risk Youth. Proceedings of the 31st Annual Alabama/Mississippi Conference on Social Work Education. Hattiesburg, MS: The University of Southern Mississippi School of Social Work.
Bethel, J. (2001). Spirituality in Social Work Practice: Teaching the How-To’s in Graduate and Undergraduate Electives. Proceedings of the 30th Annual Alabama/Mississippi Conference on Social Work Education. Hattiesburg, MS: The University of Southern Mississippi School of Social Work.
2013 Bethel, J. & Girvin, H. Creativity and Spirituality: Connections to Mental
Illness, Pathways to Health. Conference Presentation, Behind the Art:
Reflections on Creativity and Collaboration, Millersville University, April 12,
2013 Bethel, J. & Girvin, H. Lifebooks in Foster Care: Collecting Memories and
Creating Meaning. Poster Presentation, Behind the Art: Reflections on
Creativity and Collaboration, Millersville University, April 12, 2013.
2013 Bethel, J. and Foels, L., Creativity as a Vehicle for Transformation. The
Association for Baccalaureate Social Work Program Directors. South Carolina.
(March 7, 2013)
2013 Foels, L., Rice, K., and Bethel, J. Encounters in Human Diversity: A Hands-on
Approach to Teaching Social Justice. The Association for Baccalaureate Social
Work Program Directors. South Carolina. (March 9, 2013)
2013 Complicated Mourning: Risks, Assessment, and Interventions. Penn State
Hershey Medical Center, Hershey PA (March 5, 2013)
2013 Panelist, Voices From Within, Gallery Reception and Panel Discussion.
Winter Center, Millersville University, February 6, 2013.
2012 Loss and Grief: What It Is and What It Isn’t. CASA of Lancaster County,
2012 Foels, L., Rice, K., and Bethel, J. Developing a Liberatory Consciousness:
Advancing Social Justice. Pennsylvania Chapter of the National Association
of Social Workers, King of Prussia, PA.
2009 Toxic beliefs: Spiritual Assessment and Intervention Strategies with Elders.
Issues on Aging Conference, Hattiesburg, MS.
2008 Healing and Creativity: Life-Books and Foster Care. Forrest County DHS
(Department of Human Services) Hattiesburg, MS.
2007 Grieving and Foster Parenting: Strategies for Serenity. Harrison County DHS,
Gulf Port, MS.
2006 Grief and Natural Disasters: Special Needs of Foster Kids After Katrina.
Forrest County DHS.
2006 Grief and Natural Disasters: Special Needs of Foster Kids After Katrina.
Harrison County DHS.
2005 Grief Issues. Alzheimer’s Association, Mississippi Department of Mental
Health Annual Conference, Choctaw, MS.
2004 Grandparents Raising Grandchildren: Multidimensional Support. Co-
presented with Wesley Belton, Alabama/Mississippi Conference on Social
Work Education, Madison, AL.
2004 Date/Acquaintance Rape: How Education and Social Work Can Address This
Issue. Co-presented with Joseph Bohanon, Alabama/Mississippi Conference
on Social Work Education, Madison, AL.
2003 Strengthening Aging Content in Social Work Education. Co-presented with
Michael Forster, Alabama/Mississippi Conference on Social Work Education,
2003 Balancing Agendas in Patient Care: Social Work and Nursing. Memorial
Hospice Annual Staff Retreat, Educational Component, Gulf Port, MS.
2003 Creating an On-Line Course on Spirituality in Social Work Practice. USM
Techknowledgy [sic] Lunch. Featured Speaker. Hattiesburg, MS.
2002 Soul Food: Spirituality and Social Work Practice for Health and Mental
Health. School of Social Work Annual Colloquium, Keynote Address,
2002 Grief and Bereavement Issues with Children and Adolescents” Pine Belt
Counseling Association, Ellisville, MS.
2002 Aging and Spirituality” Issues on Aging Conference, Petal Association for
Families, Hattiesburg, MS.
2002 A Community-Based Approach to Enhancing Educational Opportunities for
At-Risk Youth. Co-presented with Joseph Bohanon, and Jerome Kolbo,
Alabama/Mississippi Conference on Social Work Education, Tuscaloosa, AL.
2002 Infusing Aging Content into BSW and MSW Curricula. Co-presented with
Tim Rehner, Alabama/Mississippi Conference on Social Work Education,
2002 Posttraumatic Reactions and Issues in the Aftermath of the Terrorist Acts of
September 11. Co-presented with Ray Scurfield. National Association of
Social Workers State Conference, Jackson, MS.
2001 Spirituality in Social Work Practice: Teaching the How-To’s in Graduate and
Undergraduate Electives. Alabama/Mississippi Conference on Social Work
Education, Biloxi, MS.
2001 Working with Families in Grief. Gulf Coast’s Women’s Center for Non-
Violence, Inc. Annual Conference, Gulf Port, MS.
2001 Second-Hand Grief: Preventing Compassion Fatigue. Lookin’ to the Future,
Conference of the Southern Christian Services for Children and Youth,
2001 Social Justice: The Mission Southern Regional Conference, NASW, Closing
Plenary, Biloxi, MS.
2000 Social Work Intervention for Social Justice Issues. Mississippi Valley State
University Annual Social Work Conference, Itta Bena, MS.
1999 Complicated Mourning. Mississippi State Conference on Social Welfare,
1999 Transforming Grief to Growth. Southeast Regional Conference of the
Association for Experiential Education, Long Beach, MS.
1998 Developing and Implementing a Team-Based Preceptor Role. National
Hospice Organization, Annual Symposium, Dallas, TX.