I received my PhD in Social Work from the University of Toronto in 2000 and my MSW in Social Work from Carleton University in 1993.
Prior to joining Laurier, I worked as a clinical social worker at the (former) Kingston Prison for Women, providing individual trauma counselling. I have been working as a clinician in the field of women’s mental health with a focus on violence against women and childhood abuse since 1991. In addition to my academic career, I maintain a small private psychotherapy practice in Toronto. Part of my private practice involves working with horses in the healing process. Please see www.shoshanapollack.com for more information about my equine facilitated psychotherapy practice.
The primary focus of my research is on the criminalization and imprisonment of women. I have conducted studies on the effectiveness of peer support teams in women’s prisons, women’s routes to law-breaking, treatment and programming for incarcerated women, women’s experiences of post-prison release and the impact of the Walls to Bridges program on both imprisoned women and MSW students.
Other research studies include an assessment of mandatory charging policies on women survivors of domestic violence and a pilot study on the effectiveness of equine facilitated psychotherapy with criminalized women in addiction treatment.
In 2011, I initiated a partnership between the Faculty of Social Work and Grand Valley Institution for Women in Kitchener to develop courses through what was then called the Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program. The Canadian program is now called the Walls to Bridges Program which is a powerful and innovative integrated learning opportunity that brings university enrolled students to study together with incarcerated women at Grand Valley Institution for Women in Kitchener. Due to the generous support of the Lyle S. Hallman Foundation, the national office of the Walls to Bridges Program is housed in the Faculty of Social Work.
For further information about the Walls to Bridges Program, refer to the Walls to Bridges page.
Please see the following media articles about Faculty of Social Work Walls to Bridges (formerly Inside-Out) courses:
Recipient of Laurier's 2017 Award for Teaching Excellence: Innovation in Teaching
I am interested in supervising students in areas of gender violence, criminal justice, critical mental health studies, GLBTQ issues, and trauma and related topics.
I supervise graduate students who approach their work from a critical perspective, including anti-racism, anti-colonization, post-structural, queer, and feminist approaches, among other critical frameworks. Substantive topic areas of student theses and dissertations that I have supervised include immigration and racism, childhood sexual abuse, participatory research practices, indigenous youth activism, criminalization and imprisonment, gender and mental health and sexuality.
Pollack, S. (2016). Building Bridges Between Students: Experiential Learning and Integrative Learning in a Women’s Prison. Journal of Teaching in Social Work, 36 (5).
Pollack, S, & Tiina Eldridge (2016). “Complicity and Redemption: The Boundaries of Scholarly Gazing.” Social Justice: A Journal of Crime, Justice and World Order 42 (2).
Pollack, S. (2012) . An Imprisoning Gaze: Practices of Gendered, Racialized and Epistemic Violence, International Review of Victimology. 19(1) 103–114.
Pollack, S. & Rossiter, A. (2010) Neoliberalism and the Entrepreneurial Subject: Implications for Feminism and Social Work. Canadian Social Work Review 27, 2, 155-169.
Pollack, S. (2010) Labeling Clients ‘Risky’: Social Work and the Neo-Liberal Welfare State. British Journal of Social Work 40 (4): 1263-1278.
Pollack, S. (2009).’You Can't have it both Ways": Punishment and Treatment of Imprisoned Women. Journal of Progressive Human Services, 20 (2): 112–128.
Pollack, S. & K. Brezina (2007) Trauma Counseling with Women Prisoners: Feminist Practice in the Prison Context. Women & Therapy, 29 (3/4): 117-133.
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