Alumni Spotlight: Matthew Mullins


Matthew Mullins BSW, MSW Class of 2014

Matthew Mullins, a graduate BSW and MSW alumnus of Wheelock College class of 2014, is living the Wheelock mission every day. Located in Rochester NY, Matthew works as an Addictions Therapist in Unity Hospitals Adult Inpatient Rehabilitation Program. Although he came to Wheelock with lots of addictions training and experience under his belt, he feels as though his social work education has really paid off in a big way. Matthew feels, “stronger than ever as a professional helper”.

The rehabilitation program is insurance based and generally designed for a 14 day stay, during which patients undergo an initial detox or ‘stabilization’ period followed by psycho-educational groups, self help meetings and individual therapy. Matthew’s role is to facilitate group and individual sessions with a caseload of about five to eight men. Matthew also assists with care coordination and does family therapy.

The social work education Matthew received as an undergraduate and master’s candidate has helped him to understand his patients through a macro lens. Systemic problems such as poverty, chronic homelessness, continued drug abuse and addiction, and repeat criminal offenders are evident in Rochester and often serve to stigmatize the patients as community members and receivers of managed healthcare. Matthew always keeps these systems in mind while catering to patients’ individual needs, knowing that these are the realities they will face after discharge. Matthew claims, “Sometimes, just simply and openly recognizing the fact that these men may face challenges that other groups of people do not can be an incredibly validating and empowering experience for them. It builds a sense of self-efficacy in them to know that they are overcoming huge odds when they recover.” Over the years Matthew has grown to see his patients and others battling addictions as heroic.

Matthew credits direct and immediate improvements in his work and success as an addictions therapist to the strongly reinforced concepts of justice-based and strength-based work throughout his courses taken at Wheelock.