University The Jesuit University of New York


Elaine P. Congress

B.A. Brown University Magna cum Laude
M.A.T Yale University in English
M.S.S.W. Columbia University
M.A. in Psychology, New School for Social Research,
 D.S.W. City University of New York

Professor and Associate Dean
Graduate School of Social Service

113 W. 60th Street
Lowenstein 426E
New York, NY 10023



Dr. Elaine Congress is a Professor and Associate Dean for Continuing Education and Extra-Mural Programs at Fordham University Graduate School of Social Service in New York City. She has also served as Director of the Doctoral Program.

Dr.  Congress is a past President of the New York City Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW).   She has headed the NASW Ethics Committee and has also been active in PACE, the political action committee of NYC NASW.    Dr. Congress has also served on the National NASW Board of Directors. In addition to her many publications on cultural diversity as well as social work ethics and education, she has made over 70  national and  international  presentations  on cultural diversity, social work ethics, and social work education

Dr,  Congress has written extensively in the area of social work ethics, cultural diversity and social work education, including seven books and over fifty  professional journal articles and book chapters.   Beginning with her doctoral dissertation on ethical decision making among social work supervisors, Dr. Congress has taught, presented, published extensively and conducted research on ethical issues and dilemmas, as well as cultural diversity in social work practice and education.   Her professional journal articles and book chapters have focused on dual relationships, teaching social work ethics, resolving ethical dilemmas, confidentiality, social group work, empowering communities, ethical issues in administration, and groups for immigrant children. In addition, she has written on crisis intervention with diverse populations.

 Dr. Congress developed the  the culturagram,  a family assessment tool she developed for assessing and working with culturally diverse families.  The culturagram was first featured in the November, 1994 issue of Families in Society and revised in Advances in Social Work (2000) and Social Work Desk Reference (2002, 2005) .  The culturagram  has been used in work with children and families of color, immigrants and refugees,  as well as in work with families affected by domestic violence and elder abuse.   In addition to a number of journal articles on the culturagram, there is also a podcast on the culturagram at

 Her most recent book Social Work with Immigrants and Refugees: Legal Issues, Clinical Skills and Advocacy (Springer, 2009) co-edited with a lawyer is designed to help social workers increase their knowledge of legal and social issues  in working  with immigrant and refugee clients and their families.

 Her book on Multicultural Perspectives in Working with Families (Springer, 1997, 2005) ) examines assessment, life cycle, and practice issues from a cultural perspective.   The third edition of this book is now in press.

 Another of  her books,  Social Work Values and Ethics: Identifying and Resolving Professional Dilemmas (1999, Wadsworth ) presents the ETHIC model of decision-making to use in identifying and resolving ethical dilemmas in social work practice.    This book has also been  translated into Korean.    Most recently she published a book Teaching Social Work Values and Ethics: A Curriculum Resource  (CSWE, 2009) to help social work educators infuse ethics content into their courses.

 Currently Dr. Congress is  on the International Federation of Social Work (IFSW) team at the United Nations and the North American representative to the IFSW International Ethics Committee.   She is also a Governing Councillor for the social work section of the American Public Health Association (APHA) and a Fellow at the New York Academy of Medicine (NYAM). 

Before entering academia, Dr. Congress worked as a practitioner, supervisor, and administrator at a community mental health clinic.   She is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW-R ) in New York State.

Primary Research Interests:

  • Cultural Diversity
  • Social Work Values and Ethics
  • Immigrants and Refugees
  • International Social Work
  • Social Work Education

Professional Leadership Positions   (APHA, CSWE,  IFSW, NASW)


2010                                        APHA, Governing Councilor, Social Work Section


2009 to Present                    Council of Social Work Education (CSWE), Council on Publications,

2012                                        CSWE, Council on Publications, Chair


2009 to 2012                          NGO DPI Executive Committee, United Nations  


2010 to 2012                          Chair of Resource Center Subcommittee,

NGO DPI Executive Committee, United Nations 


2006 to 2012                         CSWE, Continuing Education Network (CENET) chair


2005                                       NASW, National Board of Directors, Region II Representative


2003 to Present                    IFSW, UN Team Representative

                                               Executive Committee on Indigenous Peoples (Secretary)

                                               Executive Committee on Migration


2002  to Present                  IFSW, North American Representative

                                                      Permanent Committee on Ethical Issues




Congress, E. and Gonzalez, M. (in press).  Multicultural perspectives in working with families. (3rd edition). New York : Springer Publishing Company.

Congress, E.; Black, P.; & Strom-Gottfried, K. eds. (2009) Teaching social work values and ethics: A curriculum resource.  Alexandria , VA : CSWE.

Chang-Muy, F. and Congress, E.  eds. (2008). Social work with immigrants and refugees: Legal issues, clinical skills, and advocacy : New York : Springer Publishing Company.

Congress. E. and Gonzalez, M. (2005). Multicultural perspectives in working with families (2nd ed.) New York : Springer Publishing Company.

Congress, E. (2005) Social work values and ethics: Identifying and resolving professional dilemmas. (Translated into Korean).  Singapore : Wadsworth , Division of Thomson Learning.

Black, P.; Congress, E.; and Strom-Gottfried, K. (2002). Teaching social work values and ethics: A curriculum resource.  Alexandria , VA : CSWE

Congress, E. (1999). Social work values and ethics: Identifying and resolving professional  dilemmas.  Belmont , CA: Wadsworth

Congress, E. (ed.). (1997).  Multicultural perspectives in working with families. New York : Springer.


Professional Journal Articles

Weaver, H. and Congress, E. (2009). 'Indigenous People in a Landscape of Risk: Teaching Social Work Students About Socially Just Social Work Responses'   Journal of Ethnic And Cultural Diversity in Social Work,18(1), 166-179

Congress, E. and Kim, W. (2007).  A Comparative Study on Social Work Ethical Codes in Korea and the United States : Focused on Confidentiality, Dual Relationships, Cultural Diversity and Impaired Colleagues. Korean Journal of Clinical Social Work  4 (2).

Congress, E. and McAuliffe, D. (2006). Professional ethics: Social work codes in Australia and the United States International Social Work 49(2), 165-176.

Apgar, D.. and Congress, E. (2005). Ethical issues in social work research. Journal of Social Service Research  32(2), 61-80.

Apgar, D. and Congress, E. (2005). Authorship credit: A national study of social work educators’ beliefs.  Journal of Social Work Education 41(1), 101-112.

Congress, E. (2004). Cultural and ethnic issues in working with culturally diverse patients and their families:  Use of the culturagram to promote cultural competency in health care settings. Social Work in Health Care 39 (3/4), 249-262.

Congress, E. (2002)  Social work ethics for educators.  Journal of Teaching in Social Work., 22(1/2), 151-166.

Congress, E. (2002). Using culturagrams with culturally diverse families.  In A. Roberts & G. Greene. Social Work Desk Reference (57-61). New York : Oxford University Press.

Congress, E. (2001). Dual relationships in social work education: Results of a national survey.  Journal of  Social Work Education 37(2), 255-266.

Congress, E. (2000). What social workers should know about ethics: Understanding and resolving practice dilemmas.  Advances in Social Work 1 (1), 1-25.

Gutheil, I. and Congress, E. (2000).  Resiliency in older people: A paradigm for practice. In E. Norman , Resiliency enhancement: Putting the strengths perspective into social work practice. (pp. 40-52). New York Columbia University Press.

Anastas, J. & Congress, E. (1999). Philosophical issues in doctoral education.  Journal of  Social    Work  Education.35(1), 143-153.

Rock, B. & Congress, E. (1999). The new confidentiality for the 21st century within a managed care environment. Social Work 44 (3), 253-262.

Congress, E. (1997). The value dilemmas of advising: Significant issues in a Code of Ethics for faculty advisors.  Journal of Teaching in Social Work 14 (1/2), 89-110.

 Congress, E. & Lynn, M. (1997). Social group work in the community: Navigating the slippery slope of ethical dilemmas.  Social Work in Groups, 20(3), 61-74.

Congress, E. (1996).  Dual Relationships in academia: Dilemmas for social work educators. Journal of Education in Social Work 32(3), 329-338.

Congress, E. (1994).  The use of culturagrams to assess and empower culturally diverse families  Families in Society 75 (9), 531-540.                  

Congress, E. and Lynn , M. (1994).  Group work programs in public schools: Ethical dilemmas and cultural   diversity.  Social Work in Education 16(2), 107-114.

 Congress, E. and Chernesky, R. (1993). Representative payee programs for the elderly: Administrative, clinical and ethical issues. Journal of Gerontological Social Work 21(1/2), 77-93.

Congress, E. (1993). Teaching ethical decision-making to a diverse community of students: Bringing practice into the classroom. Journal of Teaching in Social Work 7(2), 23-36.

Congress, E. (1992). Ethical decision-making of social work supervisors.  The Clinical Supervisor 10(1), 157-169

Congress, E. (1992). Ethical teaching of multicultural students: Reconsiderations of social work values for educators. Journal of Multicultural Social Work 2(2), 11-23.     

Congress, E. (1992). Unmet needs, service delivery, and practice issues with rape victims.  The Justice Professional 7(1), 1-15.

Congress, E. and Lyons, B. (1992). Cultural differences in health beliefs:  Implications for social work practice in health care settings. Journal of Social Work Practice in Health Care 17(3), 81-96.

 Book Chapters

Congress, E. (2012). Social work with refugees. In D. Elliott and U. Segal, editors).
Refugees worldwide
Volume 4 Law, Policy, and Programs (pp. 197-218). Santa Barbara, CA: Praeger.

Congress, E. (2012).  Global ethical principles and dilemmas. in L.M. Healy & R.J. Link   
Handbook of International Social Work:  Human Rights, Development and the Global
Profession (
pp. 297-302.). New York:  Oxford University Press

Congress, E. (2011). Culturagram use with culturally diverse families. In  M. Craft-Rosenberg and S. Pehler, Encyclopedia of Family Health,  (pp. 259-264.) Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage

Congress, E. (2011) Gestalt Theory and Social Work Treatment in Francis Turner,  Social Work Treatment: Interlocking Theoretical Approaches (5th ed.) (255-270) New York: Oxford University Press.

Congress, E. (2010). Codes of ethics. In M. Gray and S. Webb, Ethics and value perspectives in social work. (pp. 19-30)  London: Palgrave Macmillan.

Weaver, H. and Congress, E. (2010). The ongoing impact of colonization: Man-made trauma and Native Americans. In A. Kalayjian and D. Eugene, eds. . Mass trauma and emotional healing around the world. Volume 2 (pp.        211- 226.)  Santa Barbara , CA : Prager .

Congress, E. (2008).  The culturagram. In Al Roberts, Social Work Desk Reference (Second Edition.) (pp. 969-975)   New York : Oxford University    Press.

Congress, E. (2008)    Comparative Ethics. Encyclopedia of Social Work (20th Edition).  New York : Oxford  University Press.

Congress, E. (2008). Individual and family development theory.  In P. Lehman and N. Coady, Theoretical perspectives for direct social work practice: A generalist-eclectic  approach. (2nd edition). New York : Springer Publishing Company.

Congress, E. (2007). Ethical practice in forensic social work. In A. Roberts and D. Springer, Social work in juvenile   and criminal justice settings. (pp. 75-86.

Congress, E. (2006). Teaching social work values, ethics, and human rights. In  Social work around the world IV. Berne, Switzerland : IFSW.

Congress, E. and Brownell, P. (2006). Application of the culturagram with culturally and ethnicially diverse battered women. In A. Roberts, Battered women and their families. ( New York : Springer Publishing Company).

Congress, E (2004). Crisis Intervention and Diversity: Emphasis on  a Mexican Immigrant Family's Acculturation     Conflicts.  In  P. Meyer, Paradigms of Clinical Social Work, Volume 3, Emphasis on Diversity(pp 125-144).  New York : Brunner-Routledge.

Congress, E. (2001). Ethical issues in work with culturally diverse children and their families. In N.B. Webb, . Culturally diverse parent-child and family relationships(pp. 29-53). New York : Columbia University        Press.

Congress, E. (2001). Individual and family development theory.  In P. Lehman and N. Coady, Theoretical perspectives for direct social work practice: A generalist-eclectic  approach. (pp.83 -104. New York :   Springer Publishing Company

Congress, E. and Sealy, Y.  (2001). The role of social work ethics in empowering clients and communities In R. Perez-Koenig and B. Rock, Editors.  Social Work in the Era of Devolution: Toward a Just Practice.    (pp.  305-330).  New York : Fordham University Press.

Congress, E. (2000). Crisis intervention with culturally diverse families.  In. A. Roberts, (2nd Ed), Crisis Intervention Handbook. (pp. 431-449). New York : Oxford University Press.

Congress, E. (1996). Gestalt theory and social work practice.  In F. Turner (Ed.), Social work treatment  (4th Ed.). (pp. 341-361). New York : The Free Press.

Congress, E. (1996). Is the Code of Ethics as applicable to agency executives as it is to direct service practitioners? Yes.  In E Gambrill and R. Pruger, Controversial issues in social work ethics. (pp. 137- 150). Boston : Allyn and Bacon.

  Congress, E. (1996).  Family crisis - Life cycle and bolts from the blue: Assessment and treatment.  In A. Roberts       (Ed.). Crisis management in brief treatment. (pp. 142-159). Chicago : Nelson-Hall.

Congress, E. (1995).  Clinical issues in time-limited treatment with women.  In A. Roberts (Ed.), Crisis intervention    and time-limited cognitive treatment. (pp. 215-230.) Newbury Park , CA.: Sage Publications.

Congress, E. and Lynn , M. (1995). The use of groups to promote cultural sensitivity among social work students. In R. Salmon & R. Kurland. Group work practice in a troubled society. (Pp. 73-87).York: Haworth Press.

Congress, E. (1995). Gestalt. In Encyclopedia of Social Work(19th Ed.)  Washington : NASW Press.

Congress, E. and Johns, M. (1994) Aging and ethnicity. In I. Gutheil (Ed.), Work with older persons: Challenges and opportunities.(pp. 65-84).  New York : Fordham University Press..

Crisis Intervention Handbook: Assessment, Treatment, and ResearchCongress, E. (1990). Crisis intervention with Hispanic clients in an urban mental health In A. Roberts (ed.), .   (pp. 221-236).  Belmont , CA Wadsworth Publishing.

Electronic Publications

Congress, E.. “Immigrants and Refugees.” Oxford Bibliographies in Social Work. Ed. Edward Mullen. New York: Oxford University Press, July 24, 2012.

Singer, J. B. (Host). (2008, December 1). Visual assessment tools: The Culturagram - interview with Dr. Elaine Congress [Episode 46]. Social Work Podcast. Podcast retrieved 04/20/2009,  from

Singer, J. B. (Host). (2009, February 16). Social work with immigrants and refugees: Interview with Elaine Congress, Ph.D. and Fernando Chang-Muy, J.D. [Episode 48]. Social Work Podcast. Podcast retrieved 04/20/2009, from