Book: The Man in the White Sharkskin Suit by Lucette Lagnado

Clinical Title: The Immigrants’ Challenge of Adjusting to a New Culture

Presenters: Sylvia Gentry, LCSW and Marta Zehner, LCSW

Date: Sunday, November 18, 2018
Time: 10:00am – 1:00 pm | CEs: 3
(Please plan to arrive by 9:30 for a potluck breakfast and socializing.)
Place: Philadelphia, PA (19119)
(Exact location will be emailed to you upon registration.) 

Book Description:
This memoir of the author’s father, a successful Egyptian businessman and boulevardier who, dressed in his signature white sharkskin suit, makes deals and trades in Cairo’s most upscale night spots. Surrounded by family, Lagnado’s father marries in his 40s and has four children. Living a life of status and luxury, the family is forced to flee from a culture they have known for generations to an unknown destination. By this time, the author’s father is in his early sixty’s and partially disabled due to a botched surgery on a broken bone. The family is only permitted to take $200 with them as they leave Egypt, still unsure of their ultimate destination. They arrive in New York, destitute and dependent on others, a far cry from their previous status.

Focus of Clinical Discussion:
This is a story of immigration and its toll on a family. Though the circumstances of this family are different from many current immigrants, their loss of culture, support, and status reminds us of the hurdles many immigrants face when moving to this country.
This story also makes clear the pitfalls of judgment on a family’s opportunities for resettlement in a new country. As Clinical Social Workers, we are reminded of the importance of understanding and respecting the impact of our clients’ culture. As our clients open themselves to us, we are called upon to view their struggles from their perspective.

Clinical Objectives:

  1. Explore the impact of culture on an immigrant family, and the barriers each person faces as they move into a new country.
  2. Discuss the developmental stages of each family member and the impact of their stage on their capacity to move into a new culture.
  3. Discuss the importance of recognizing each person’s strengths in developing a plan for their resettlement.
  4. Explore the impact of current immigration policy and practice on today’s immigrants.

About the Presenters:
Sylvia Gentry, LCSW has had 15 years of experience as Director of Residential and Day Treatment at the Children's Home of Cincinnati, as well as ten years of experience as Director of Case Management at the Greater Cincinnati Behavioral Health Services. In addition, she has had a private practice with adolescents, adults, couples and families. Since moving to Philadelphia twelve years ago, she has worked for the Bucks County Behavioral Health System, and supervised individuals working towards their LCSW. Sylvia has worked with a wide range of people from different cultural backgrounds.
Marta Zehner, LCSW, BCD has been practicing in the field of social work for almost 50 years. She received her degree from Bryn Mawr Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research in 1969. In addition she has been trained in Family Therapy, Gestalt Theory and Therapy, Motivational Interviewing and several areas of specialty. Ms. Zehner has been an adjunct faculty member for The Bryn Mawr Graduate School of Social Work and Research, teaching Clinical Social Work, Racism and Gestalt Theory and Therapy, as well as being a field liaison for the school. She has also taught and been a liaison for the University Of Pennsylvania Graduate School Of Policy and Practice.

Cancellation Policy:
There is a $5 non-refundable administrative fee for any cancellation up to 48 hours prior to this program. No refund will be issued if less than 48 hours’ notice is given for this program.

This program is presented and hosted by PSCSW members. Both the presenter and host put a lot of time and preparation to make sure that attendees are receiving a wonderful program and feel welcome at the program. Just as in your professional life when someone cancels last minute, it has an impact on you. Please be cognizant of this when you register for this program.

Participants who attend this program must be present for its entirety in order to get the three (3) continuing education credits.

Continuing Education Credits:
FOR PENNSYLVANIA SOCIAL WORKERS, MARRIAGE AND FAMILY THERAPISTS, AND PROFESSIONAL COUNSELORS: This program is approved for credits for professional workshops sponsored by the Pennsylvania Society for Clinical Social Work, a state affiliate of the Clinical Social Work Association listed in Section 47.36 of Title 49, Chapter 47 of the PA Code, State Board of Social Work Examiners. This program is also approved for credits for professional workshops for marriage & family therapists (Section 48.36) and professional counselors (Section 49.36).
FOR NEW JERSEY SOCIAL WORKERS: This program is approved for clinical credits. Programs or courses approved by boards that license social work practice in other states are a valid source of continuing education credit (N.J.A.C. 13:44G-6.4(c)10).

PSCSW Members - Before you begin any registration, you must log in to the website to pay the member rate. If you register without logging in, you will pay at the nonmember rate. If you need assistance logging in, please contact the PSCSW office at:

  • November 18, 2018
    10:00 am - 1:00 pm