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Kia J. Bentley, Ph.D., LCSW


Email: kbentley@vcu.edu

Phone: (804) 828-0453

Ph.D., Florida State University
MSSW, University of Tennessee
BASW, Auburn University

Kia J. Bentley, Ph.D. is a tenured professor of social work at Virginia Commonwealth University where she has taught since 1989. She has also served the school in the past as director of the Ph.D. Program (for 13 years) and as Associate Dean for Strategic Initiatives. She is the author of the 2014 book, now in its fourth edition, The social worker & psychotropic medication: Toward effective collaboration with clients, families and providers (with Joseph Walsh, Cengage-Brooks/Cole).   The text is the primary source for the M.S.W. elective course called “Social Work Practice and Psychopharmacology” which she developed and has taught for almost twenty years, including in an online format. She also developed and teaches an elective “Social Work Practice in Community Mental Health” centered on the recovery model of practice and contemporary psychotherapeutic, psychoeducational and skills training approaches to helping.Finally, she teaches the required course “Mental, Emotional and Behavioral Disorders,” a class she also developed centered on the lived experiences of people served by the mental health system and a critical perspective of the DSM.

Bentley has edited two other books: Psychiatric medication issues for social workers, counselors and psychologists (Haworth Press), and Social work practice in mental health: Contemporary roles, tasks, and techniques (Brooks/Cole). She has published fifty journal articles and book chapters on the interface of social work, psychiatric medication and mental illness and has presented extensively at national conferences on the topic. Recent research projects include a study on the medication-related experiences of incarcerated women and another about the professional identity of psychiatrists and their approach to communication with clients about medication. These follow-up studies of decision-making about psychiatric medication among pregnant and postpartum women, and psychiatric medication, meaning and identity. She is a long-time consulting editor for the Journal of Social Work Education where she has twice been awarded “Reviewer of the Year.” Dr. Bentley also serves as a guest reviewer for many other journals, including Psychiatric Services, American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, Best Practices in Mental Health and the Journal of the Society for Social Work and Research.

Dr. Bentley recently ended her tenure on the Board of Directors of the national social work educator’s professional organization called the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), but still serves as immediate past-Chair of their Commission on Research, where she works with colleagues to help establish the organization’s research priorities, expand the relevance of their educational databases, and create supports for teaching and doing research.   She has also been an active accreditation site visitor for CSWE since the early 90s, and formerly served two terms on their Women’s Commission and one term on their Commission on Accreditation. She also chaired the national professional association of doctoral program directors called Group for the Advancement of Doctoral Education in Social Work (GADE) where she commissioned the 2013 update of the GADE Guidelines for Quality in PhD Programs in Social Work.  Dr. Bentley has been recognized by CSWE’s Women’s Council for her mentorship of doctoral students and beginning faculty members. She continues to teach in the PhD program at VCU, including a course in academic writing and a course related to practice theory and intervention research.     

Notable awards, honors and appointments

Selected publications

Bentley, K.J., Mansini, M., Jacob, A. & McLeod, D.M. (in press).  Teaching research through the lens of social justice, human rights and diversity. Journal of Social Work Women and Criminal Justice.

Casey, R.C. & Bentley, K.J. (online first). Psychotropic medication experiences of incarcerated women: Qualitative inquiry into conundrums of access and identity. Women and Criminal Justice

Cummings, C.R. & Bentley, K.J. (online first).  Exploring dimensions of wellness among people with severe mental health challenges: Connection, awareness, Journal of Psychosocial Rehabilitation and Mental Health. doi:10.1007/s40737-018-0118-0.

Bentley, K.J., Cummings, C.R., Casey, R.C. & Kogut, C. (2018). Professional identity and shared decision-making among psychiatry residents:  Designing a brief teaching module. Journal of Mental Health Education, Training and Practice, 13(2), 112-123.

Jordan, J., Patel, N., & Bentley, K.J. (2017).  Emerging adult identity following adolescent experiences with psychotropic medications. Journal of  Human Behavior in the Social Environment, 27(7), 694-705 doi.10.1080/10911359.2017.1327390

Charles, J.K.L. & Bentley, K.J. (2018).  Measuring mental health provider-based stigma:  Development and validation of a self-assessment instrument.  Community Mental Health Journal, 54, 33-48.  doi.org/10.1007/s10597-017-0137-4

Bentley, K.J. & Casey, R.C. (2017). Incarcerated women’s experiences and beliefs about psychotropic medication: An empirical study.  Psychiatric Services, 68(4), 384-389. doi.org/10.1176/appi.ps.201600078

Bentley, K.J., Cohen-Filipic, K., & Cummings, C.R. (2016). Approaching parental guilt, shame, and blame in a helping relationship: Multiple methods for teaching and learning.  Journal of Teaching in Social Work, 36(5), 490-502. doi.org/10.1080/08841233.2016.1238024

Charles, J.L.K. & Bentley, K.J. (2016).  Stigma as an organizing framework for understanding the early history of community mental health and psychiatric social work. Social Work in Mental Health, 14(2), 149-173. doi.org/10.1080/15332985.2014.964448

Secret, M.C., Bentley, K.J. & Kadolph, J. (2016). Student voices speak quality assurance: Continual improvement in online social work education. Journal of Social Work Education, 52(1), 30-42. doi.org/10.1080/10437797.2016.1112630

Cohen-Filipic, K. & Bentley, K.J. (2015).  From every direction: Guilt, shame, and blame among parents of adolescents with co-occurring challenges. Child & Adolescent Social Work Journal, 32, 443-454. doi.org/10.1007/s10560-015-0381-9

Bentley, K.J., Price, S.K. & Cummings, C. (2014). A psychiatric medication decision support guide for social work practice with pregnant and postpartum women. Social Work, 59(4), 303-313.

Cummings, C. R. & Bentley, K.J. (2014). Contemporary health-related decision aids: Tools for social work practice. Social Work in Health Care, 53,  762-775.doi.org/10.1080/00981389.2014.944252

Harrington, D., Petr, C.G., Black, B., Cunningham-Williams, R., & Bentley, K.J. (2014). Quality Guidelines for Social Work PhD Programs.  Research on Social Work Practice, 24(3), 281-286.

Bentley, K.J. (2013).  Toward a model of doctoral program evaluation in social work: A 10 year retrospective of one Ph.D. program’s assessment experiences. Journal of Social Work Education, 49(1), 30-47. doi.org/10.1080/10437797.2013.755089

Price, S.K. & Bentley, K.J. (2013). Psychopharmacology decision-making among pregnant and postpartum women and health providers: Informing compassionate and collaborative women’s health care. Women & Health, 53(2), 154-172. doi.org/10.1080/03630242.2013.767303

Bentley, K.J. (2010). Psychiatric medication and meaning-making in a residential program for adults with serious mental illness. Qualitative Social Work, 9(4), 479-499. doi.org/10.1177/1473325010367822