Our team

« Back

Kia J. Bentley, Ph.D.


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 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 more fifteen 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.

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 over fifty journal articles and book chapters on the interface of social work, psychiatric medication and mental illness. 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 and also serves as a guest reviewer for many others, including Psychiatric Services, American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, Best Practices in Mental Health and the Journal of the Society for Social Work and Research.

Bentley is the current chair of the Council on Social Work Education’s national Commission on Research, and past Chair the national professional organization, Group for the Advancement of Doctoral Education in Social Work (GADE). As Chair she commissioned the 2013 update of the GADE Guidelines for Quality in Ph.D. Programs in social work. She has been recognized several times by CSWE’s Women’s Council for her mentorship of doctoral students. Bentley continues to teach in the Ph.D. Program at VCU, including a course in academic writing and a course related to practice theory and intervention research.   


Notable awards, honors and appointments

  • November 2016 Awarded “Best Conceptual” article of the year by journal for:
    Bentley, K. J., Secret, M. & Cummings, C. (2015). The centrality of social presence in online teaching and learning for social work. Journal of Social Work Education, 51, 494-504. doi.org/10.1080/10437797.2015.1043199
  • November 2016 Awarded “Best Quantitative” article of year by the journal for:
    Petr, C.G., Harrington, D., Kim, K., Black, B., Cunningham-Williams, R., & Bentley, K.J. (2015). Quality indicators and expected outcomes for social work PhD programs:  Perceptions of social work students, faculty, and Deans/Directors.  Journal of Social Work Education, 51, 648-667. doi.org/10.1080/10437797.2015.1076272
  • January 2017, named to the Fellowship of the Society for Social Work and Research, for “members who have served with distinction to advance the mission of the Society -- to advance, disseminate, and translate research that addresses issues of social work practice and policy and promotes a diverse, equitable and just society.”
  • May 2014 Authored book The social worker and psychotropic medication chosen as one of “100 Great Books for the Social Worker’s Library” by mswprogramsonline.com

Selected publications

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

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

Charles, J.K.L. & Bentley, K.J. (online first).  Measuring mental health provider-based stigma:  Development and validation of a self-assessment instrument.  Community Mental Health Journal.  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), 384-389doi.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 workSocial 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.

  1. org/10.1093/sw/swu039
  2. org/10.1177/1049731513517145

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