Clinical Practice

  • SSW CP 759: Introduction to Clinical Social Work Practice
    Graduate Prerequisites: Required of all students.
    In this foundation clinical practice course, students learn principles and methods for assessment and intervention with individuals, groups and families. Competencies include establishing and maintaining a helping relationship, interviewing, contracting and goal setting, treatment planning and implementation. Students are able to apply appropriate interventions at various stages of the therapeutic relationship for various types of clients in an urban social context. In-class skill practice includes developing rapport, using a strengths perspective, monitoring self-disclosure, reaching for feelings, containing affect, focusing and summarizing.
  • SSW CP 762: Advanced Group Work
    Graduate Prerequisites: SSW CP 759 ; SSW CP 770 ; SSW CP 771 ; SSW CP 772; or permission of department chair
    Building on CP 771, the course elaborates the idea of the group-as-a-whole and focuses intensively on the therapeutic tasks of group formation, attention to structure and maintenance, facilitation of individual need satisfaction, and responsiveness to the agency and community environment. Using various theoretical frameworks and the integration of research findings, students analyze interactions and content of groups from their internships. They apply critical thinking skills and modify their interventions to meet the needs of group members from a range of backgrounds.
  • SSW CP 764: Group Dynamics
    Graduate Prerequisites: SSW CP 759 and SSW CP 771; or permission of department chair
    This advanced seminar in group modalities and dynamics is designed for social work students who are specializing in the group work method. The aim of the seminar is to deepen students' knowledge base and practice with group dynamics and selected group work modalities. The relationship among the group members and between members and the group facilitator(s) is a significant focus in the seminar. Throughout the seminar, emphasis is placed on enhancing students' understanding, application and evaluation of evidence-based group work (EBGW). Attending to issues of ethics and issues of diversity--class, age, gender, race, ethnicity, religion, and sexual orientation -- are woven throughout the seminar. The seminar is organized to include opportunities for a critical analysis of group dynamics, single-session experiential groups, and various group exercises. Priority is given to the further development of the professional 'group worker' in roles as leader, consultant and presenter. A highlighted component of the seminar includes Guest Presenters who are expert in specific group work modalities or with specific populations. The Presenters will aid the students in the seminar to hone a deeper understanding of facilitator interventions and use of self in the group setting.
  • SSW CP 770: Clinical Practice with Individuals
    Graduate Prerequisites: SSW CP 759; Required of all clinical students.
    The purpose of this course is to deepen skills of differential assessment, formulation, and intervention with individuals. Three theoretical approaches guide this work: Cognitive (focusing on thoughts, feelings, and behavior), Behavioral (focusing on monitoring and reinforcing positive behavior), and Psychodynamic (focusing on dysfunctional childhood patterns repeated in the present). Using these perspectives, students analyze videotaped treatment sessions, demonstrate therapeutic approaches through classroom skill-practice, and present cases from their field internships for analysis and discussion. Students also learn to make five-axial clinical diagnoses using the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.
  • SSW CP 771: Clinical Practice with Groups
    Graduate Prerequisites: SSW CP 759; Required of all clinical students.
    Students build on skills learned in CP 759 by examining group work methods with a range of client populations, in various community and clinical settings, and with differing client problems/issues of concern. Attention is paid to race, culture, gender, and class and to social and environmental stressors as students make decisions about group composition, contracting, problem solving and successfully terminating groups
  • SSW CP 772: Clinical Practice with Families
    Graduate Prerequisites: SSW CP 759; Required of all clinical students.
    Students build on family theory, dynamics and skills learned in CP 759. They deepen their ability to build alliances with the family as a whole, assess families using common family assessment tools, and develop hypotheses about the family's experiences, structure and internal dynamics that may contribute to the presenting problem. Particular attention is paid to family structure, roles, rules and life cycle. Students practice the therapeutic techniques of joining and reflecting, employing the genogram to help families think differently about their history, identifying strengths and resilience in the family as a whole, motivating the family to change, and facilitating communication shifts and experimentation with new behavior. Emphasis is places on the clinician's use of self in working with diverse families who present with a range of problems and are seen in various community and clinical settings.
  • SSW CP 785: Family Therapy
    Graduate Prerequisites: SSW CP 759 ; SSW CP 770 ; SSW CP 771 ; SSW CP 772; or permission of department chair
    This advanced practice course builds on CP 772 and enhances the systemic paradigm shift by providing a broad overview of major family therapy approaches and of contemporary issues in and research on family therapy. Students then concentrate on a few approaches and populations to facilitate developing family-centered therapeutic skills for assessment and intervention. The usefulness of utilizing a systems perspective to address issues in an urban context of social justice, at risk-populations and the effects of oppression will be embedded throughout the specific topics addressed in this course. Attention also will be given to diverse client systems and students are encouraged to bring up families they are working with for class discussion. Students observe and study videotapes of family therapists to practice assessment skills, develop an understanding of evidence-based clinical interventions and build proficiency in helping families with communication, organization and expression of feelings. They also explore and evaluate how the different models fit their own personal style. Class participation, including mini-exercises, role-plays, and discussion, will play a large role in augmenting reading assignments, lectures, and tapes.
  • SSW CP 787: Clinical Practice with Couples
    Graduate Prerequisites: SSW CP 759 ; SSW CP 770 ; SSW CP 771 ; SSW CP 772; or permission of department chair
    This course provides an overview of the major theories and techniques of couples and marital therapy with an emphasis on empirically validated approaches to practice with couples. Throughout the course we incorporate an ecological understanding of family systems within the context of the multiple systems in which couple and family life is lived. Specific attention will be paid to the needs of the following populations; same-sex couples, inter-racial and inter-cultural couples; couples who have experienced physical aggression and infidelity; and couples living with chronic illness, histories of sexual abuse, and substance abuse. Students will explore and evaluate how the different models of social work practice with couples fit their own personal styles. Mini-exercises, skill-practice and class discussion play a significant role, as do lectures and viewing videotapes. As a group, students provide an in-class, theory-based instructional presentation and demonstration of a couples counseling session.
  • SSW CP 791: Seminar: Family Therapy
    Graduate Prerequisites: SSW CP 759 ; SSW CP 770 ; SSW CP 771 ; SSW CP 772 ; SSW CP 785; or permission of department chair
    This is the second course in the sequence for Family Therapy Certificate Program students, building on CP 785 by providing increased depth and range of content as well as examining the research base for family systems approaches. The course will explore contemporary issues within the field of family therapy and family centered social work practice. Students will consider several prominent theories of family therapy, their more recent expressions within the professional literature, and how to consider them against the standards of evidenced based practice. In particular, we will explore and critique what actually counts as evidence during clinical treatment in the hope of better defining where theory and practice actually come together. At the completion of the course students will come away with a better understanding of the cutting edge controversies and professional concerns within the family therapy field. Students will also be able to apply new learning to the processes of treatment application and outcome assessment.
  • SSW CP 793: Directed Study
    Directed Study. Approval of instructor needed.
  • SSW CP 794: Clinical Practice with Children
    Graduate Prerequisites: (SSW CP 759 & CP 770 & CP 771 & CP 772) or permission of department chair
    This course focuses on differential assessment and treatment of children and adolescents. It emphasizes activation of an affective therapeutic relationship with children and adolescents, with special attention to transference and countertransference, the distinction between narrative truth and historic truth, and special treatment concerns when working with severely traumatized or mentally ill children and adolescents. Students learn to differentiate between functional, organic, developmental, behavioral, and ethno-cultural factors in assessment of children and adolescents. Specialized treatment techniques include dramatization, metaphorical communication, and various forms of therapeutic play.
  • SSW CP 795: Cognitive and Behavioral Treatment
    Graduate Prerequisites: SSW CP 759 ; SSW CP 770 ; SSW CP 771 ; SSW CP 772; or permission of department chair
    Students learn the theoretical frameworks underlying cognitive and behavioral treatment (CBT) for adults and children including operant and respondent conditioning theory and cognitive models based mainly on A. T. Beck's theories. Students learn cognitive/behavioral analysis (also called case formulation) and assessment of specific problem areas and disorders using students' current child and adult cases. The CBT treatment and session structure, format, and planning is emphasized. Several intervention methods are illustrated and practiced using case examples, video and "live" demonstrations and role plays. These include a variety of reinforcement procedures, assertiveness and social skills training, problem-solving, behavioral activation, exposure procedures (desensitization treatment of anxiety) and cognitive treatments (e.g., cognitive restructuring, working with automatic thoughts and core beliefs). Students distinguish cognitive and behavioral theories as to how they inform a case formulation and selection of intervention. As cognitive behavior change must be transparent and collaborative, special attention is also paid to the client/therapist relationship, application of CBT methods for diverse populations, and ethical issues. Students learn to search and discuss empirical findings regarding effective CBT interventions as well as evaluate the effectiveness of assessments and cognitive and behavioral treatment methods relevant to their client's target problem. Students present their own cases from their field placements to be used in discussion of CBT assessment and intervention methods for specific problems/disorders in order to address the specific needs and considerations relevant to the clientele being served.
  • SSW CP 798: Psychodynamic Practice with Adults
    Graduate Prerequisites: SSW CP 759 ; SSW CP 770 ; SSW CP 771 ; SSW CP 772; or permission of department chair
    Students will expand on knowledge of psychodynamic practice gained in CP 770. They will examine additional theoretical approaches within a psychodynamic framework--Object Relations, Self-Psychology, and Ego Psychology and draw on a strengths perspective and apply these approaches to vulnerable populations and culturally diverse populations in multiple treatment settings. Students will leave the course with an ability to (a) describe and demonstrate the theoretical basis of each psychodynamic approach, (b) assess, analyze and evaluate client needs and treatment progress using a psychodynamic lens, and (c) explain the research that provides support for the psychodynamic approach.
  • SSW CP 799: Brief and Time-Effective Treatment
    Graduate Prerequisites: SSW CP 759 ; SSW CP 770 ; SSW CP 771 ; SSW CP 772; or permission of department chair
    This course surveys a range of brief and time effective treatment models including crisis intervention/single session interventions, solution focused brief therapy, narrative therapy, and stages of change/motivational interviewing. Students will develop skills in brief treatment that can be used with children, adolescents, families, and adults who present with substance use, trauma, depression, anxiety, domestic violence, and other issues of concern in multi-stressed urban populations. Students will acquire understanding of the theoretical and empirical bases, strengths, and limitations of each model. Use of in-class and videotaped role plays along with small group exercises will help students become more creative, flexible, and accountable in their approaches to treatment, and will direct students away from a deficit (pathology) model towards a resource (possibility) treatment model. Students learn to collaborate with clients to create well-formed treatment goals, and to measure change as it occurs over time. Finally, students explore how their own values and beliefs about change may help or hinder clinical practice in the current health care environment.
  • SSW CP 801: Clinical Practice with Adolescents in Social Context
    Graduate Prerequisites: SSW CP 759 ; SSW CP 770 ; SSW CP 771 ; SSW CP 772; or permission of department chair
    This course builds on knowledge and skills for clinical practice with adolescents, but specifically addresses psychosocial issues with economically disadvantaged and troubled urban adolescents. Theoretical material is drawn from a strengths perspective, and the perspectives of ecological-life cycle, psychodynamic, and risk-resiliency. Empathy is viewed as a fundamental integrative construct. Particular attention is paid to social context and to concepts of sexuality, individuation, differentiation, identity foreclosure, moratorium, developmental domains, and the formulation of a social identity. Methods are demonstrated for collaborating with adolescents in setting goals and choosing interventions. Methods to facilitate change include therapeutic relational work (individual and group), case management, and adolescent involvement in self-efficacy skill enhancement programs.
  • SSW CP 803: Clinical Practice with Adult Trauma
    Graduate Prerequisites: SSW CP 759 ; SSW CP 770 ; SSW CP 771 ; SSW CP 772; or permission of department chair
    Students learn different theoretical approaches to trauma and examine clinical strategies for intervening with traumatized adults from diverse backgrounds. Sources of trauma including natural disasters, the refugee and immigrant experience, interpersonal violence, and the accumulation of traumatic events over the life span are discussed in terms of their physical and emotional consequences. Students examine diagnostic issues including PTSD and complex PTSD, and co-occurring psychiatric disorders. Evidence-based interventions and emerging areas of practice with traumatized adult populations will be highlighted. Larger social, cultural and political forces are considered in shaping both exposure to and recovery from traumatic stressors. Finally, the impact of trauma work on clinicians and strategies for self-care and reducing burnout will be a theme of the course.
  • SSW CP 804: Clinical Practice with Childhood Trauma
    Graduate Prerequisites: SSW CP 759 ; SSW CP 770 ; SSW CP 771 ; SSW CP 772; Or permission of department chair.
    Students develop or deepen a working knowledge of different theoretical approaches to trauma and traumatic impact and examine clinical strategies for intervening with traumatized children and adolescents. Multiple types of trauma will be considered ranging from single-incident events to chronic, complex, and developmental trauma. Diagnostic issues, current controversies in the trauma field, and emerging areas of practice with traumatized children and adolescents will be discussed. Emphasis is placed on applying a developmental perspective and on current knowledge regarding the neurobiology of attachment, regulation, and traumatic impact in children and adolescents as the foundation for trauma-focused practice. Students will learn about phase-oriented treatment and study evidence-based models for children from birth through adolescence. Student learning and in-class exercises will focus on developing the specific skills for each model and on case formulation and presentation.
  • SSW CP 806: Clinical Practice with LGBT Persons
    Graduate Prerequisites: SSW CP 759 ; SSW CP 770 ; SSW CP 771 ; SSW CP 772; or permission of department chair.
    This advanced practice course employs affirmative models of clinical practice with LGBT individuals and families. Ecological and strengths-based approaches provide a framework for the course. Additional perspectives include: (1) postmodern perspectives on gender; (2) developmental models for acquiring G/L identity; (3) race and ethnicity, families, youth, and aging; (4) specific challenges facing the LGBT communities such as domestic violence, substance abuse, HIV/AIDS, and how to make agencies safe for LGBT clients and staff; and (5) social work practice with bisexual and transgendered persons. Also addressed will be LGBT individuals living in predominantly hetero-centric environments and ways they cope with these stressors. Material for this course includes relevant research, first person narratives, movies, speakers representing mental health and social service agencies serving LGBT individuals and families, and members of these communities themselves.
  • SSW CP 807: Clinical Practice with Older Adults
    Graduate Prerequisites: SSW CP 759 ; SSW CP 770 ; SSW CP 771 ; SSW CP 772; or permission of department chair
    This course reviews life cycle and other developmental theories informing clinical practice with aging populations. Discussion highlights the impact of poverty, racism, ageism, and changing economics on the bio-psycho-social phenomenology of aging in urban environments. Special issues related to mental health, substance abuse, and cognitive impairment in this population are reviewed. Students learn methods for interviewing, assessing, diagnosing and intervening with older people, their families, and their networks are taught through case analysis and role play.
  • SSW CP 809: Alcoholism and Drug Abuse: Identification and Early Intervention
    Graduate Prerequisites: SSW CP 759 ; SSW CP 770 ; SSW CP 771 ; SSW CP 772; or permission of department chair
    Students learn methods for identification, diagnosis, intervention, and referral of substance-abusing clients and clients with co-occurring mental health problems in a range of settings. The course helps students work with clients who are unaware of their problem or not ready to address it, as well as clients in treatment and those in relapse. Students take drinking/drug histories, assess clients stage of readiness for change, estimate problem severity, and negotiate treatment goals. Attention is paid to family issues, harm reduction approaches, use of evidence-based treatments, and the role of 12-Step Programs in supporting recovery. Teaching methods include lecture, skill practice, video demonstrations, and case consultation.