Clinical Practice

  • SSW CP 759: Introduction to Clinical Social Work Practice
    Graduate Prerequisites: Required of all students.
    This foundation course teaches the clinical skills needed at various stages of the helping process (i.e., engagement, assessment, goal-setting and treatment planning, intervention and termination), whether the client is an individual, group, or family. Clinical methods are highlighted--what the social worker purposefully does as s/he works with individual clients and larger systems (e.g., groups, families, and communities) and how the social worker reacts and interacts in the helping relationship. The helping relationship is seen as requiring collaboration between clinician and client and the strategic use of clinical skills (e.g., strengthening rapport, assessing needs and strengths, reaching for feelings, identifying goals and expectations, setting limits) throughout the process. The helping relationship is also based on sound social work values and ethics, positive regard for the full range of human diversity, and dedication to social and economic justice. While the course emphasizes ways that clinicians can help clients accomplish goals, it also emphasizes the value of the helping relationship as a vehicle for client growth. Because a major hallmark of effective social work practice is the ability to reflect on one's interactions with individual clients and larger client systems, this course highlights the need to develop the capacity for professional self-reflection (i.e., the ability to observe and critique one's actions in relation to clients, supervisors, and colleagues and the integration of personal and professional "selves"). Core concepts of individual, family, and group intervention, case management, short-term work, and crisis intervention are introduced. Individual methods focus on developing and maintaining the helping relationship. Family methods focus on joining with the family as an entire system when multiple members are available, or when only an individual is available, intervening with the individual while considering influences and implications for the family system. Group work methods concentrate on group types, group formation, and group development.
  • 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
    This advanced group work course is designed for social work students who desire further learning in group practice, to deepen their understanding of the group work method in social work, and for students interested in leadership and supervision roles. Group Work as a method is far-reaching and is utilized across the spectrum of practice, from the micro and clinical interventions to the organizational and macro interventions. The aim of the course is to deepen students' understanding of group dynamics, theories, and method, with a special emphasis on the group-as-a-whole. The relationship between the group and its environment will be woven throughout the course, as will ethics and issues of diversity and difference--class, age, gender, race, ethnicity, religion, and sexual orientation, etc.. Organizationally, the course examines the worker's use of self, the group, program, research, and the environment (although in real life, these aspects of group life are used simultaneously).
  • 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 planning to work with groups of various types and sizes and for those advanced students who wish to further their group work experience. 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 and/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.
  • SSW CP 771: Clinical Practice with Groups
    Graduate Prerequisites: SSW CP 759; Required of all clinical students.
    Students acquire knowledge of group stages (from formation through termination), group types (task-oriented, psycho-educational, support and therapy) and group structure (single-session, time-limited, open versus closed groups). They also develop skills for forming and leading groups. The Mutual-Aid model provides the central organizing framework, showing the worker (a) how to mediate between and among three domains-- individual member, the group as a whole, and the environment, (b) how to respond to dynamics such as transference, countertransference, and issues of power and control, and (c) how to promote client and group empowerment. Building on knowledge and skills from CP 759 (Introduction to Clinical Practice), students learn how to use themselves effectively with diverse populations, in various community and clinical settings, and with differing member problems and concerns. Social and environmental stressors on group members and the group as a whole are considered at all stages of group development and with a variety of group types. Since social workers must have the capacity to assume varying roles in groups, students learn to shift the nature of their participation depending on the situation, for example, to be a colleague in an interdisciplinary team of care providers, to be the leader of a neighborhood task force, and to be a clinician providing psycho-educational services to the parents of mentally ill clients. The greatest opportunity for skill development in this course occurs when students take initiative to organize, lead, or co-lead groups in their placement, and all are encouraged to do so, if this is possible within the nature of the placement.
  • SSW CP 772: Cl.prac. w/ Fam
    Graduate Prerequisites: SSW CP 759; Required of all clinical students.
    This course description is currently under construction.
  • SSW CP 782: Stress and Trauma in The Early Years: Interventions with Young Children and Families
    Graduate Prerequisites: SSW CP 759, 770, 771 and 772.
    This course focuses on interventions for effective practice with young children and families derived from the fields of infant mental health, early development and family systems. Students will gain competency in developmentally appropriate assessment and collaborative evidence-informed/evidence-based treatment of vulnerable young children and their families within an attachment, trauma and systems framework. The role of toxic stress and trauma in a child's development and family life will be explored; prevention and intervention approaches will address how best to ameliorate its harmful impact. Various approaches will be presented and examined in relationship to theories of change, differential assessment, resilience, culturally responsive practice, and privilege. Because the practitioner plays an important role in the change process, students are expected to use the self to engage with course material and deepen their reflective capacities with regard to the clinician-client relationship. Class time will include discussion of course readings, viewing videos, conducting case-based assessments, skills development and other interactive activities. Students will leave the course with a repertoire of analytic and clinical skills to support their practice with vulnerable young children and their families.
  • 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 foundation year curricula 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. Emphasis will be placed on the development of theory, evidence-based models and clinical practice in assessment and intervention with families. Students then concentrate on a few approaches and populations to facilitate developing family-centered therapeutic skills. Possible populations include but are not limited to: impact of trauma on family life and trauma-focused family practice, special issues for foster and adoptive families, substance use and misuse within families and family-centered approaches, clinical practice with military families and clinical approaches to working with LGBTQ families. 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 individuals and 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; or permission of department chair
    This advanced seminar will provide a contemporary overview of special topics within family centered social work practice. Central among these topics will be further clinical skills training through the microanalysis of actual family treatment sessions through videos and role-plays, with a particular focus on making the connection between clinical constructs and their application in clinical work. We will utilize family therapy reflecting teams to help students develop new ideas and approaches with their current caseloads. Several different evidence-based models of treatment will be contrasted to consider their strengths/weaknesses in working with particular family constellations and to explore their overall effectiveness from the perspective of evidence-based practice. Other specific topics may include: 1) Working with families who have experienced trauma; 2) Home-based family treatment; 3) Ethical challenges in working with families; 4) Adoptive and foster family work; 5) Culturally sensitive family practices to more effectively address diversity including issues of race, class, gender, and sexual orientation; other topics based on student interest. Students should come away from the course with a more sophisticated understanding of social work with families, a clearer sense of their own clinical "voice," and the means to continuously improve their own effectiveness as practitioners
  • 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
    This course builds on psychodynamic knowledge and skills gained in the prerequisite courses of CP 770, 771, and 772. Its purpose is to further the learner's understanding of use of professional self and relationships in longer term therapeutic work with a variety of adults at risk due to poverty, domestic and neighborhood violence, lack of social resources, lack of stable and nurturing life path environments, and current barriers to well-being, constructive relating, and self-fulfillment. Object relations, self-psychology, and relational theory inform learning through reading, assignments, class exercises, and case dialogue analysis. Instructor and students problem solve around issues arising in interpersonal work characterized by mutuality and reciprocity between worker and client productive of growth in both. Empathy is practiced as an assessment tool (vicarious introspection), an expression of support and identification, and a medium for the activation of client strengths and growth potentials. Students practice 'being where the client is" in very difficult situations, and the long-term effects of prejudice, injustice, and social marginalization are frequently highlighted in assessments and intervention planning. Students learn to reflect on their own personal development and experiences as potential assets and blocks in aligning themselves well with client stories and reactions. Role plays and assignments help in identifying and correcting misalignments in use of self.
  • 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 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: Theory and Practice with LGBTQ Populations
    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: Substance Use Disorders: Assessment and 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.