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SW 750 Advanced Clinical Social Work Practice with Individuals

This course is designed to progress student’s clinical social work skills by broadening students understanding of work with individuals within the person and environment, ecological and strengths based perspectives.  Students will build upon foundation level practice skills by exploring the principles and concepts associated with clinical social work such i.e., the therapeutic alliance, use of professional self, obstacles to change and negotiating difference.

As this is an advanced level course students are expected to build on the foundation level skills acquired within the first year. To that end the text assigned written by Norcross will afford students the opportunity to demonstrate their capabilities as consumers of research. The Norcross text presents various therapeutic concepts thought to be impactful to the therapeutic relationship within the context of various qualitative and quantitative studies. Students will be challenged to utilize their acquired research skills with each reading as they evaluate the empirical status of the therapeutic concepts they are being oriented to. This exercise is intended to strengthen student research skills, improve upon critical thinking and prepare them to be self-reflective autonomous learners. As students navigate through the material they will be exposed to the unique struggles placed upon clients due to culture, class, ethnicity, race, age, sexual orientation, spirituality, ability and gender through the various course readings.

In an effort to prepare students for leadership roles in clinical social work practice students will be exposed to various theoretical models of assessment and intervention. 

Students will explore the traditional model of psychodynamic theory.  This model is thought to be one of the founding assessment and intervention models of our time. Student’s exploration of this model will provide a sound basis for understanding and provide a common reference point among other professionals.  Time limited therapies will be the second concentration area of study.  Students will examine an array of time sensitive therapies including task centered models, crisis intervention, solution focused brief therapy along with cognitive behavioral therapy. Socio political factors have caused a shift in practice that has made it necessary for many agencies to engage in brief therapies. By exposing students to time limited assessment and intervention techniques they will be better prepared to deal with these practice conditions. In addition, the cognitive behavioral therapy model is a widely accepted and heavily researched therapeutic intervention that works well with multiple client populations.  Students will also explore motivational enhancement therapy.  Motivational enhancement therapy is a relatively new theory of treatment and assessment that is gaining recognition and has excellent empirical support for its effectiveness.  Motivational enhancement therapy has been chosen because of its cutting edge approach with mandated clients, namely substance abusers.  Each of these therapeutic approaches will be considered within the context of a vulnerable or at risk population, specifically the aged (psychodynamic), adolescents in vulnerable populations (time limited therapies), and mandated clients (motivational enhancement therapy). 

Students will further their commitment to lifelong learning and strengthen their understanding of evidence based practice.  By teaching the principles of evidence based practices students gain the skill necessary to support self-reflective, autonomous, efficient practice. Students will also be presented with various approaches in self evaluation and the measure of process in order to further self reflection skills.