Field Education

 

The School of Social Work is well-known for its model of field education. Its strength lies in the fact that it is an educationally-directed, hands-on learning experience wherein students develop their social work practice skills in an agency setting. Faculty, community social work practitioners, and students partner in ways that are designed to best prepare students with the skills and expertise needed for a successful career in social work.

PROGRAM OVERVIEW

Students in the BSW, Full-Time MSW, and Part-Time MSW programs are placed in Field Units and then are placed in social work practice settings tied to that Field Unit. Field Units provide a conceptual base for practice as well as a supportive environment to learn, critique, and consult.

  • Field Units are organized around a social problem area, field of practice, or a client population. Each unit has a range of field placement agencies and settings appropriate to its theme.
  • The field education experience for Generalist Practice MSW students is designed to provide a generalist practice perspective and direct practice experience. The focus is on learning and applying analytical and intervention skills within an ethically based, problem-focused approach. Such an approach affords opportunities for a variety of system interventions within a particular practice situation.
  • Advanced Generalist Practice MSW students’ field education experience shifts its focus to advanced practice skill development and provides an integrated way to link field experiences with course work in the context of the student’s specialization and focus area.
  • Field faculty have scholarly as well as professional involvement in their particular areas of expertise; many have made influential contributions to social work practice.

WISCONSIN BACKGROUND CHECK

Social work students should be advised that Wisconsin State Statutes require the State Department of Justice to conduct background checks on all potential field education students prior to the field placement. See the Field Education Handbook in the Student Resources pages for the link to order and pay for the background check online.

FIELD PROGRAM EVENTS AND VIDEOS

Upcoming field program events can be found on the Social Work calendar. Many field program events are recorded and available for viewing on YouTube. Videos include workshops, presentations, and student perspectives.

FOR MORE INFORMATION

For additional resources on field units, the agencies they work with, and field course expectations see the Field Education Handbook, found on the Student Resources pages. Field unit availability may vary from year to year because of curriculum needs, personnel changes, or funding. Please be aware of deadlines and other Important Dates for the Field Program, also found in the Field Education Handbook on the Student Resources pages.

FACES OF FIELD


Audrey M. Conn

Audrey M. Conn
Clinical Associate Professor; Director of Field Education

What’s your role in field? As the Director of Field Education I am responsible for the policies and practices of the Field Education Program.

What’s your favorite thing about field? One of my favorite things about field education is the opportunity to engage and partner with students, agency supervisors, and field faculty as agents of change. I also enjoy staying in contact with students after graduation and hearing about the many ways our alum impact their communities as practicing social workers.

What’s your (current) favorite poster in the SSW? The many pieces of artwork by my daughter that beautifully decorate my office 🙂 Also, the Foster Care Awareness poster on the 2nd floor.


Amanda Ngola

Amanda Ngola
Clinical Assistant Professor; Associate Director of Field Education

What’s your role in field? As a member of the Field Office, I oversee field education for the Part-Time MSW Program (Madison and Eau Claire sites). This means that I support the field faculty, address programmatic and student concerns, and plan field events like the Agency Supervisor Workshop, Field Keynote Address and Field Orientation.

What’s your favorite thing about field? I love to feel the energy and excitement at graduation when students’ effort and hard work has culminated in such a tremendous accomplishment!

What’s your (current) favorite poster in the SSW? My favorite poster at the Eau Claire site is the photograph of an African-American girl drawing with chalk on a sidewalk! In Madison, there is a colorful hand painted mural that reads “be the change you want to see in the world.”  Both of these are my favorites because I find them inspirational, colorful and bright!


Amy Basel

Amy Basel 
Field Program Assistant

What’s your role in field? I get the required field forms out to students and assist with processing the student forms and field education documents. I help coordinate agency supervisor information, affiliation agreements, and field events. I also assist with information regarding background checks and help the field office provide CEU certificates for participants attending SSW sponsored events.

What’s your favorite thing about field? The people I work with are wonderful and I enjoy seeing the student’s learning through the various projects and programs that they work on in field education. My favorite thing is to see all of the agencies and supervisors that our students work, and I especially like being able to help out the wonderful field faculty and staff with any helpful information regarding field forms and events.

What’s your (current) favorite poster in the SSW? I think my favorite is the painting by the elevator on the 1st floor (with the quote “be the change” coming out of the school) and the Tamara Grigsby quote as you leave the building.

I don’t know why, but I also like the posters with the people and quotes, (Ghandi, Elenor Roosevelt, Nelson Mandela…), but maybe that’s just because I take the same way around the building to leave and see it every day.

Below is a listing of our Generalist Field Units. Click on a link to view a specific unit or scroll down to browse. Note that not all participating agencies listed may be able to take students in a specific year. The listings are meant to provide the students with a general idea of possible placements.

Social Work Practice in Community Agencies
Social Work Practice in Community Mental Health Agencies
Social Work Practice in County Human Services
Social Work Practice in Intellectual and other Disabilities
Social Work Practice in Juvenile and Criminal Justice
Social Work Practice in Public and Private Child Welfare
Social Work Practice with Older Adults


Social Work Practice in Community Agencies

Description
This unit provides opportunities to work with human service agencies and community programs. The practice perspective is generalist social work in direct and indirect services for individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities. Also available is an opportunity to work in a multicultural agency setting serving persons of diverse ethnic, cultural, linguistic and national backgrounds. The primary purpose of the field placement and seminar is to provide generalist practice opportunities for the development, integration and application of the competencies that are met through observable behaviors. Theory and concepts learned in the classroom are integrated with practice opportunities, fostering the implementation of evidenced-informed practice.

The emphasis in this unit is on problem-solving and multi-method, evidence-informed interventions with active consultation, support, and teamwork from the student unit, agency staff, faculty, and other professional relationships. The integrative seminar provides an arena for student presentations, guest presentations, and other seminar activities. Content areas include learning styles; ethical dilemmas and ethical decision making; diversity; cultural competence; social justice and human rights; resiliency; dance movement therapy; grief, domestic violence; educational and advocacy services. Students have input on topics for lecture topics and guest presentations for second semester.

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Social Work Practice in Community Mental Health Agencies

Description
This unit has been developed for generalist practice year students (BSW and first year MSW students) wanting to learn generalist social work practice in settings providing services to people with serious and persistent mental illness who are eighteen years of age and older. The placement settings include private non – profit mental health agencies, primarily providing comprehensive community support services.

As field education comprises an integral piece of social work education, the primary purpose of the field placement and seminar is to provide an opportunity to apply and integrate theoretical social work material with hands – on learning experiences to achieve the competencies for generalist practice. Skill development areas include: building empowering relationships, case management, assessment of situations and problem formulations, action planning (which involves collecting data), clarifying values, understanding power dynamics and social justice, making decisions, implementing change strategies, completing evaluations, and termination. Content and practice areas include: professionalism, ethics and ethical decision – making, human rights, understanding the contexts that shape practices, cultural competence, advocacy, and social work practice with diverse populations through the provision of consumer centered recovery – oriented community services to people with mental health and substance misuse disorders.

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Social Work Practice in County Human Services

Description
This is a county (public) human/social service agency unit with practice including both direct and indirect services with clients, participants and communities. Students are involved in child welfare, child protective services, juvenile delinquency, foster care, institutional reintegration and community social work. Field placement activities include individual and family counseling, child and family assessment, case management, juvenile court services, foster care services, institutional reintegration, group work, neighborhood and community services and overall program planning. Students in this unit may have field placement settings in voluntary community agencies that work collaboratively with the county human services department. Students gain a solid understanding of the place of a county human service agency in the human services/child and family welfare system. Placements provide opportunities to learn, develop and demonstrate competencies through behaviors in all or most of the required social work competency areas. Field placements available through this unit are primarily located in Dane and surrounding counties.

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Social Work Practice in Intellectual and other Disabilities

Description
This field unit’s focus is on social work with persons with intellectual and other disabilities and their families. Through direct and indirect practice students work with individuals, families, organizations and communities to enhance the quality of life for persons with disabilities. Guided by the principles of normalization, self – determination and inclusiveness, the focus is on creating and strengthening personal and environmental conditions that enable and support people with disabilities to lead satisfying lives in the community. Students complete their field work with community based agencies and organizations supporting people with disabilities and their families. The integrative seminar will utilize group work, faculty, student and guest presentations, multi – media and experiential activities.

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Social Work Practice in Juvenile and Criminal Justice

Description
The focus of this unit is direct social work practice in juvenile and adult criminal justice community and institutional settings. The unit focuses on helping students conceptualize client typologies related to social responses and interventions including: pre – sentence decisions, probation and parole supervision, institutional interventions, group homes, juvenile community treatment, policy and planning administration. Interventions related to conceptualization of client subtypes, demography of crime and delinquency and violent crime are some of the major content areas for study.

Students develop skills in psychosocial assessment, casework, client supervision, group work, peace circles, placement planning with special populations and policy and administration. Emphasis varies with placement. Specific intervention strategies, mitigation, community alternatives to imprisonment, restorative justice, and case management will be addressed. Ethical, culturally competent decision making in social work settings will receive specific attention. Discussions and class content will address specific problems and needs of juvenile and adult offenders, minority groups, re – entry, female offenders, crime victims, sex offenders, violent as well as incarcerated offenders as well as discussion of risk assessment and community intervention.

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Social Work Practice in Public and Private Child Welfare

Description
This is both a public and private social service agency unit with practice including both direct and indirect services to clients. Most students are involved in direct practice which includes services to both voluntary and involuntary clients. Services include group and individual work, case management, client advocacy and case planning. Indirect services may include program planning, administration and evaluation. Placements in the public sector will include both child protection and foster care related positions.

The practice perspective is generalist social work in direct service to individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities. As an integral component of social work education, the primary purpose of the field placement and seminar is to provide generalist practice opportunities for the development, integration and application of key competencies that are met through practice. Theory and concepts learned in the classroom are integrated with practice opportunities, fostering the implementation of evidenced – informed practice. The educational focus for BSW and first year MSW students is on acquiring the competencies for entry level generalist practice.

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Social Work Practice with Older Adults

Description
This field unit provides field placements in a variety of agency, community, health care and institutional settings that primarily serve older adults. All of the field placements deal with issues of aging, community, mental health, policy, and institutions. The primary purpose of the field placement is to provide an opportunity for guided practical experience in social work settings so that students may acquire the knowledge, values, and skills essential for professional gerontological social work practice. This field unit provides opportunities for integrating theoretical content and knowledge with the practice experience. The practice perspective of the aging and mental health unit is generalist practice, which includes a problem – focused generalist approach with a special emphasis on: 1) direct service to older adults and their families; and 2) resource development and coordination. The course will continually analyze material with an ecosystem approach, building an understanding of micro, meso, and macro systems.

Students have the opportunity to develop skills in working with the individual, with groups, and at multiple levels of the person – in – environment interface. For example, placements may provide experience for developing the following skills: engagement, assessment, intervention, counseling, termination, case management, crisis intervention, planning and program development, inter – professional collaboration, interdisciplinary teamwork, advocacy, mobilization of resources and group work. Students are placed in diverse settings, ranging the entire spectrum of services for the long – term care and support of older adults, from working in agencies whose primary focus is providing supportive services to help maintain older adults in their own homes, to more formal institutional settings such as nursing homes.

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Below is a listing of our Advanced Practice Field Units. Click on a link to view a specific unit or scroll down to browse. Note that not all participating agencies listed may be able to take students in a specific year. The listings are meant to provide the students with a general idea of possible placements.

Social Work Practice in Community Agencies
Social Work Practice in County Human Services
Social Work Practice in Educational Settings
Social Work Practice in Health
Social Work Practice in Intellectual and other Disabilities
Social Work Practice in Mental Health
Social Work Practice in Policy and Administration
Social Work Practice in Public and Private Child Welfare
Social Work Practice in Public Child Welfare
Social Work Practice with Older Adults


Social Work Practice in Community Agencies

Description
This unit provides opportunities to work with human service agencies and community programs. The practice perspective is generalist social work in direct and indirect services for individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities. Also available is an opportunity to work in a multicultural agency setting serving persons of diverse ethnic, cultural, linguistic and national backgrounds. The primary purpose of the field placement and seminar is to provide generalist practice opportunities for the development, integration and application of the competencies that are met through observable behaviors. Theory and concepts learned in the classroom are integrated with practice opportunities, fostering the implementation of evidenced-informed practice.

The emphasis in this unit is on problem-solving and multi-method, evidence-informed interventions with active consultation, support, and teamwork from the student unit, agency staff, faculty, and other professional relationships. The integrative seminar provides an arena for student presentations, guest presentations, and other seminar activities. Content areas include learning styles; ethical dilemmas and ethical decision making; diversity; cultural competence; social justice and human rights; resiliency; dance movement therapy; grief, domestic violence; educational and advocacy services. Students have input on topics for lecture topics and guest presentations for second semester.

Top of Page

Social Work Practice in County Human Services

Description
This is a county (public) human/social service agency unit with practice including both direct and indirect services with clients, participants and communities. Students are involved in child welfare, child protective services, juvenile delinquency, foster care, institutional reintegration and community social work. Field placement activities include individual and family counseling, child and family assessment, case management, juvenile court services, foster care services, institutional reintegration, group wor k, neighborhood and community services and overall program planning. Students in this unit may have field placement settings in voluntary community agencies that work collaboratively with the county human services department. Students gain a solid understanding of the place of a county human service agency in the human services/child and family welfare system. Placements provide opportunities to learn, develop and demonstrate competencies through behaviors in all or most of the required social work competency areas. Field placements available through this unit are primarily located in Dane and surrounding counties.

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Social Work Practice in Educational Settings

Description
Participation in the Educational Setting field unit requires a primary interest in children, youth, families and education; tolerance for ambiguity; the ability to be somewhat autonomous; willingness to be open and to take some risks; and a sense of humor. Its perspective is on generalist social work practice in the school/ community, with a focus on a continuum of intervention strategies from the individual to the organization and community. Major content areas include: significant issues facing schools; school/community assessment; understanding comprehensive individual assessment and strength – based problem solving; and applying systems theory to develop delivery systems for social work in a school setting.

Students should have a strong interest in becoming licensed as School Social Workers in the State of Wisconsin. They will be expected to develop a portfolio during the seminar which will meet one of the primary requirements for licensure.

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Social Work Practice in Health

Description
The Health unit provides practice experiences in health care settings that serve a myriad of patient populations and specialty areas. Students acquire skills in psychosocial assessment, resource coordination, and counseling. Collaboration as members of a multidisciplinary team, discharge planning, linking with community resources, patient education, and advocacy are some of the major tasks and functions performed by students. Supervised experience and dynamic learning in both the field setting and the integrative seminar creates opportunities for students to acquire and develop the knowledge, skills, ethics, and values essential to the role of working with clients in a health care setting. The primary objective of the field experience is to develop advanced practice skills. The primary goal of the integrative seminar is to broaden the relationship between academic course work and clinical experience.

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Social Work Practice in Intellectual and other Disabilities

Description
This field unit’s focus is on social work with persons with intellectual and other disabilities and their families. Through direct and indirect practice students work with individuals, families, organizations and communities to enhance the quality of life for persons with disabilities. Guided by the principles of normalization, self – determination and inclusiveness, the focus is on creating and strengthening personal and environmental conditions that enable and support people with disabilities to lead satisfying lives in the community. Students complete their field work with community based agencies and organizations supporting people with disabilities and their families. The integrative seminar will utilize group work, faculty, student and guest presentations, multi – media and experiential activities.

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Social Work Practice in Mental Health


Description
Each year there are 2-3 field units in mental health and they are for advanced practice students only. Students will register for 001-Sem and be assigned into specific units later. These units provide an integrative seminar and supervised practice of clinical social work, including assessment, diagnosis, treatment including psychotherapy and counseling, client-centered advocacy, consultation and evaluation. Students are placed in community-based settings where the primary focus is to provide treatment to children, adolescents and adults who experience a wide range of DSM-IV-TR-recognized mental health problems.

All of the mental health field units share the same course description and objectives in terms of demonstrating competencies and practice behaviors. Assignment to a particular field unit is made by the School and is based in large part upon where the student is placed. As of this writing, there are two field units and both meet on Wednesday morning.

Agency placements include community hospitals, VA and Mendota Mental Health Institute, community support programs, residential treatment centers for children and adolescents, University Health Services, and non-profit and for-profit outpatient practice settings inside and outside Dane County. There may be some travel support for students who choose placements outside Dane County.

The seminar perspective for mental health treatment is interpersonal, interactional and problem-and-action oriented.

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Social Work Practice in Policy and Administration

Description
Students in the Policy and Administration unit obtain knowledge about socio-political systems, as well as analytic and interaction practice skills for policy and planning. Major areas of content are concepts of policy formulation, analysis, and change. This field unit provides placements in a variety of government organizations, human services agencies, and community settings. The perspective is that of macro-practice within the social work profession. Emphasis for the second year student is on the consolidation of advanced competencies in the area of social policy and administration. This field unit exposes students to information about the concepts and events in the development of social policy and administration and the impact on human services organizations and clients.

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Social Work Practice in Public and Private Child Welfare

Description
This is both a public and private social service agency unit with practice including both direct and indirect services to clients. Most students are involved in direct practice which includes services to both voluntary and involuntary clients. Services include group and individual work, case management, client advocacy and case planning. Indirect services may include program planning, administration and evaluation. Placements in the public sector will include both child protection and foster care related positions.

The practice perspective is generalist social work in direct service to individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities. As an integral component of social work education, the primary purpose of the field placement and seminar is to provide generalist practice opportunities for the development, integration and application of key competencies that are met through practice. Theory and concepts learned in the classroom are integrated with practice opportunities, fostering the implementation of evidenced – informed practice. The educational focus for BSW and first year MSW students is on acquiring the competencies for entry level generalist practice.

Top of Page

Social Work Practice in Public Child Welfare

Description
This field unit is a public human/social service agency unit with practice including both direct and indirect services with clients. Students are involved in child welfare and child protective services, juvenile delinquency, foster care and community social work. Placement activities include: child protective services initial assessment, family assessment, case planning, individual and family counseling, case management, juvenile court services, foster care services, neighborhood and community services and overall program planning. Students gain a solid understanding of the place of a public social service agency in the human services/child and child welfare system. Placements provide skills in case assessment and planning, case management, counseling, court services, group work and community resource networking.

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Social Work Practice with Older Adults

Description
This field unit provides field placements in a variety of agency, community, health care and institutional settings that primarily serve older adults. All of the field placements deal with issues of aging, community, mental health, policy, and institutions. The primary purpose of the field placement is to provide an opportunity for guided practical experience in social work settings so that students may acquire the knowledge, values, and skills essential for professional gerontological social work practice. This field unit provides opportunities for integrating theoretical content and knowledge with the practice experience. The practice perspective of the aging and mental health unit is generalist practice, which includes a problem – focused generalist approach with a special emphasis on: 1) direct service to older adults and their families; and 2) resource development and coordination. The course will continually analyze material with an ecosystem approach, building an understanding of micro, meso, and macro systems.

Students have the opportunity to develop skills in working with the individual, with groups, and at multiple levels of the person – in – environment interface. For example, placements may provide experience for developing the following skills: engagement, assessment, intervention, counseling, termination, case management, crisis intervention, planning and program development, inter – professional collaboration, interdisciplinary teamwork, advocacy, mobilization of resources and group work. Students are placed in diverse settings, ranging the entire spectrum of services for the long – term care and support of older adults, from working in agencies whose primary focus is providing supportive services to help maintain older adults in their own homes, to more formal institutional settings such as nursing homes.

Top of Page

For More Information

For more information about field units, the agencies they work with, and field course expectations see the Field Education Handbook on the Student Resources page. Field unit availability may vary from year to year because of personnel changes, funding, or curriculum needs.

Social work students should be advised that Wisconsin State Statutes require the State Department of Justice to conduct background checks on all potential field education students prior to the field placement.

Social Work Practice in Community Agencies

This unit provides opportunities to work with human service agencies and community programs. The practice perspective is generalist social work in direct service to individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities . The primary purpose of the field placement and seminar is to provide generalist practice opportunities for the development, integration and application of key competencies that are met through measurable practice behaviors. Theory and concepts learned in the classroom are integrated with practice opportunities, fostering the implementation of evidenced-informed practice.

The emphasis in this unit is upon problem solving and multi – method, evidenced – informed interventions with active consultation, support, and teamwork from the student unit, agency staff, faculty, and other professional relationships. The integrative seminar provides an arena for faculty lectures, student presentations, guest presentations, and other seminar activities. Content areas include: child and family welfare , learning styles , ethical dilemmas and ethical decision making, diversity, at-risk populations and implications for social work practice, cultural competence, social justice and human rights, violence prevention, some alcohol and other drug abuse and mental health, crisis intervention, AIDS network services, program development, educational and advocacy services, and social work in the workplace.

Below is a listing of our Part-Time Program Advanced Practice Field Units. Click on a link to view a specific unit or scroll down to browse. Note that not all participating agencies listed may be able to take students in a specific year. The listings are meant to provide the students with a general idea of possible placements.

Social Work Practice in Child & Family Welfare
Social Work Practice in Health and Aging
Social Work Practice in Mental Health


Social Work Practice in Child & Family Welfare


Description

This Advanced Generalist Children, Youth, and Families field unit offers all students social work content on child welfare and other family services in public, private, and educational settings. It offers Advanced Practice Year students an opportunity to develop knowledge and skills in Advanced Practice areas and to strengthen generalist areas as needed.

Child and family welfare is the promotion of family well-being. Children are viewed as an integral part of the family unit, benefiting from the family’s well-being and as persons with rights. This Field Unit’s approach to child and family welfare includes attention to the family as a whole and to the factors that influence its well-being, such as socioeconomic status, economic and/or socio-cultural opportunity or oppression; resources for health care, education, housing, etc.; and public sector service delivery. Participation in this field unit requires tolerance for ambiguity, an ability to be somewhat autonomous, a willingness to be open and to take some risks, and a sense of humor. Its perspective is on generalist social work practice in public, private, and educational settings with a focus o n a continuum of intervention strategies from the individual to the organization and community.

Combined with the field seminar, all field placement settings provide opportunities to learn generalist social work roles at initial or advanced levels in child and family services with individuals, groups and/or families, including support, counseling, education; advocacy, case management, inter-agency participation, contributing to a humane and effective agency environment, working towards a just and supportive community environment, ethics and ethical-decision making. Some settings provide other opportunities, such as program development, workshop presentation, grants, planning, etc. All settings, combined with the field seminar, provide the opportunity to acquire the required competencies .

Students who have a strong interest in becoming licensed as School Social Workers in the State of Wisconsin will be expected to develop a portfolio during the seminar, which will meet one of the primary requirements for licensure.

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Social Work Practice in Health and Aging

Description

The Advanced Generalist Health and Aging field unit provides practice experiences in agency, community, health care and institutional settings that serve older adults and a myriad of patient populations and specialty areas. Students acquire skills in psychosocial assessment, resource coordination, care management, crisis intervention, and counseling. Collaboration as members of an interdisciplinary team, discharge planning, linking with community resources, patient education, and advocacy are some of the major tasks and functions performed by students. Supervised experience and dynamic learning in both the field setting and the integrative seminar creates opportunities for students to acquire and develop the knowledge, skills, ethics, and values essential to the role of working with clients in a health care and/or gerontological setting. The primary objective of the field experience is to develop advanced practice skills. The primary goal of the integrative seminar is to broaden the relationship between academic course work and clinical and other practice experience.

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Social Work Practice in Mental Health




Description

The Advanced Practice Mental Health field unit provides an integrative seminar and supervised practice of clinical social work, including assessment, diagnosis, treatment (including psychotherapy and counseling), client-centered advocacy, consultation, and evaluation.  Students are placed in community-based settings where the primary focus is to provide treatment to children, adolescents and adults who experience a wide range of DSM-IV-TR-recognized mental health problems. The seminar perspective for mental health treatment is interpersonal, interactional, and problem-and-action oriented.