The social work practice methods help students gain the mastery of core competencies related to engagement, assessment, intervention, and evaluation with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities. Students are required to concentrate (major) in one of three practice methods”

Clinical Practice with Individuals, Families, and Groups

Introduces students to agency-based clinical practice in the urban environment. Clinical assessment and therapeutic interventions are taught from a biopsychosocial perspective. Students are exposed to a variety of theoretical modalities that are augmented by evidence-based practice perspectives. Clinical Practice prepares students to provide psychosocial care to individuals, couples, families, and small groups. Clinical practice students are taught to help clients to enact psychological and interpersonal change, increase their access to social and economic resources, and maintain and enhance their achieved capacities and strengths. The types of psychosocial problems experienced by individuals, families, and groups may include stressful life transitions and traumatic events, environmental stressors, dysfunctional family processes, disabilities, or impairments–including mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders. Clinical interventions may involve therapeutic, supportive, educational, and case-advocacy activities. In the prevention of psychosocial distress and in the provision of life-enhancing resources, clinical practitioners are active in the promotion, restoration, maintenance, and enhancement of the functioning of their clients and the clients’ systems.

Community Organizing (formerly Community Organizing, Planning and Development)

This concentration develops students’ competence for community-based practice. It stresses the skills, techniques, and strategies needed to mobilize both people and resources to solve basic social problems at either the neighborhood or citywide level. The social planning and social reform aspects of social work practice are underscored in seeking change to alleviate individual and family problems. Education and training are developed in collective action, advocacy, program evaluation, proposal writing, community outreach, legislative advocacy, and other vital organizing roles. Field practicums occur in a number of settings in international organizations, city and state planning agencies, legislative offices, community engagement arms of human service organizations, and a wide variety of grassroots organizations. Students in these placements work on everything from local economic development issues, food and hunger projects, and tenant advocacy to LGBTQ issues and women’s rights.

Organizational Management and Leadership

Students who elect to concentrate in Organizational Management and Leadership (OML) are prepared to assume varied management positions in social agencies (including the traditional supervisory, middle management, and executive positions) as well as jobs as program planners and analysts, staff trainers, program directors, or budget analysts. Those focusing on OML develop conscious and strategic use of self in managing the complex tasks of program managers. Students seeking to concentrate in OML should have some prior management experience either in social work or at a human services agency. Field practicums are available in a wide range of public and private social agencies. Many students entering OML are in our One-Year Residency Program. A wide variety of placements are available for two-year OML students with the many graduates of SSSW in leadership roles around the city. (Saturday classes are required for this method)


* A major consists of three required sequential courses and field practicums (two 600-hour practicums for the Two-Year Program, one 900-hour practicum for OYR, and one 600-hour practicum for those in the Advanced Standing Program).

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