Course Descriptions

First Year (Generalist Practice)

MSWPF-GS.2001, MSWPF-GS.2002 and MSWFD-GS.2100, MSWFD-GS.2200. Co-requisites: MSWPF-GS.2001 & MSWFD-GS. 2100 or MSWFD-GS.3100; MSWPF-GS.2002 & MSWFD-GS.2200 or MSWFD-GS.3200 (Except for OYRS)

The Integrated Social Work Practice I and II and Field Instruction I and II courses are taught concurrently by the Practice Instructor and the Faculty Advisor(s). Students remain with the same Practice Instructor and Faculty Advisor for both semesters in the Foundation year.

The purpose of the Social Work Practice Course I and II is to teach students the generalist perspective of social work practice which emphasizes the importance of working across a range of systems that includes individuals (adults, children and adolescents), couples, families, agencies and communities. This approach maintains a focus on the interaction between systems, also known as the person-in-environment perspective. It is expected that students will develop a broad approach to social work practice through the use of different modalities and an understanding of the choice and application of interventive approaches, and an understanding of the link between theory and practice skills.

The purpose of the Field Instruction Course is to facilitate the development of the student as a professional social worker who can enter the practice arena in any setting of practice, be able to apply the knowledge and skills learned in the classroom, perform direct social work practice skills, and act according to social work ethics and values.

Social Work Practice/ Field Instruction I and II provide a generalist foundation and systemic framework that emphasizes the inter-relatedness of clients, the environment, and society. Utilizing a systemic, biopsychosocial/cultural perspective, an understanding of the connection between client, agency and policy practice, and building upon resilience, empowerment, developmental, ego-psychological and organizational theories, students are taught to work with diverse clients in the urban environment and to apply critical thinking to inform and communicate professional judgments.

Integrated Practice/Field II also builds on the values, knowledge and skills and behaviors introduced in Integrated Social Work Practice I & Field Instruction I and helps students to better understand short-term, crisis and extended interventions models; self-evaluation and evaluation of practice approaches and models; agency and community practice; advanced practice skills with individuals and families, and the process of termination.

The Integrated Practice/Field courses (Practice/Field Instruction I and II) during the Foundation year help students to understand, learn and behave appropriately in their professional social work roles; to engage with and comprehensively assess their clients in the field placement (including individuals, families, groups and communities) within the contexts of their social environments, agency functioning, and social programs and policies; and to promote, restore and enhance clients' social functioning and as such become agent of change. Students are expected to utilize critical thinking to link social work theories with appropriate practice skills, to critically evaluate their work and the provision of agency services, and to familiarize themselves with research-informed practice.

The core concepts and skills that are introduced in Integrative Social Work Practice/Field Instruction I and II will be further developed in the required and elective Practice and Field Instruction courses in the advanced concentration year. In Field Instruction II students move from the beginning skill level attained in Field Instruction I to generalist practice competence based on creative use of knowledge, value commitments, conceptual ability, and practice skills within the context of their agency.

MSWPF-GS.2003 3 credits. Prerequisite: None; Co-requisite: None; Open to Non-Matriculating Students

The profession of social work has historically engaged in activities directed toward the promotion of a just society. In order to carry out this central function, social workers must be able to assess the systemic roots of inequality that promote social and economic injustice and understand the implications of institutionalized discrimination and oppression for individuals, families and communities. Social workers practicing in complex urban environments of today must be knowledgeable about ways in which globalization broadens the frame for viewing issues of social justice to a concern for oppressed populations worldwide. As major providers of social welfare benefits, social workers must also have an understanding of the organization and structure of the social welfare system and how social services are funded. SWPPI is a required course of the professional foundation year, and prepares students for concentrated study in a specific policy area in Policy II taken in the advanced concentration year. The course explores the interplay between values, political and economic structures and how these impact social welfare policy development, create or limit access and availability to social welfare services and benefits, and examines the nature of poverty in the United States. Emphasis is placed on social work practice in the urban environment to enhance understanding of the impact of social welfare policies on oppressed populations of historic concern to the profession like the poor, women, minorities, immigrant groups, as well as the mentally and physically disabled, the elderly, children and families, gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals.

MSWPF-GS.2006 3 credits. Prerequisite: None; Co-requisite: None; Open to Non-Matriculating Students

Human Behavior in the Social Environment I is centered in the bio-psycho-social perspective, which stresses a multi-dimensional view of human development and behavior. This multi-dimensional view of person in the context of the environment takes into consideration the challenges, stressors and life tasks that occur throughout the life cycle. The individual in his/her environment is seen as a unit where component elements can only be understood in their relationship to each other. The course stresses the centrality of culture, race, ethnicity, gender and the socioeconomic environment.

Using systems theory as a critical theoretical underpinning, Human Behavior in the Social Environment I stresses a non-linear view of development in which there is a continuous reciprocal interchange and mutual impact among different systems (individual, family, group, community). A major focus of the course is on development of the human biological, psychological and social structure as it occurs throughout the life span. Human Behavior in the Social Environment I covers the life cycle from birth to late childhood. Human Behavior in the Social Environment II continues from early adolescence to old age.

The course stresses the need for the development of critical thinking throughout, an examination of the gaps in knowledge that exists in developmental theory, and the role that research plays in knowledge building. The linkages of theories to practice and policy implications are also stressed.

MSWPF-GS.2007 3 credits. Prerequisite: MSWPF-GS.2006; Co-requisite: None; Open to Non-Matriculating Students

The Human Behavior in the Social Environment II course is centered in the bio- psycho-social perspective, which stresses a multi-dimensional view of human development and behavior. This multi-dimensional view of person in the context of the environment takes into consideration the challenges, stressors and life tasks that occur throughout the life cycle. The individual in his/her environment is seen as a unit where component elements can only be understood in their relationship to each other. The course stresses the centrality of culture, race, ethnicity, gender and the socioeconomic environment.

Using systems theory as a critical theoretical underpinning, Human Behavior in the Social Environment II stresses a non-linear view of development in which there is a continuous reciprocal interchange and mutual impact among different systems (individual, family, group, community). A major focus of the course is on development of the human biological, psychological and social structure as it occurs throughout the life span. Human Behavior in the Social Environment I covers the life cycle from birth to late childhood. Human Behavior in the Social Environment II continues from early adolescence to old age.

The course stresses the need for the development of critical thinking throughout, an examination of the gaps in knowledge that exist in developmental theory, and the role that research plays in knowledge building. The linkages of theories to practice and policy implications are also stressed.

MSWPF-GS.2009 3 credits. Prerequisite: None; Co-requisite: None

Grounded in an appreciation of the various paths to knowledge and the strengths and weaknesses of each, the temporary and ever-evolving nature of knowledge, and the implication of research methodologies for the hierarchy of evidence underlying assertions, this foundation course introduces students to the basic elements, concepts, methods, logic and issues of empirical research. The goal of the course is to prepare students to become more sophisticated and discerning users of and potential contributors to the social work knowledge base.

MSWPF-GS.2010 3 credits. Prerequisite: None; Co-requisite: None; Open to Non-Matriculating Students

This course is designed to help social work students work more effectively with clients from diverse racial, ethnic and cultural backgrounds. It is premised on the idea that there are three distinct and equally essential components to developing cultural consciousness: awareness of self, of the client, and of systems of oppression and privilege that contribute to our own self-concept as well as our perceptions of others.

To address the first component, the course challenges students to engage in a deep exploration of their own cultural identities, values, and biases in a number of areas: childhood and family, race, social class, gender and sexual identity, as well as other cultures. A core concept of this class is that in order to minimize bias and maximize the capacity for empathy in the treatment of all clients, it is imperative that the practitioner engage in ongoing self-exploration.

Throughout the course, students will be asked to broaden and deepen their knowledge about and awareness of cultures and identities outside their own. The lectures and readings provide an introduction to a variety of cultures, with the understanding that the process of knowing any culture other than one's own is a formidable undertaking far beyond the scope of any single course. The focus is therefore less on specific cultural traditions and norms, and more on cultivating skills that encourage the client to articulate their personal experience and definition of their own culture(s).

The third component to the course is an understanding of social identity formation on a macro level: the systems of privilege, marginalization, invisibility and oppression that become inextricably bound to an individual or group's self-concept, as well as to the way the group is perceived by society. Concepts of intersectionality, social identity construction, and systemic oppression will be explored.

Finally, throughout the course, students will be introduced to clinical concepts that are central to the challenges of cross-cultural client work. Clinical examples will be used to illustrate these concepts. These concepts include but are not limited to: transference, countertransference, cultural countertransference, and intersubjectivity.

MSWPF-GS 2014 3 credits. Prerequisite: MSWPF-GS.2001

This course is a required foundation level course that students take in their spring semester. The course considers the importance of group factors on the macro and micro levels, as well as the increased need for and use of groups in a variety of agency settings. All students are required to take this course, which incorporates didactic and experiential teaching methods. The system and empowerment theories, strengths perspective, biopsychosocial assessment, goal setting and group intervention skills covered in the Practice I and II courses are elaborated upon and discussed in relation to one's values, ethics and professional use of self in groups.

The overall objectives of the course are to help students develop an appreciation for the distinguishing features of group work and to provide them with the knowledge, skills and values essential to direct practice with groups in a variety of settings. A curriculum change enacted by the full-time faculty in the 2004-2005 academic year moved the Groups course from the advanced concentration level to the foundation level. The change was made to accommodate many students leading groups in their first year placements and lacking the theoretical framework for running groups.

MSWPF-GS.2003 3 credits. Prerequisite: None; Co-requisite: None; Open to Non-Matriculating Students

This course will take place entirely online via NYU Classes. Most of the requirements -- which include 100 pages or less of weekly reading (multiple choice quizzes on the reading, video lectures totaling about one hour each week), short-answer learning checks on the lectures, discussion board postings (requiring you to write about three solid paragraphs per week), and a final essay and final multiple-choice exam -- can be fulfilled at any time you wish during the week they are due. However, all students must be available for weekly group discussions and live lectures that will take place on Mondays from 6:45-7:45 PM, for which you will need a computer with audio (a microphone) and video (a camera) capabilities. Live office hours, which are optional, will take place immediately after, Mondays from 7:45-8:25. Students may be required to complete a brief online orientation before the first class session.

MSWAC-GS.2001 3 credits. Prerequisite: MSWPF-GS.2007, MSWPF-GS.2002 and MSWFD-GS.2200

This course has both online and offline instruction.  The online component will be offered on Fridays from 12:00pm - 12:50pm. Students must be available to participate at that time for the group discussion and interactive lecture. Access to a computer with audio (a microphone) and video (a camera) capabilities is required to participate in the online component.  In addition, students are expected to view taped lectures, read assigned articles/chapters, and complete discussion prompts prior to when the class meets online every Friday. The readings and off line participation will require a 2- 2.5 hour commitment.  This course will have a paper mid-term exam, and an on-line take-home final exam. Students may be required to complete a brief online orientation before the first class session.

Second Year (Specialized Practice)

MSWAC-GS.2002 3 credits. Prerequisite: MSWPF-GS.2002 and MSWFD-GS.2200; Co-requisite: MSWFD-GS.2300, MSWFD-GS.2500 or MSWFD-GS.3400

This course builds upon the content provided in the professional foundation year and is based on social work values, ethics, practice models and principles, and person-in-environment perspectives. The overall goal of this course is to help students deepen and extend their assessment and intervention skills in work with individuals and families who face challenges with a range of problems commonly found in an urban environment, including mental illness, substance abuse, trauma, physical illness, disability, and poverty. Students are expected to demonstrate an understanding of the major theories that inform clinical practice with individuals and families including ego psychology, object relations, family systems theory, cognitive behavioral theory, narrative theory, theories of change, and other emergent theories.

The criteria for the differential use of practice methods are taught. Content related to diversity (e.g., racial, ethnic, class, religious, gender, age, sexual orientation, disability) and oppression is integrated with an understanding of the concepts of power and privilege. Drawing on students' case material and selected video presentations, the course applies individual and family interventive principles to selected client problems in the urban environment.

MSWAC-GS.2009 3 credits. Prerequisite: MSWAC-GS.2002; Co-requisite: MSWFD-GS.2400, MSWFD-GS.2600 or MSWFD-GS.3600

This course is the last required Practice course offered in the final semester of the Advanced Concentration. The course objectives are three-fold; (1) to help students synthesize what has been learned in different sequences; (2) to consolidate their social work identity; and (3) to prepare them for termination from clients, their field work agency, the school, and their student status, and enter the profession of Social Work.

The course begins with revisiting issues examined in Practice and Policy in the Foundation year, namely, their motivation for seeking training at a graduate school of social work, and the nature of this profession, i.e., the distinctiveness of the social work profession with its dual commitment to direct practice and to affect social justice in work with poor, diverse and oppressed populations. Review of the Code of Ethics is expanded with readings and class presentations on ethical issues and dilemmas, and efforts to resolve them using guidelines for ethical decision making.

Direct practice with traumatized clients and the effects of secondary trauma, a common by-product, are also explored. The seminar examines current professional and practice issues in the urban environment, focusing on issues related to current health policies and managed care. Students discuss the supervisory process from the vantage point of both supervisor and supervisee. They are assisted in preparing for career planning and helped to identify the nature of various career paths in agency and private practice and are then introduced to the issues related to social work licensing in New York State. The course also addresses the nature of professional liability, standards, accountability, importance of evidence-informed practice and methods of monitoring and evaluating practice, therapeutic boundaries, the problems of burn-out, avenues for renewal and professional growth, and ways of contributing to the profession. Throughout the course, emphasis is given to the transition and termination process from student to professional social worker and to the importance of and commitment to the students' own professional growth and the need to engage in career-long learning.

MSWAC-GS.2001 3 credits. Prerequisite: MSWPF-GS.2007, MSWPF-GS.2002 and MSWFD-GS.2200

Human Behavior in the Social Environment III (HBSEIII) is designed to expand and deepen the theoretical and empirical knowledge base of the biopsychosocial factors underlying our concepts of mental health and illness. Students will be introduced to the multiaxial system of symptoms diagnosis and the methods and criteria used in making differential decisions about psychiatric diagnoses. They will be expected to be aware of the multiple problems that signal areas of concern regarding individual and family functioning and the centrality of culture, race, ethnicity, and gender in the diagnostic process. Each diagnostic category will include manifestations of the disorder as reflected in the life cycle.

The main diagnostic entities that will be explored include schizophrenia, other psychotic disorders, major mood disorders, anxiety and somatoform disorders, post-traumatic stress disorders, substance-related disorders, eating disorders, delirium, dementia, dissociative disorders and major personality disorders. The significance of labeling, stigma, and bias with regard to the diagnostic process will be critically appraised and critiqued throughout the course in keeping with the values and ethics of social work practice and issues of social justice. This bibliography contains suggested further readings on childhood diagnostic components.

MSWAC-GS.2008 3 credits. Prerequisite: MSWPF-GS.2009, MSWPF-GS.2002 and MSWFD-GS.2200

The overall goal of Research II is to provide students with an understanding of how research is used to evaluate social work practice and programs. The course is designed to provide students with an overview of the methods, concepts, and principles of practice and program evaluation research in order to become practitioners who can engage in self-directed evaluation of their own practice and to make meaningful contributions to program evaluation efforts.

The course focuses on what constitutes a "program," identifying the mission, goals, and social work role within a program, understanding the implications of the organizational history and context of a program, the types and purposes of practice and program evaluation designs, measurement and data collection options, ethical and cultural considerations in the design and implementation of program and practice evaluation, anticipating the possibly diverse interests of various stakeholders in evaluation, and assessing the evaluability of a program.

Students are expected to apply previously acquired knowledge of the scientific approach and research methods to the evaluation of social work practice and programs. Emphasis will be placed upon extending research mindedness and critical thinking skills to the design, implementation, and assessment of evaluations of individual clients and programs.

MSWAC-GS.20xx. 3 credits. Prerequisite: MSWPF-GS.2003; MSWPF-GS.2002 and MSWFD-GS.2200

This advanced concentration course examines urban social problems from the perspective of their impact on individuals, families and communities, focusing on at-risk populations in the context of an urban environment. The course builds on the policy content offered in the Professional Foundation Year and links policy to practice and research skills that have been developed. Emphasis is placed on the link between social and economic justice and issues relating to diversity. The first part of the course is an examination of the policy making cycle, inclusive of social problem definition, policy formulation, implementation and critical analysis of policy. A detailed section on evaluation of policies as they affect societal structures, communities, agencies, clients and practitioners is then discussed. Finally, a major section of the course presents theories related to organizational change and strategies for practitioners to influence policies and promote change at the client level, the agency level, the community level and the broader society.

MSWFD-GS.2300 (Field III) and MSWFD-GS.2400 (Field IV); MSWFD-GS.2500 (OYR-A) and MSWFD-GS.2600 (OYR-B) or MSWFD-GS.3400 (32MO -IV), MSWFD-GS.3500 (32MO- V) and MSWFD-GS.3600(32MO -VI). Prerequisite: MSWPF-GS.2002 and MSWFD-GS.2200 or MSWFD-GS.3300; Co-requisite for MSWFD-GS.2300, MSWFD-GS.2500 & MSWFD-GS.3400: MSWAC-GS.2002; Co-requisite for MSWFD-GS.2400, MSWFD-GS.2600 & MSWFD-GS.3600: MSWAC-GS.2009

Field Instruction III and IV build on the objectives achieved in the professional foundation Integrated Practice/Field I and II courses. Students move from a generalist perspective to advanced clinical practice with complex individual, families, group and larger communities/organizational client systems. It strives to deepen knowledge and skills and further the level of mastery in direct practice with individuals, families, and groups. Finally, the purpose of Field Instruction III and IV is to facilitate the development of the student as a professional social worker who can enter the practice arena in any setting of practice, be able to apply the knowledge and skills learned in the classroom, perform direct social work practice skills, and act according to social work ethics and values.

During the advanced concentration, all students enrolled in field instruction are assigned to advisors who guide students in field matters. Contact is primarily on an individual basis, but may also occur in small group meetings. The Faculty Advisor serves as the school's liaison to the field agency and works with the field instructor and the student to ensure the educational integrity of the field experience. In this role, Faculty Advisors monitor important aspects of the placement including assignments given to the student, the student/field instructor working relationship, and student progress in mastery of learning objectives for the course. The Faculty Advisor can assist with any challenges that arise in maintaining the educational integrity of the placement throughout the placement year.

Students are not allowed to progress into advanced concentration placement without the completion of all professional foundation requirements. In addition, Field III must be taken concurrently with MSWAC-GS.2002: Social Work Practice III. Field IV must be taken concurrently with MSWAC-GS.2009: Social Work Practice IV. Should extended placement hours be required, a practice elective must be taken concurrently.

MSWFD-GS.2500 6 credits. Corequisites: MSWAC-GS.2002 and Professional Foundation Curriculum.

This course is required of all students in the One-Year Residence Program. It provides 450 hours of supervised practice experience in an approved agency in the fall semester of the year of residence.

MSWFD-GS.2600 7 credits. Prerequisite: MSWFD-GS.2500. Corequisite: MSWAC-GS.2009.

This course, a continuation of MSWFD-GS.2500, is required of all students in the One-Year Residence Program. It provides 450 hours of supervised practice experience in the spring semester of the year of residence.

Three-Credit Electives

Students are invited to select electives from among those offered by the Silver School of Social Work and by other schools in the University. Students in other schools of the University are likewise invited to register for Silver School of Social Work courses for which they have the appropriate educational background. Questions with regard to possible prerequisites for elective courses should be directed to the Office of Registration Services, 1 Washington Square North; 212-998-5960.


Gestalt therapy, with its emphasis on respect for the client’s subjective experience, its strengths based perspective, and its focus on an authentic relationship between the client and worker, provides a holistic and humanistic framework for contemporary social work practice. In conjunction with Self-Psychology’s focus on remaining empathically attuned to the client’s emotional needs, this course will focus intensely on how to enrich the client-worker relationship. This course will cover the basic concepts of both Gestalt Therapy and Self-Psychology and how they can be applied to working with clients in any social work setting. In addition to class discussion and case presentation, this class will involve a considerable amount of experiential work.


This course is an introduction to the theory and practice of conflict resolution with an emphasis on social work applications. Students will learn the communication skills necessary for conflict resolution processes. Topics covered will include neutrality skills, causes of conflict, intervention strategies, differential use of the conflict resolution process. Practical skills in mediation, negotiation and conciliation will be covered. Multi-party conflict resolution and application of conflict resolution skills to organizational practice will be touched on. Uses of mediation in divorce and custody cases will be reviewed.


This advanced elective is designed to help students identify and understand the impact of structural racism. The course provides students with the necessary understanding and tools to address racism in practice, policies, programs, research and evaluation. Students will be introduced to cutting edge analysis and methods of addressing racism and will be helped to consider new alternatives to practice methods that hinder effective social change. The course will include attendance at an AntiRacist Alliance event. The course will be supplemented by visiting lecturers from the People's Institute for Survival and Beyond, a national, multiracial, anti-racist collective of clinicians, organizers and educators dedicated to undoing racism in the field of social work and beyond. Since its founding in 1980, The People's Institute has trained over 110,000 people in hundreds of communities throughout the United States and internationally. It is recognized as one of the most effective anti-racist training and organizing institutions in the nation.


This course focuses on social work practice in medicine and the relationship between physical health, social environments, and psychological functioning. Students will be introduced to the history, roles, and functions of social workers in a variety of health care settings. Student learning will be grounded in the biopsychosocial model, and will address a number of domains, including the impact of illness on families, health communication and behavior, beliefs and spirituality, culture and class. A number of professional issues facing health care social workers will be discussed, including interdisciplinary collaboration, role and boundary definition, surviving managed care, and navigating ethical dilemmas. Activities will include training in conceptualization of illness challenges and presenting problems, writing case material, building self-awareness and identifying clinical interface issues, and the compilation of a “clinician’s toolbox” for direct practice on the front lines.


This course provides an introduction to theoretical frameworks and practice of clinical social work interventions with older adults and their families. It is designed to familiarize students with the biological, psychological and social aspects of the aging process. Emphasis is placed on understanding late-life problems and mental disorders, on developing skills in diagnostic assessment, and on formulating and implementing treatment plans. Students are expected to develop proficiency with the core competencies in geriatric social work, including the provision of comprehensive assessment and intervention skills.

MSWEL-GS.2010 Prerequisites: MSWPF-GS.2001 and MSWPF-GS.2002.

This course helps students to develop the knowledge and skills essential to working with children in a variety of settings. Drawing on contemporary theories of child development and research, the course focuses on assessment; goal setting; the use of individual, family, and group modalities; interventive principles and techniques; advocacy; and mobilization of resources. The impact of poverty and oppression is emphasized. Special consideration is given to students' case presentations and child welfare case vignettes.

MSWEL-GS.2049 Prerequisite: MSWPF-GS.2002.

This course examines the principles and techniques of couple intervention from a variety of theoretical frameworks. Intervention with traditional and nontraditional forms of couple relationships is considered in the light of the differing nature of clients' presenting problems, diversity, and the agency setting. The interventive process is examined in depth.


This course will offer students an introduction to social work practice with children and their families and will acquaint students with the diversity of family composition, family rules and family roles in the 2000's. Students will learn about conventional nuclear family composition, the single-parent home, foster and adoptive homes, homes where children and parents are cross-racial dyads and triads, and homes where lesbian or gay partners are engaged in rearing a natural-born and/or an adopted child. Engaging such families from diverse racial, ethnic, economic, religious and cultural backgrounds will be a major focus in this course, in order to promote students? Current Issues in Contemporary Family Life.

MSWEL-GS.2028 Prerequisite: MSWPF-GS.2002.

This course focuses on assessment of and intervention with substance abusers and their families. It prepares students with the skills essential to a range of social work roles and practice modalities that can be used with this population. Stereotyped attitudes toward substance abusers are discussed. Special issues related to women, youth, the homeless, and dually diagnosed mentally ill/substance abusing populations are explored. Selected social policy and service delivery issues and research findings are considered.


Clinical Social Work Practice with LGBT clients builds upon the content provided in the advance concentration year. It is focused on providing the students with specialized knowledge and skills essential to complexities of application of clinical social work interventions with this client population. The course will focus on clinical examples provided by the instructor from practice in GLBT organizations and by class members in GLBT settings. The goal of this course is to deepen and extend students’ knowledge of assessment and intervention by drawing on evidence based knowledge and practice wisdom that addresses the dynamics of various interventions in work with lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender or questioning. It is designed to offer students enhanced practice skills in engagement and relationship development; complexity and impact of the ongoing oppression of homophobia on the helping relationship; assessment of clients’ environmental and internal stressors; selection and rationale of practice intervention, implementation of intervention and evaluation of practice.

MSWEL-GS.2053 Prerequisite: MSWPF-GS.2001.

This course considers the value base and theoretical and research underpinnings of cognitive and behavior intervention and the use and integration of these models within a biopsychosocial perspective. Practice principles and techniques that can be used in work with a variety of client problems are examined along with ethical issues.


In this course, students will have intensive workshops on community health needs assessment and then travel as a class to Del Carmen, Philippines to be part of a community-based participatory assessment. Students will acquire basic knowledge and skills for conducting a community needs assessment using community-based participatory action research in a cross-cultural, high-need, multi-national environment. The first two weeks of the course will be classroom based and focused on cross-cultural community engagement. Following the intensive classroom sessions at NYU, the class will travel to Del Carmen, Philippines where they will engage in cross-cultural relationship building classes and exercises with local students, residents, and government officials. The students and the local residents will be grouped into teams and will visit local villages to collect data and engage with families and youth in their homes and schools. The final sessions will include students and community members in an analysis and goal priority setting process. 3 credits.


This elective will offer the student an overview of how methods of community organization accomplish goals that are relevant to social work practitioners, as well as how community organization activities address the value base of the social work profession. The course begins by highlighting the social work tradition in community organization practice, and also explores the history and practical application of other popular community organizing models. The steps necessary in community assessment, developing a plan of action to bring about change, and selecting appropriate tactics to implement the plan will be studied. We will also delve deeper into the subject matter by defining and understanding "community," power, and the role of self in macro practice to explore potential professional challenges.


Domestic violence occurs everywhere, with different resonances in different cultures. Every country has a criminal justice system, but the attempt to use arrest and prosecution as tools against domestic violence is far from universal. Within each nation where domestic violence is prosecuted, there is debate about whether a criminal-court approach will ever make more than a marginal difference. This debate, examined in a comparative and interdisciplinary context, is the focus of the weekly seminar. Specific areas of inquiry will include mandatory arrest, prosecutorial discretion, no-drop policies, and mandatory reporting to law enforcement by health care providers. The main points of comparison will be India and the United States.

The Comparative Criminal Justice Seminar offered by the Law School is open to SSW and law students. It offers the opportunity (1) to compare and contrast different nations= use of criminal prosecution to combat domestic violence and (2) to develop a critical analysis of the advantages and limitations of different criminal justice strategies. There are no pre-requisites, but students will find it helpful to have academic training or practical experience in one or more of the following areas: domestic violence counseling, policy work, or litigation; criminal law or criminal procedure; comparative or international law or policy; and interdisciplinary work. Course enrollment is by instructor approval.

MSWEL-GS.2047 Prerequisite: MSWPF-GS.2001.

Beginning with a historical and theoretical overview of short-term intervention, this course focuses on the criteria for selecting this type of approach, assessment, goal setting, phases of intervention, specific principles and techniques, and relationship issues. It considers different short-term models in work with individuals, families, and groups and ethical and other issues (e.g., funding of services, managed care, third-party payment) in the use of short-term approaches in a range of social work settings.


The dramatic demographic changes that have transformed the 20th century promise to be equally compelling over the next several decades. Increased life expectancy has profound implications for all disciplines and professions. The purpose of this course is to provide a survey of contemporary issues in aging, science and policy for an interdisciplinary graduate student audience. Specifically, this course will analyze national and global trends in lifespan and quality of life and investigate the broader implications and ramifications. Faculty from across the NYU campus will participate in an interdisciplinary dialogue that will explore key issues related to age and aging.


This course aims to prepare students for effective practice with gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (GLBT) people by providing a deeper understanding of GLBT identities, families, health and mental health challenges, and issues of political advocacy. The course will examine a variety of issues that affect GLBT people in contemporary life, and will act as a springboard for students to engage in additional learning in a chosen area of interest. The course will use lectures, guest presentations by local and national experts, classroom discussions, student presentations, assigned readings, and written assignments in order to achieve its objectives.


This course will cover the application of creative arts therapy theory and practice within a social work framework. The class will focus primarily on the field of art therapy, but will also include some exposure, through guest lecturers, to other non-verbal creative arts modalities such as: music therapy, drama therapy, and movement/dance therapy. The class is designed to include a substantial amount of hands-on art-making and role-play to provide students with practical tools for incorporating the arts into practice with a variety of populations. The course will utilize case material from students’ field work when appropriate to illustrate how to design effective art therapy interventions. The following populations and topics will be covered as they relate to art and therapy interventions: client engagement; treatment planning; developmental stages of drawing, work with children, adolescents, adults and families; trauma; relational abuse; cultural sensitivity, and the unique counter-transference issues of non-verbal therapies.


This course will take a critical-thinking approach to considering the contributions and often excessive claims of selected theories of psychotherapy. We will rely heavily on microanalysis of taped clinical interviews as well as readings in the research literature to evaluate each theory. By considering how the problem addressed in a tape from one theoretical framework can be approached through a multi-theoretical lens, we will work towards achieving an integrative clinical theory. The selected tapes will potentially range from classics like the "Gloria" tapes (which cover Rogerian, Gestalt, and rational- emotive theories) and a more recent "Integrative Psychotherapy" tape series through to several current evidence-based approaches to treatment of depression. The format is combined lecture/seminar. Reading assignments will be provided before the first class so students can prepare; final projects will be due the last day of class.


This course provides students with an opportunity to develop engagement, assessment and intervention skills in individual, family, and group work with urban youth (aged 11-21). The course will focus on practice within a wide range of government and agency-based settings, including: prevention, school, mental health, foster care, criminal justice and residential programs. Attention will be given to the development of skills that foster interdisciplinary collaboration within and between urban systems of care. There will be a focus on understanding the ways in which racism and other forms of oppression can impact both adolescent development and social service delivery systems.


This course will introduce students to the European-heritage and Indigenous cultures of and contemporary socio-political issues facing developing countries with a focus on Latin America emphasizing issues affecting children and families in of Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Guatemala, and Costa Rica. Using Costa Rica as the focus of study, domestic and international aid responses to poverty and vulnerable populations, public and private, will be explored.

This course is an opportunity to learn about and from the developing world… in Costa Rica! From a global perspective (with an emphasis on Latin America), we will explore social policy issues as they affect vulnerable populations, particularly children and families. We will be introduced to domestic and international aid responses through guest lectures and site visits.

For the field portion of the program, we will be spending three to six afternoons at a public child care center for very poor, pre-school children, half of whom are Costa Rican and half of whom are from Nicaragua. Students should be prepared to engage the children in activities (arts and crafts, music, dance, games), providing their own supplies.


This course will critically examine selected recent controversies over how depression is defined, diagnosed, and treated. Readings will draw on both the empirical-research and conceptual literatures. The broader debate over how to define the concept of mental disorder versus normal distress, as it bears on depression, will also be considered. In addition, we will examine several evidence-based approaches to treatment using tapes of clinical interviews wherever possible. The evidence-based theories to be considered will tentatively include Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, Interpersonal Psychotherapy, and Behavioral Analysis. The format is combined lecture/seminar. Reading assignments will be provided before the first class so students can prepare; final projects will be due the last day of class.


This course will examine the personal, biological, psychological, social, cultural, organizational, and community dimensions of HIV disease in the United States and across the globe. Students will learn to analyze the differential impact that HIV disease has on various cultural and ethnic groups as well as individual, family and policy issues in order to understand the interrelatedness of personal, clinical, community and environmental concerns. A major aim of the course will be to develop a combination HIV prevention package for a specific target community. Students will be asked to integrate contextual, epidemiological, biomedical and behavioral approaches to addressing a “most at risk” (MARP) population.


This purpose of this course is to introduce students to the concept of ethical leadership, and the characteristics, attitudes, commitments, and actions of ethical leaders. The course embraces a problem-based collaborative learning approach using case studies. This elective course consists of two hours class meeting time plus the equivalent of one-hour asynchronous, non-proximate teaching/learning time for collaborative learning exercises. The course meets once a week for six weeks.


This course delivers a combination of field practice, academic study, technical instruction, and individual supervision. Students in the course are involved in two educational activities: (1) intensive daily language instruction and (2) a community field project designed to address health and social welfare issues in Sosúa, Dominican Republic. Students integrate academic materials with GIS mapping in the field, concluding with a cohesive contextual analysis of their work in Sosúa with a final presentation/report.


This course is aimed at developing the knowledge and skills necessary for working with individuals with a diagnosis of serious mental illness using recovery-oriented, evidence-based practices. It is designed for MSW students and MSW mental health practitioners. Students will become familiar with evidence-based practices, within a recovery-oriented paradigm, as a general approach to practice as well as specific evidence-based interventions to use for individuals with a diagnosis of serious mental illness. It is assumed that students will have a basic knowledge of serious mental illness as a pre- or co-requisite, however a review will be provided. Students will learn to examine research literature to determine the various levels of support for specific interventions and essential principles for translating research into practice. In addition, they will identify the appropriate treatment outcomes that reflect effective, quality mental health practice. Each evidence-based practice presented will also be examined for its utility with diverse groups. Providing assessment and treatment to a diverse group of individuals with a diagnosis of serious mental illness is the focus of this course and will be discussed in detail.


This course will focus on clients who have been affected by a wide scope of traumatic events, ranging from interpersonal violence and sexual abuse to single event community traumas such as school and workplace violence to national and international disasters. Students will learn EBP trauma therapy models, as well as issues related to secondary and shared trauma experienced by service providers.


Social work clinicians play a key role in a new approach to criminal justice: therapeutic jurisprudence. Students will become familiar with traditional court approaches in a variety of cases and how the presence of the social work professional in the courtroom results in case resolutions that are more meaningful for the court, for the community and for the defendant. Participants will become familiar with court papers and presenting clinical recommendations in court. The goals of the judge, the prosecution and the defense in both the traditional and therapeutic/problem-solving courts will be discussed. The course concludes with an overview of therapeutic courts nationally and internationally.


This course will introduce the student to the signs and affects related to grief, loss and bereavement. Each will be defined, described, and presented in how it appears in latent or manifest form. The overall objective of this course is to help students understand acknowledged and unacknowledged grief and/or depression and the effects of significant losses in life. The process of mourning will be illustrated with case vignettes and presented with focus on the life cycle and examined in accord with particular developmental issues per age and stage of life.


How are globalization processes affecting the lives of people in the world? The course examines the movement of people, commodities, and capital and the ways in which these processes are changing economies and cultures. The course will cover aspects of transnationalism and migration, production, distribution and consumption practices in global perspective, the formation of new identities and the construction of minorities, gender dynamics and the pursuit of human rights. We will adopt a multidisciplinary perspective to examine the relations between economy, society and culture. The focus will be on understanding the generation of inequalities (poverty, wealth, luxury, and marginalization) in globalization.


Since the beginning of the profession in the early 1900s, social workers have engaged in systematic efforts to promote federal legislation and policies that protect the vulnerable populations they serve and that advance access to social work services. The present time is no different. Following on the Presidential election and as a new Congress prepares to begin its work, this course will bring social work students to Washington DC to learn about how advocacy work is carried out on Capitol Hill and to learn from social policy experts based in DC about key legislative issues that social workers must engage within the 113th Congress.


This course will use concepts from the disciplines of history, anthropology, political science, public health and social work to provide students with an overview of social movements both in Argentina and the United States. The course will emphasize the role of social workers in the movements and students will be able to develop an understanding of community organizing. Students will leave the course understanding how to engage in community change processes. The course will begin with a one day intensive introduction to Argentinean history and culture, Spanish vocabulary, in preparation for arrival in Buenos Aires. Once in Argentina, classes will focus on a major topic per day, with weekends devoted to class trips, meals, and/or optional group activities, which compliment what is learned in class. The class will conclude with group projects concentrating on community organizing campaigns.


The demands and opportunities for social workers today require that they be knowledgeable about management practice and organizational issues whether in a solo practice, in a supervisory position, as a direct line service provider, or as a social entrepreneur. The interrelated aims of this course are to: 1) survey selected management and organization theories and approaches; 2) demonstrate how clinical knowledge and skills can be adapted for management and organizational practice; 3) demonstrate how social media can be effectively used to advance organizational goals; 4) demonstrate the ways that anthropological, sociological, and humanistic mind-sets and methods apply to understanding organizations; 5) introduce learners to key organizational factors such as organizational culture, mission, ethics, employee relations, financing, innovation, accountability, and fund raising. In addition to the opportunity to develop a social media project for an organization, the course offers the opportunity to engage in a hands-on class project similar to what consultants might do.


This three credit-hour experiential and service-learning course will take place in Puebla, Mexico and will provide students the opportunity to examine the impact of migration on issues of social welfare and public health in Puebla, Mexico; a state of particular relevance to New York as more than 60% of Mexican immigrants in New York City are natives of Puebla. Poblanos in New York City face unique obstacles – the policies, opportunity structures and resources in New York greatly influence the behaviors and outcomes of Poblanos in New York. Health disparities, including HIV/AIDS, mental health and substance abuse are only some of the consequences of the structural inequalities and challenges related to migration. This course will deliver a combination of cultural exchange, Spanish language classes, visits to service providers, and substantive lectures on major factors affecting Poblano health, traditional health practices, and aspects of Mexico’s general health care system. Students will conduct field trips and fieldwork associated with these topics. This program described is a collaborative effort between faculty from the Universidad Popular Autonoma del Estado de Puebla (UPAEP) and NYU’s Silver School of Social Work.


This course will examine key issues in global mental health in low- and middle-income countries (LMIC) as well as the Unites States. It will explore current health system responses to mental health needs, using WHO data, regional summaries, and more detailed narratives of case studies from Argentina, other Latin America countries, sub-Saharan Africa and the United States. This course will look at the challenges to providing mental health care in diverse settings, including resource poor settings as well as evidence-based interventions to addressing the mental health needs and psychosocial well-being of communities. In addition to general mental health, the course will examine four specific topic areas related to health and mental health from a global perspective: HIV/AIDS, Substance Use, Trauma and Positive Youth Development.


This course examines historical and contemporary understanding of contemplative practices and potential effectiveness with social work students, clinicians, and their respective client populations. Students will explore, compare and contrast Eastern and Western worldviews to gain a better understanding of the impact of mindfulness practices. The outcomes of neurological and psychophysiological studies demonstrate the relationship of mind-body connection. These empirical findings show mindfulness based practices increase level of self-awareness, clinical attunement and level of self-care to cope with emotional exhaustion, vicarious trauma and burn out. This class includes an integration of western empirical knowledge and practice wisdom of the east (i.e., breathing exercises, meditation, body scan, and eastern meridian and Qi Gong exercises). Course only offered to 2nd year students.

MSWEL-GS.2051 Prerequisite: MSWAC-GS.2001.

The works of several theorists from both the object relations and ego psychology schools are studied. Theorists such as Jacobson, Hartmann, Klein, Fairbairn, Guntrip, and Winnicott are covered.

MSWEL-GS.2059 Prerequisite: MSWPF-GS.2002.

After considering the role of societal attitudes that are crucial in understanding the prevalence of sexual abuse, the course focuses on helping students to understand the special needs of both female and male adult survivors of sexual abuse and violence. It explores the stigma attached to victims of incest and rape. It prepares students to recognize the presence and to explore the history of sexual abuse, and it equips them with the skills essential to the use of the individual, family, and group intervention with this population. Current controversies (e.g., regarding the law, the press, and sexism) are addressed.


This course has a number of interrelated aims, including: 1) to provide a survey of theories of memory from the classical period to the present day; 2) to demonstrate the extent to which ideas of memory permeate the fields of literature, culture, and, increasingly, clinical practice; 3) to provide a comprehensive survey of contemporary literature and research on autobiographical and collective memory; 4) to review current developments in brain science on memory and forgetting; 5) to examine clinical practice implications of recent research on memory; and 6) to explore the moral and ethical dimensions of memory and forgetting. The course also provides an opportunity to engage in a hands-on class project using multimodal methods of inquiry and presentation.


Course description coming soon.


This course uses three frameworks: conceptualizations based on mind-body medicine, the study of chronic illness and it’s impact on the family and interdisciplinary perspectives about the chronic illness. The class will include an overview of several disorders that impact both health and mental health and look at the interrelationship between the body and the mind. A variety of guest speakers, who are experts in their fields will be invited to present. The course will cover a number of disorders across the life cycle, from childhood to later life. For example, the course will cover Attention Deficit Disorder in childhood; in adulthood, we will look at multiple sclerosis and in older age, Parkinson disease, memory loss and dementia and discuss end of life issues. Using a family-centered approach, the course will examine how these disorders impact both the individual and family. To enhance learning and understanding from the client and family’s perspective the class will include panels of persons and families impacted with some of the diseases covered in class. Implications for social work practice will be covered throughout.



This course provides students with the specialized knowledge and skills needed for practice in the field of child welfare. Course content includes an overview of relevant historical, legal, developmental, research, and policy issues. Within this framework, a range of social work services to children and families is examined from a practice perspective.


In this course students will examine the latest developments in integrative behavioral health including service delivery and direct practice models. The course is offered in conjunction with Advanced Social Policy in Integrative Behavioral Health and students are encouraged to enroll in both courses.


This course familiarizes social work students with the legal rights of individuals, pertinent laws, and the legal process and clinical practice issues (e.g., confidentiality), thereby enhancing their ability to help their clients. Legal issues relating to HIV/AIDS, juvenile justice, child welfare, the mentally ill, and entitlement benefits are covered.

MSWEL-GS.2055 Prerequisite: MSWPF-GS.2002.

This course, which will be offered at our Washington Square campus, uses a bio-psycho-social approach with emphasis on emotional regulation to prepare students to work with traumatized children in the context of their family, school, social and support systems. Trauma situations that will be examined include community and family violence and neglect as well as stressors such as poverty, illness, immigration and teen pregnancy. Emerging models of treatment and prevention involving the child, family and community will be studied.


The overall objective of this course is to provide students with an integrative framework that combines direct practice with individuals, families, groups, and communities with a commitment to organizational and social change. Students are helped to develop skills in a broad range of practitioner roles. The course examines the history, values, and ethics of the profession; the societal and organizational context of practice; and the impact of racism and oppression. Skills in systems assessment, engagement, interviewing, collaboration and advocacy, relationship issues and self-awareness, and the practice principles of both crisis and extended intervention are taught. A social work laboratory component provides students with opportunities for experiential learning.

MSWEL-GS.2064 Prerequisite: MSWPF-GS.2002.

This course examines the challenges and opportunities of social work practice in educational settings. It addresses roles and functions of social workers within a complex ecological system of home/school/community. Development of assessment, engagement, and intervention skills in crisis intervention, consultation, group work, advocacy, and mediation are emphasized. The course addresses current urban issues that influence school practice such as violence, homelessness, AIDS, substance abuse, physical and sexual abuse, diversity, and cross-cultural communication.

MSWEL-GS.2088 Prerequisite: MSWPF-GS.2006.

The overall objective of this course is to look at attachment in infancy and early childhood in a contemporary cultural context. Various theories and relevant research are reviewed from a critical perspective. The dialectic between attachment and separation will be explored. Attachment is viewed in the context of an expanding environment with consideration of multiple caretakers, multiple social roles, and diversity of family life and parenting roles.


This course is designed to address the full range of child development. Starting with beginning years including issues related to temperament, the parent-child relationship, attachment, and affect regulation. Brain development, including language and cognitive development, the psychoanalytic concepts of representation, internalization, internalization and the development of the self will be explored. The importance of play and to development of the toddler will be discussed. We will also cover the pre-school years and include behavior difficulties in children of this age. The important cognitive concepts of Pia get will be included. Middle childhood development will be covered, as well as, school of this age group. An analysis of risk factors and the effects of abuse and trauma will be explored. Issues of diversity will be included across all age groups.

One-Credit Electives


Meditation, Yoga, Metaphors, Gestalt exercises-Can these facilitate behavior change? What do they have in common with behavior therapy? Students attending Latest Developments in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) will learn ACT techniques, theory, and the mechanisms of change that may be (in part) responsible for the benefits of other practices, like yoga and meditation for our clients. Differences, similarities, and challenges to integration will be touched on as ACT and other "Third Wave" therapies are put in the context of traditional behavior therapies and cognitive therapies.


This mini course provides students with an introduction to the clinical social work with individuals with disabilities from a multicultural perspective. Students will be provided a framework toward the examination of cross cultural historical attitudes and perceptions towards the people with disabilities. In addition, they will be introduced to the ethical and philosophical principles the Americans with Disabilities Act and social service systems developed for improving the quality of life for individuals living with disabilities and their family members.


This course will cover the application of creative arts therapy theory and practice within a social work framework. The class will focus primarily on the field of art therapy, but will also include some exposure, through guest lecturers, to other non-verbal creative arts modalities such as: music therapy, drama therapy, and movement/dance therapy. The class is designed to include a substantial amount of hands-on art-making and role-play to provide students with practical tools for incorporating the arts into practice with a variety of populations. The course will utilize case material from students’ field work when appropriate to illustrate how to design effective art therapy interventions. The following populations and topics will be covered as they relate to art and therapy interventions: client engagement; treatment planning; developmental stages of drawing, work with children, adolescents, adults and families; trauma; relational abuse; cultural sensitivity, and the unique counter-transference issues of non-verbal therapies.


This mini course provides students with an introduction to the clinical social work with individuals with disabilities from a multicultural perspective. Students will be provided a framework toward the examination of cross cultural historical attitudes and perceptions towards the people with disabilities. In addition, they will be introduced to the ethical and philosophical principles the Americans with Disabilities Act and social service systems developed for improving the quality of life for individuals living with disabilities and their family members.


This course takes an in-depth look at the relationship between family child care providers and vulnerable families in the United States. A disproportionate number of vulnerable parents rely on family child care providers to care for their children each day. The course considers the reasons why families turn to family child care providers for care, paying particular attention to the literature that offers both economic and sociocultural explanations. Recent studies suggest that family child care providers act as key nodes in vulnerable families' social networks, often serving as linkages between families and social services, as well as providing critical information on housing, schools, jobs, and health care. During the latter portion of the course students will develop ideas for programs designed to recognize and utilize family child care providers as partners in the struggle to support vulnerable families.


This course will provide an overview of the various psychiatric disorders of childhood and DSM-IV TR criteria for each diagnosis. Special consideration will be given to understanding the ways in which children's psychological disorders may be different from those of adults, and the complexities involved in diagnosing disorders in childhood. We will also examine the developmental course of each disorder, noting how biological, psychological, and social factors can influence that trajectory. A brief overview of various treatment modalities and issues in working with children will be provided. Case material illustrating various childhood disorders will also be presented.


This one credit intersession course is required for Immigrant Child Welfare Fellows and open to other matriculated and non-matriculation students taking courses at one of the Consortium schools of social work. The course examines issues of clinical practice with immigrant families across the family life cycle and key periods of child development. Course content is anchored in new models emphasizing family-focused, neighborhood-based culturally competent approaches to child welfare practice. Session one overviews the process of establishing effective therapeutic alliances with immigrant families over stages of the helping process of engagement, assessment and planning, treatment/ intervention and termination. Session two focuses on the implications of the immigration experience for children at critical periods of development including infancy and early childhood; latency/school aged children and adolescence. Certificates of completion will be awarded to students who are not taking the course for academic credit. Those taking the course for credit are required to complete a mini final assignment and will receive a letter grade and transfer credit as approved by their schools.


Upon the completion of this mini course, student will have acquired a beginning understanding of what makes social work practice with African American individuals and families unique. The course will examine the past and current status of African American individuals and families in the United States and will alert students to the specific knowledge, skills, values, and strategies required to work successfully with this population.


This course will introduce student to Family Systems Theory and its application to clinical work with families. Students will develop a familiarity with and learn to use core family therapy concepts and techniques such as: joining, mapping, enactment, reframing, identifying intergenerational patterns and recognizing the impact of larger systems on families. Clinical vignettes, videotapes, case presentations, and role-plays will be utilized to illustrate these techniques.


Working with survivors of intimate partner violence (IPV) and sexual assault can challenge the mettle of seasoned social workers. This course will introduce key concepts worker need to understand before undertaking this clinical task. It will describe the key players in the emergency room as well as the priorities of each. The psychodynamics of IPV and the trauma of sexual assault will be reviewed. The course will introduce principles of crisis intervention and legal issues that arise in helping this population. It will cover cultural considerations, including issues relevant to the LGBTQ community. Common counter-transference issues will be explored.d


The purpose of this course is to provide the student with an introduction to the principles and theory of cognitive behavioral therapy. A primary goal of this course is to demonstrate specific therapeutic techniques and interventions in order to provide the student with a firm grounding in the clinical application of the theory.


This course provides an overview of the need and approaches to engage in conflict resolution for children and adolescents. It also provides opportunity to understand the needed skill and techniques utilized in conflict resolution.


This course will focus on learning to use the basic concepts of Gestalt Therapy in order to stay as close as possible to clients' experiences as a way to help them gain awareness as to how they live in the world. Both of these modalities heavily emphasize engaging in an authentic dialogue with one's client. Gestalt therapy theory, with its holistic, humanistic, and existential approach to working with clients at the interface of the person and environment provides a multidimensional frame for clinical social work practice, which is complemented by self psychology's heavy emphasis on the social worker remaining empathically attuned to the feelings and needs of their clients. Much of this course will be experiential, with a great deal of time spent on enhancing each student's ability to track their clients' thoughts, feelings, and behaviors in order to deepen their clinical work.


This course will be an introduction to the assessment and diagnosis of psychological trauma, with an emphasis on its physiology. It will provide an overview of the history of psychology's understanding of traumatic experience and how that has shifted over time. Dissociative disorders, as traumatic sequelae, will be discussed. New diagnostic categories of Complex PTSD and DESNOS, Disorders of Extreme Stress Not Otherwise Specified, will be explained. Then, an in-depth exploration will highlight cutting edge research into current treatment modalities, including body-oriented psychotherapies and EMDR. Vivid clinical case material will be presented and films will be used to illustrate phase-oriented treatment of trauma.


Individuals diagnosed with borderline personality disorder are considered among the most difficult to treat in psychotherapy. They frequently engage in high risk behaviors such as suicidality and self injury which result in risk management challenges. In addition, these patients' unstable affects and relationships jeopardize social and occupational functioning and therapeutic alliances. This course introduces students to theoretical perspectives and treatment interventions of DBT, an empirically validated psychotherapy designed by Marsha Linehan, PhD, for the treatment of individuals diagnosed with borderline personality disorder. The course utilizes case material to illustrate key issues in assessment, diagnosis, engagement and treatment planning.


This course will introduce a cohesive perspective from which to consider immediate, emerging, later, and long-term community engagement and clinical practice in the aftermath of disaster. Considering collective and individual impact, as well as resourcefulness as disasters evolve, discussion will include dimensions of distress, trauma, loss, and traumatic loss. Providing a global and historical context, the focus will include a variety of disasters. The Newtown, Connecticut school shooting will be considered in the context of other school and community shootings. Hurricane/ Super Storm Sandy will be considered, from underreported devastation in the Caribbean, to unprecedented regional and local realities. The Japan earthquake/tsunami/ nuclear power plant disaster, the Haiti earthquake and attendant cholera epidemic, the Gulf Coast region hurricanes of Katrina and Rita, the Indian Ocean region tsunami, and the terrorism of September 11, 2001, offer context, and will be viewed within a long-term perspective, along with other disasters. The course will identify the diversity of social work roles with individuals, groups, and communities having distinctly unique situations, and will look at the significant roles of community, support systems, and cultural foundations. The inevitable impact on clinicians of providing community engagement and clinical practice across the long-term continuum of unfolding disaster, along with their resourcefulness will be addressed, highlighting the importance of reflective self-care for student and social worker, on-going support, continued learning, and active social engagement.


This mini-elective will provide an overview of the most common psychiatric illnesses occurring in childhood. By the end of the course, students will be familiar with symptomatology of the major disorders, and have an understanding of current treatment strategies.


This three day class will explore eating disorders as a metaphor for relationship. The etiology, assessment, types of eating disorders, signs and symptoms, co-morbidity, and differential treatment and levels of care will all be addressed. Lecture, video and case vignettes will be used to illustrate course content.


Students will learn about entitlements in the areas of child welfare, income level, and age. The class will examine eligibility and how to advocate for clients to have access to entitlements.


This mini course focuses on the adolescent "aging out" of foster care. Policy and practice issues are discussed in workshop format which provides an overview of the systemic problems that contribute to foster care failures. Students will be presented with an array of methods for helping teens become empowered and focused on their futures. The interventions introduced and discussed in this workshop, developed in this New York City based self-advocacy program, are currently being implemented in adolescent sites across the country.


This course will focus on expanding our understanding of the many aspects of bereavement using a developmental, cultural and a situational perspective. Highlighted in this course will be the issues and concerns of the disenfranchised, the adolescent and those bereaved due to suicide, homicide or intentional human acts. Through lecture, discussion and role-play we will explore various counseling techniques with a focus on bereavement groups. Finally, we will explore how the social worker's loss history can affect the nature of the work with a bereaved individual or a group.


This mini-course will focus on building practical group facilitation skills usable across a variety of group types and group theories. Focus will be on stages of group development, member roles, communication patterns, problem solving in groups and skill practice. Suitable for students who have not yet taken Clinical Practice with Groups, or advanced concentration students looking to improve their group skills.


This course will provide an overview of the various dynamics that group leaders should consider when leading short- or long-term groups with children, adolescents, or parents of children and adolescents. These elements include: the agency and community setting, the needs of the group members, the purpose of the group, the diverse composition of the group members, and the content and structure of the group. The objective of this course, which will include lecture, discussion, role play, and case vignettes, will be to explore in detail the dynamics of group work with children and adolescents and parents of children and adolescents to assure that students are fully prepared in the future to lead groups with these three populations. Special attention will be given to preparing students to lead groups that address specific issues and challenges such as abused children, acting-out adolescents, as well as parents of hospitalized children and adolescents.


Health care settings include acute care hospitals, rehabilitation hospitals, community health clinics, long-term care facilities, hospice services, and home health care agencies. Social workers in these practice settings assist individuals and families to increase their capacity for functioning in the face of physical and psychosocial challenges presented by disease and/or disability. Social Work practice may take the form of case manager, counselor, mediator, educator, and/or advocate. Social workers with an administrative focus assume leadership roles in the development, management, and evaluation of health-related programs anywhere along the continuum of health care services. They may work with patients/families, other health professionals, and policy makers to address health conditions, community health issues, population-based health disparities and policy environments in the context of complex and interrelated psychological, interpersonal, medical, social, economic, and political factors. For all these social work professionals, knowledge of the history, structures, and processes of the healthcare system is necessary to fostering high quality patient and family care, as well as efficient/effective service provision. The ability to apply this knowledge in practice and program planning further supports the crucial role that social work plays and will continue to play within the healthcare arena. This course will provide an overview of how hospital/health system policy, reform, regulatory and reimbursement mechanisms, demographic trends, and interdisciplinary practice facilitate or hinder patient access to and utilization of services. In addition, issues related to healthcare disparities and the impact of non-clinical determinants on healthcare access, cost, and patient outcomes will be addressed. Implications for social work practice will be discussed throughout the course.


Course will explore the impact of immigration and re-settlement stressors for various ethnic groups including: Mexicans, Dominicans, Jamaicans and possible others. Particular attention will be given to issues within family life, immigrant Status, entitlements, community resources and services will be discussed.


The Interpersonal matrix is at the heart of clinical work and human development. This mini course will review Interpersonal theory perspectives from Sullivan, Bowlby and Interpersonal Psychotherapy (IPT) research to provide a basic framework for understanding human relations. In addition to the theoretical perspective, a practical integrative skills methodology incorporating Interpersonal/Cognitive Behavioral principals will be reviewed and applied to case examples. This course offers a practical skills approach for students to utilize in clinical settings.


This course will instruct beginning students in the basic diagnostic categories for mental illness as listed and described in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (DSM-IV TR, 2000). These criteria are used throughout the mental health agency system. The module is designed to give students a head start in conducting multi-axial assessments and use basic terminology. More significant examination of mental disorders in the context of their bio-psycho-social etiologies, cultural relevance, epidemiology and evidence-basis will take place in the full-semester HBSE III course.


This two day class will review child treatment from a contemporary perspective. The course will review treatment techniques in child treatment (play therapy), child and family treatment, interpretation of play and metaphors, the use of narration in child treatment, and issues of self and other regulation in the child therapy setting. We will review innovations from infant research and concepts such as mentalization, self and mutual regulation, children and narrative functioning. The course will also examine clinical issues in addressing trauma, physical and sexual abuse, loss, school problems, and other related issues that emerge in work with children. Clinical materials will also be used to illustrate course content.


This class is an experiential and theoretical step and study into mindfulness practice, emotional regulation and the subcortical, implicit inner world of relational neuroscience. Students will develop an understanding of the neuropsychological mindfulness framework and ways to incorporate this into social work practice. This includes an expanded understanding of right -brain to right -brain engagement—and developing a relational perspective. Class discussion, lecture, video and case presentation, along with practice of mindfulness meditation will be incorporated to demonstrate these principles help students develop an appreciation of a mindful approach.


This course focuses on Emotionally Disturbed Youth in the Justice system. It reviews the size/scope of emotionally disturbed youth in the system. It explores the reasons for this including system failures, it examines pathways of youth into criminal justice. It reviews the need for assessment and treatment and explores community based service options for these youth.


Narratives can help us make the connections between personal life, social institutions, and social structure, and use those understandings to challenge traditional approaches to social policy development. This intensive course focuses on how narratives are used in social media, journalism, op eds, interviews, autobiographical accounts, fiction and drama, political speeches and arguments, and even cartoons, to advance a point of view, to persuade others, and to encourage or discourage action. The theories informing the course are rooted in the traditions of literary interpretation and feminist sociology. Figurative language, metaphors, rhetorical choices, plot, and the reader's impulse to fill in the blanks are some of the tools that are used to interpret narratives and to provide insights into macro and micro social policy processes. Students will have the opportunity to construct and disseminate a policy relevant narrative, broadly defined, of interest to social work. The narrative can take any of the forms mentioned above, including a blog, a video, graphic story, or photographic essay.


This one credit elective is designed to introduce students to fundamental aspects of neurobehavioral disorders, with a focus on children and adolescents. Students will learn ways to identify and work with clients who have been exposed to trauma. The course will introduce the neural, physiological and cognitive aspects of emotion, with an emphasis on self-awareness and strategies to help develop emotional awareness, emotional tolerance, and adaptive responses.


Scientific research in the field of neurobiology over the past decade has led to profound discoveries regarding brain systems, neurobiology, and their implications for social work practice. This course will provide foundations in neurobiological study through a social work perspective, and discuss its effectiveness as a rapidly expanding theoretical model in the field of social work. Students will acquire a fundamental understanding of interacting brain systems as they influence clients’ behavioral, social, and emotional worlds, and will be taught the skills to apply this theory in a variety of treatment settings. Special attention will be paid to trauma, mood disorders, and anxiety disorders, though the practical application of neurobiological processes is relevant to students seeking to engage in any empathic, culturally competent area of practice.


Social workers have a very long history of involvement in the world of work. Today, social workers can be found in every arena of the workplace from working as clinical social workers in Employee Assistance Programs to human resource management to managed behavioral health care, labor unions and organizational development. This course will provide an overview of the world of work and the exciting opportunities for what has been termed "occupational social work." It will identify the specific knowledge, skills and abilities needed for the various positions as well as some of the ethical issues that can occur in such environments.


This course provides a basic understanding of learning disabilities as well as deficits in attention. Students will gain knowledge regarding behavioral and academic symptoms and differential diagnoses regarding behavior and underlying learning issues. In addition to identification of the problems, the course will address interventions including referral, advocacy, and family support. A case seminar format will be used to discuss actual cases.


Positive psychology is the study of what constitutes and contributes to personal happiness, life satisfaction, and sense of well being; the identification and enhancement of individual strengths and positive emotions such as optimism, creativity, courage, and gratitude; and the methods of applying this knowledge in order to strengthen what is positive in individuals and in institutions. The course will describe the history, philosophy, major tenets, and empirical base of positive psychology, and the interventions and measures that have been designed to foster and monitor positive development.


This one credit intensive explores both clinical and social policy considerations with respect to understanding and treating Spanish Language/Heritage families in the United States. Distinct modules address Basic Values of Respect, Dignity, and "Personalism;" Family and Kinship Organization and Dynamics; Belief Systems of Health and Illness across Ethnicities; Signs and Symptoms of Substance Abuse (includes English and Spanish "street" terms); U.S. and U.N. Immigration Classifications, and Communication Styles: Conducting the Biopsychosocial Interview across Cultures and How to Work with an Interpreter. To facilitate comprehension, students use a downloadable workbook that aids in note-taking. The method of instruction includes lecture, discussion, and role play. This course is taught in Spanish; a level of "fair fluency" is sufficient.


Students entering the social work profession are well aware of the potential for burnout, especially when faced with traumatized clients such as those in foster care, criminal justice, child welfare, sexual abuse, domestic violence, and military communities. Although there is extensive literature illuminating the problem of burnout and vicarious trauma, there remains a dearth of practical solutions or available programs to help workers and agencies cope. The usual approach to reducing burnout is defined as “self-care”: setting up a troubling assumption that secondary or vicarious trauma is the worker’s fault. This course will present evidence that this paradigm is counterproductive. We will explore more recent evidence-based and promising practice approaches to the resolution of burnout and vicarious trauma that include clear definitions of the problem and do not rely solely on the practitioner "taking care" of him or herself.


This mini-course will review diagnostic categories and symptoms of the major mental illnesses. Appropriate medications for particular conditions will be described along with potential side effects. Clinical issues around social work with clients on medication, such as taking or not taking meds, will be discussed. Issues that arise in collaborative work with interdisciplinary teams will be described.


This mini-course will focus on the changing beliefs that people with severe mental illness can, and do get well and the concomitant practices. There is much literature from other disciplines, other cultures, and from consumers/ survivors/ ex-patients to attest to this. What is lacking is the social work voice. This is surprising because the majority of professionals involved in the care and treatment of persons with severe mental illness are social workers. Through exploration of the literature, knowledge gained in the field, case material and consumer input, the students in this class will be in a position to add their voices to the literature about and practice with this population. This course will be taught in a seminar fashion and will include short videos, case presentations, relevant readings, and discussions.


This 10-hour course will address current neuroscience and psychopharmacological research in schizophrenia and bipolar disorder as well as the significant contributions of psychosocial research and intervention. The latter will include, but not be limited to, the following: group and individual psychotherapy, need-adapted treatment, psycho education, multiple family groups, cognitive-behavioral approaches, case management, therapeutic communities, etc.


This one-credit intensive will function as a primer for social workers on how to begin and sustain discussions about sexual health and sexuality with their clients, treating sex as a quality of life issue, whose understanding is essential for diverse practice. The course will provide a basic understanding of clinical sexuality issues and will provide students with the skills to do a basic sexual health assessment. There will be a special focus on out-of-control sexual behavior, an often hidden, but clinically important issue.


This course is designed to introduce the history, the law and the dynamics of domestic violence. Will focus on the cycle of violence, progression of violence, definition of abuse and what makes for a healthy relationship. Briefly discuss special populations affected including children, teens and same sex relations. Explore treatment modalities and how cultural competency impacts domestic violence work. Introduce the idea of Women Who use Force. Review safety planning, crisis intervention and discuss resources available.


This elective will focus on developing knowledge, values, and skills applicable to social work practice within schools and university/college counseling centers. The course will provide an overview of a wide range of social work roles, program models, modalities, and intervention strategies within schools and college counseling centers. Attention will be given to a variety of social work roles including clinical practice with individuals, parents, families, and groups; consultation and collaboration with interdisciplinary staff and prevention; program development, and organizational/systems work within school and college settings.


This one credit elective describes the manner in which global conflict and unrest have led to the deployment of large numbers of military personnel, its effect on those deployed and their families. The course further describes the military family and how the family exists within the social context of the military. The course will review both normative and unique stressors that the military family navigates and how social workers can intervene effectively to aid with those stressors. Specific issues of family violence, coping with pre-deployments, separation, post deployment, reintegration periods, adjustments through the family life cycle, and advocating with the military for change are covered. The course illustrates how the ethnic identity and diversity concerns of the military family are addressed within the military. The course illustrates the macro and policy concerns that impact on the military family. The course emphasizes a strengths perspective that can be used to empower the military family. Finally, a close look at issues related to service delivery, stigma associated with accessing behavioral health services, field/practice competencies and implications for the social work profession.


Recent studies show that women's use and abuse of alcohol and other drugs not only differs from that of men, but varies over their life cycle. In order to provide appropriate treatment, it is critical that the nature of substances used and abused by women be examined in light of women's lifespan - from adolescence to late life.


This will instruct social work students in how to conduct psycho-educational parenting groups with vulnerable, at risk, urban populations seen in social-service and mental health settings. The module will teach the basics of conducting a psycho-educational group intervention, as well as provide basic child developmental information and adaptive parental coping skills that can be taught to parents of children from birth to 6 years.


This mini-elective will provide an overview of the impact of various forms of trauma on children, including Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and Attachment problems, and how these experiences and difficulties inform treatment interventions and course. Students will learn the importance of entering the child's world at their own level through play, and how play techniques and interventions open the door to processing trauma and healing in a way that traditional talk therapies cannot. The use of symbolism and metaphor will be emphasized in the exploration of various interventions. Care of the therapist in this work will also be discussed.


An Introduction: This nine hour course is designed to introduce social work practitioners to the concepts and language of outcome management and its applications in human services organizations and systems. Content will include an understanding of outcome thinking and how it differs from other ways of analyzing and solving problems; an overview of the key outcome thinking and how it differs from other ways of analyzing and solving problems; an overview of the key outcome tools and frameworks used in child welfare, substance abuse and mental health settings, and practical examples of how clinicians are expected to participate and interact with outcome management strategies. Interactive exercises are used to demonstrate key concepts with a short assignment applying outcome concepts to field or work experiences. Implications of outcome management in health care reform and other recent developments will also be explored.


Although controversial, the Harm Reduction approach to substance use treatment is becoming more accepted as a viable alternative treatment approach in the addiction field. This mini course will define the concept of Harm Reduction and discuss its application in different settings, including agency, private practice, and street work with needle exchange clients. Case material will include work with people who use heroin, alcohol, and cocaine. Students will learn how motivational interviewing can enhance work with clients and how a harm reduction approach can be used both in the initial engagement with substance users and throughout treatment. Handouts will be provided and students are invited to present cases.


Combat veterans are prepared to leave the war behind them, only to realize that an emotional battleground still awaits them when they return home. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are creating a generation of young men and women battling the invisible wounds of war, particularly depression, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injury. The first part of this workshop will focus on military cultural competency, in an effort to help clinicians understand the warrior mindset and allow them to more effectively engage the combat veteran in treatment. The workshop will then focus on the myriad of combat-related mental health reactions and symptoms facing returning veterans, as well as, the readjustment challenges for their families. Attendees will be introduced to effective clinical interventions, particularly cognitive behavioral models and the transition from combat zone to home zone will be explored through BATTLEMIND concepts. The workshop will conclude with a discussion of vicarious trauma and the importance of self-care.


This mini course will provide an overview of Islamic religion, Islamic cultures, and help social work clinicians gain essential skills on how to work with Muslim immigrant population living in the United States. Islam is the second largest monotheistic faith today and one of the fastest growing religions in the world. There are nearly ten million Muslim followers living in this country. In order to help social work students gain a religious and cross-cultural competence, this mini course will examine how cultural and religious stereotyping, discrimination, and prejudice interfere with the provision of psychological services. This course will use lectures, presentations, discussion and videos in order to provide students with an overview of Islamic faith and the role religion plays in a believer's life and his or her relationship to God, to family, marriage, sexuality, and one's community. It will examine the important concept of mental illness, cure, and faith healing within Islam. Finally, it will address the role of therapy, issues of transference and countertransference and how such personal reactions can be used therapeutically. By examining our own strong countertransference issues related to culture and religion, we do not only become more effective therapist, but also gain insight into ourselves and our past.


While the nonprofit leadership landscape may be shifting in women's favor, women are nowhere near an equal presence in leadership roles when compared to men. Attaining a top role in social work can be difficult for many women to achieve and unfortunately the percentage of women who manage to climb to the top of the ladder is slim. What are the barriers that exist for women leaders, in an effort to help students understand both past and current forces affecting women. We will then focus on the myriad of reasons for increasing the proportion of women leaders including economic, educational, and societal drivers. Students will be introduced to effective leadership strategies for social workers, particularly negotiation models, concepts regarding organizational savvy, as well as communication techniques. Students will be engaged via lectures, case vignettes, role play, and group work. The course will conclude with a discussion of self branding and the importance of thinking with the end in mind.


This course examines the social policy and clinical practice issues related to incarcerated women. Attention is given to traumatic events such as domestic abuse, substance abuse and separation from children and other family members and the consequences of these in terms of policy and practice issues. Clinical vignettes of women's struggles in and out of prison will be presented, discussed, and analyzed from a policy and practice perspective.