Master of Social Work Concentrations

Master of Social Work Concentrations

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Master of Social Work

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Concentrations

Clinical Mental Health and Addictions

Purpose: This concentration prepares students to provide psychotherapy and addictions services for individuals, families, and groups in rural and small-town settings. Students learn applicable theories for working in a behavioral health setting and have multiple opportunities to practice the application of those theories. Students also receive knowledge and skill development to develop professional relationships with diverse clients with alcohol, drug abuse, and/or behavioral addictions. Specific content on trauma-focused practice is included, in addition to content on macro practice in community mental health or addictions settings. The goal of this concentration is to help students understand how to practice in therapeutic settings, whether working with clients with mental health concerns, addictions issues, or a dual diagnosis.
Field placement opportunities for students in this concentration include private therapy offices, community mental health centers, inpatient mental health and/or addictions treatment settings, substance abuse clinics, drug court, and co-occurring mental health and addictions treatment.

Structure: Track-specific credits as outlined below:

 

SOWK7611: Clinical Social Work with Individuals (3 credits): This class teaches students the Transtheoretical Model (TTM) of assessment and intervention. The TTM posits that individuals move through six stages of change: pre-contemplation, contemplation, preparation, action, maintenance, and termination. Students will explore the four waves of mental health theory: psychodynamic, behaviorism, humanism and post-modern. Students will learn to work from an integrative frame of reference tying together theory and practice.

 

SOWK7612: Clinical Social Work with Families (2 credits): Students will critically explore Family Therapy Theorywithin the social work frame of reference. Students will learn to integrate theory and practice. Practical applications of family theory are explored through case examples, role play and reflective writing that includes both self-analysis and sociocultural understanding.

 

SOWK7612L: Clinical Social Work with Couples (1 credit): This course provides students the opportunity to become certified at the Gottman Method Couples Therapy Level 1. This is made possible through The Gottman Institute’s University Outreach Program. In class, students will watch the Level 1 training via streaming videos which are proctored by the professor. Certification is provided through The Gottman Institute. 

 

SOWK7613: Community Mental Health (1 credit): The purpose of SOWK 7613 is to bring students in the Mental Health and Substance Use track full circle in their understanding of professional social work. Students will learn the systemic connection between micro, mezzo, and macro-level practice within rural mental health settings. The course culminates in a community-based project that focuses on improving mental health of the community from a macro perspective.

 

SOWK7613L Community Mental Health in Rural Settings Lab (1 credit): Students will complete the community project that was devised during SOWK7613. Prerequisites: SOWK7613

 

SOWK7616: Beyond the DSM (2 credits): The history of how the DSM was developed is explored to provide an understanding of how the medical model became the foundation of mental health treatment. Students will learn the basic foundations of ethical diagnostic skills by studying and practicing using the DSM V. Students will also learn ethical practice of psycho-pharmacology. The holistic social work perspective of HBSE is foundational to how the material is presented. Critical thinking is emphasized in all aspects of understanding mental illness, diagnosis and psycho-pharmacology.

 

SOWK7618 Clinical Social Work with Groups (2 credits): Students will explore group therapy theory and fundamentals of group development and process. As participant learners, students will experience group dynamics through a modified group experience facilitated by the instructor. 

 

SOWK7619 Play Therapy (2 credits): The Play Therapy course serves as a supplemental course for students in the Clinical Mental Health and Addictions track. It is designed to introduce students to the world of play therapy and provide a foundation for continued education in the use of play when working with children, adolescents and their families. It is also helpful to adults especially those with developmental disabilities. It will give students a basic understanding of play therapy theories, concepts, techniques, as well as introduce them to the founders of play therapy.

 

SOWK6592 Trauma (2 credits): This course explores the impact of trauma through the lifespan. Polyvagal theory is introduced as essential to understanding the importance of the autonomic nervous system (ANS) and biologically based protective responses to threat. Trauma theory, assessment, and intervention are emphasized. The connection between the mind and body in regards to both the impact and healing of trauma are integrated into a comprehensive theory of practice.

 

SOWK6597 Addictions Practice with Individuals and Families (2 credits): This course focuses on theories of counseling related to addiction treatment, the treatment process for addictions, and crisis intervention with individuals and families. Historic and current policies around substance use across micro, mezzo, and macro systems use are explored. Students will be instructed in the use of a biopsychosocial model and DSM-V to diagnose and assist in facilitating an effective link between assessment and treatment planning for individuals and families experiencing substance use dependence.

 

Internship Expectations: Students in this track will complete 600 hours of practicum. A student can choose to complete all 600 hours in one area of practice (mental health or addictions) or split their hours between mental health and addictions. Ideal placements would provide students with experience in dual diagnosis treatment. Ideally, all 600 hours should be completed in the same agency, but certain circumstances may warrant allowing a student to complete placement hours at two agencies (e.g., getting both mental health and addictions experience cannot be accomplished in one agency). All 600 hours should be focused on micro/mezzo practice, though students may count some macro hours as needed by their particular placement site.

 

General Program: All students will also complete the following courses:

  • SOWK7630: Policy Issues in Rural America
  • SOWK7645: Practical Research
  • SOWK7620: HBSE: Diversity
  • SOWK7616: Beyond the DSM
  • SOWK7622: Social Work and Spirituality
  • Elective Credits: 2 credits
  • SOWK7690: Capstone OR SOWK7642: Completion of Thesis
  • SOWK7691: Specialist Comprehensive Exam

Integrated Clinical and Community Practice (ICCP)

Purpose: The purpose of this track is to combine training in a variety of fields of practice for students who are interested in clinical or macro MSW practice, but not in psychotherapy. The track will include content on integrated behavioral health, child welfare, medical, criminal justice, and macro practice. It will also include content at the micro, mezzo, and macro levels of practice in these areas. The systems mentioned typically have cross-over in client population and also have similarities in practice approaches. The goal of this concentration is to help students understand how to practice in one or more of these areas of social work while also appreciating the other systems with which their clients are likely to interact. A significant focus is on brief therapy and crisis intervention. Additionally, students will gain meaningful instruction on macro social work.

Field placement opportunities for child welfare include public and private child welfare agencies, juvenile justice programs, court settings, schools, and foster care/adoption agencies. Field placement opportunities for healthcare include dialysis centers, emergency rooms, community health clinics, home health and hospice agencies, and hospitals. Field placement opportunities for criminal justice include county, state, and federal jails/prisons, juvenile justice programs, and court settings. Students interested in macro practice can experience field placement opportunities in almost any setting. Specific agencies providing macro opportunities include NASW, AARP, Salvation Army, Health and Welfare.

 

Structure: Track-specific credits as outlined below:

 

SOWK7561 Micro Practice Across Systems (3 credits): This is the first practice course in the Integrated Clinical and Community Practice track. Content is focused on individual and family practice in the areas of child welfare, healthcare, and criminal justice. A primary focus will be on in-depth assessment and crisis intervention with time spent on each of these areas of practice. Students will learn clinical skills for working in settings which typically include brief or short-term interactions with clients.

 

SOWK7562 Mezzo Practice Across Systems (2 credits): This is the second practice course in the Integrated Clinical and Community Practice track. This course focuses on social work practice with groups and teams within social welfare systems. Attention will be given to three primary focuses in mezzo practice. The first area of focus will be on group dynamics and development as might be important for clinicians in child welfare or other settings. The second area of focus will be on interdisciplinary/ multidisciplinary teams as might be important primarily in child welfare, healthcare, and criminal justice settings. The final area of focus will be on team dynamics and development as might be important in leadership and/or advocacy settings.

 

SOWK7563 Macro Practice Across Systems (2 credits): This is the third practice class in the Integrated Clinical and Community Practice track. Content will focus on four major components: program development, program evaluation (outcomes-based practice), leadership, policy analysis and implementation. These components will be explored using general best-practice ideals, but each student will identify one or more areas of practice within which to complete course assignments. In addition to classroom content, the students will be expected to implement a macro project in the community-based one or more components of the class.

 

SOWK7563L: Macro Lab (1 credit): Students will complete the community project that was devised during SOWK7563. Prerequisites: SOWK7563


SOWK7564 Behavioral Health in Primary Care and Community Practice (2 credits): This course is designed for individuals interested in working in integrative organizations and agencies, providing social services support. This course is centered around the Integration of Behavioral Health in Primary Care and includes elements and competencies necessary to provide integrated care in multiple settings. By understanding a unique and innovative approach to behavioral health care delivery in primary care clinics, students should be able to apply similar concepts across social work field settings. The course is designed to expose students to the continuum of integrated practice and ideas related to interdisciplinary teams. It will focus primarily upon the Primary Care Behavioral Health model (PCBH). The PCBH Model focuses on evidence-based behavioral health interventions that address all issues across the lifespan. These issues range from prevention strategies, treatment and management of acute and chronic health conditions, functional improvement, and better quality of life. It will also integrate ideas of implementation of behavioral health integration in a variety of other social work settings. The focus will also include the enhancement of student proficiency in applying Motivational Interviewing, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and DBT.

 

SOWK6593 Medical Terminology & Pharmacology (2 credits): The first half of this course is designed to give social work students a basic understanding of medical terminology as it relates to best practices in medical and clinical settings. Students will learn the practical uses of medical terminology and the way it is used to tell a patient’s story. The students will review how medical words are formed and practice those connections in an applied clinical situation. The second half of this course focuses on preparing students to understand the physical and mental effects of psychoactive drugs. Topics such as neurochemistry and physiology, “uppers", “downers", “synthetics", drug use and prevention, treatment, and co-occurring disorders will be addressed. Throughout the course, students will be challenged to communicate thoughts effectively in oral and written form.

 

SOWK6594 Grant Writing (1 credit): This course covers the basics of grant writing. During this session, we will examine the basics of grant writing; we will explore sources for finding grantmakers, and you will learn the basic skills needed to write a grant. Writing grants is only one of many methods of developing resources for your organization. At the end of this course, you will have a basic understanding of how to navigate through the world of grants. You will be able to identify the critical sections of successful grant proposals, how to respond to various grant guidelines, and so on. The basic components of grant writing include such things as having a “need” statement, knowing the mission, goals, objectives, and activities, of your organization, and understanding the role of evaluation, key personnel, and budgets. The course is designed to provide you a hands-on grant writing opportunity through online exercises, lectures, and classroom discussions.

 

SOWK6595 Social Work & the Law (2 credits): Social workers in Idaho often work with or in collaboration with legal processes, and their practice often intersects with legal mandates and concerns. Social workers must be aware of the many laws, policies, regulations, and ethical considerations that affect their practice and the lives of their clients. This course will familiarize students with the many laws and legal processes applicable to social work practice in the state of Idaho. Students will learn about basic legal principles and about American and Idaho systems of jurisprudence. They will come to understand the legal underpinnings of privileges and confidentiality, and of social work licensing and malpractice in the state. Students will explore ethical considerations that will underpin their practice. Students will learn practical information about working in court and with attorneys. Finally, students will learn about certain specific areas of Idaho law with which social workers deal directly, including child welfare laws, laws that are key in medical social work, and the criminal justice system.

 

SOWK6596 Domestic Violence (1 credit): Domestic violence, or intimate violence, is becoming more prevalent and reported in our communities. This course will discuss theories behind intimate violence in families, possible causes or different types of intimate violence, as well as discuss intervention strategies for Master’s level social workers when working with families, individual victims, or alleged perpetrators around intimate violence. In addition, students will have the opportunity to further understand intimate violence and how to treat victims, families, and advocate for policy changes on the community and/or state levels.

Internship Expectations: Students in this track will complete 600 hours of practicum. A student can choose to complete all 600 hours in one area of practice or split hours between two areas of practice. Within the 600 hours, every student must complete at least 200 hours at the micro/mezzo levels and 200 hours at the macro level of practice in his/her chosen area(s) of social work practice. Ideally, all 600 hours should be completed in the same agency, but certain circumstances may warrant allowing a student to complete placement hours at two agencies.

 

General Program: All students will also complete the following courses:

  • SOWK7630: Policy Issues in Rural America
  • SOWK7645: Practical Research
  • SOWK7620: HBSE: Diversity
  • SOWK7616: Beyond the DSM
  • SOWK7622: Social Work and Spirituality
  • Elective Credits: 2 credits
  • SOWK7690: Capstone OR SOWK7642: Completion of Thesis
  • SOWK7691: Specialist Comprehensive Exam