Advanced direct practice in a specialized area with a focus on engagement, assessment, intervention planning and implementation, and practice evaluation for diverse client systems at multiple levels.
This advanced practice course is offered as one of two intervention courses for the Health and Mental Health specialization for the advanced practice concentration. This three-hour advanced level social work practice course offers students the opportunity to learn about effective, social work approaches to providing compassionate care for people who have a mental health diagnosis, including those clients with co-occurring substance abuse diagnoses, various disabilities, and socioeconomic disadvantage.
This course attends to the range of mental health diagnoses including mild to severe and those possible treatments that may be used to address this continuum. Despite growing neuroscience, many etiologies (history/origin) remain elusive for many mental illnesses; however, the DSM-5-TR is briefly introduced to orient students to treatments presented and based on symptoms that clients may present.
This course introduces two underlying philosophies that drive mental health care (Medical Model and the Recovery Movement), exploring the types of services provided based on levels of care and then explores more intimately the evidence-based treatments and interventions employed by current mental health practitioners across settings and philosophies. Many different understandings related to mental health and mental illness are included and the required readings draw from various theoretical approaches to treatment, ranging from psychodynamic to brief solution focused and are introduced to students. Students will be encouraged to think critically about both the current philosophies, the current research on treatments, and the various approaches to treatment.
The approach to teaching the course is person-centered in that the emphasis is on understanding the individual with behavioral health challenges, strengths, relationships, larger contexts, and the processes associated with acquiring care whether that be in the community or through an integrated care setting.
Full-time and Part-time Programs: SOWK 722, SOWK 732, SOWK 742, SOWK 777, SOWK 782. Advanced Standing Program: SOWK 777.
Note: Instructor permission for non-MSW program students
A student who successfully completes this course will:
1. Identify the general philosophies that drive behavioral health (mental health and substance abuse) services (prevention and intervention) at a national and state level.
2. Understand and integrate the DSM-5 and relevant empirically based literature to inform practice with individuals with a range and differing levels of behavioral health challenges.
3. Examine the challenges of current best practices for effective interventions.
4. Learn practice skills and implementation of approaches designed to enhance therapeutic relationship, effective communication, engagement, motivation, and empowerment.
5. Gain experience and skills necessary to be effective in a variety of roles (i.e., advocate, case manager, social work administrator, counselor, therapist, and practitioner).
6. Increase knowledge of major therapies employed and their importance in work with clients with behavioral health needs.
2015 EPAS COMPETENCIES
Social Work Core Competencies
Engage In Practice-informed Research and Research-informed Practice
● identify when further research is needed to competently address client needs at multiple systems levels
● locate, critically analyze, and synthesize research findings to inform and improve practice
● implement research and research findings across practice context
Engage with Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities
● apply knowledge of person-in-environment and related multidisciplinary, systemic, and developmental theoretical frameworks to engage with clients
● develop and implement engagement strategies that reflect an understanding of structural, environmental, and power dynamics, and the lived experiences of oppression in peoples’ lives
● actively engage with individuals, families, groups, communities, and organizations in ways that value, respect, and include their expertise, knowledge, values, and culture; promote collaboration; and mobilize change
● acknowledge and address how aspects of their own identities (e.g., background, status, privilege) and experiences affect the engagement process
● use warmth, empathy, reflection, and other interpersonal skills to effectively engage diverse clients and constituents in a process of change, growth, and healing.
Assess Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations and Communities
● assess and analyze strengths, needs, assets, benefits, gaps in services, rights, and distribution of resources and power to identify appropriate micro, mezzo, and macro interventions
● use various assessment measures and tools to identify appropriate targets for intervention in individual, family, group, organizational, and community change processes
● develop, select, and conduct assessments using theoretical frameworks, knowledge of human development, inventories, diagnostic measures, appropriate metrics, analytical methods, frameworks, and tools centered in the lived experience of individuals, families, groups, communities, and organizations within multiple system levels
● actively collaborate with clients, community members, professional colleagues, and stakeholders throughout the assessment process
Intervene with Individuals, Families, Groups, Organizations, and Communities
● provide person-centered and relationship-based interventions that take account of disparities and are targeted to diverse populations
● select and implement theoretically and empirically informed interventions to achieve goals that enhance well-being for individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities
● assess for gaps in services at all levels, and advocate with and on behalf of diverse clients and client systems for needed changes and innovation in intervention methods and processes
● negotiate, mediate, and advocate with and on behalf of diverse client system levels and facilitate their participation in micro, mezzo, and macro interventions
● identify the strengths, expertise, and potential contributions of individuals, families, communities, and other relevant stakeholder groups to bring about social change
There are no required textbooks for this course.
Articles and chapters will be posted on Blackboard under the link to e-Reserves. Students are expected to read the assigned articles and arrive at class prepared to integrate them into discussions and skills practice. Class participation marks depend on this.
Walsh, J. (2013). Theories for direct social work practice (3rd ed.). Wadsworth / Brooks / Cole (Cengage).
Rapp, C. A., and Gosha, R. J. (2012). The Strengths Model: A Recovery-Oriented Approach to Mental Health Services. Oxford University Press.
This course is delivered face to face in a traditional classroom setting. Students are expected to be prepared to discuss all assigned readings and to be active discussants in class. You will need to access the required readings via Blackboard (Bb) e-Reserves. Various methods of instruction will be used including mini-lectures, seminar discussion, small group discussions, in-class exercises, class presentations, video and internet content, and possible guest speakers.
I will be communicating with you regarding grades and assignments. If you need to get in touch with me, the best method is via email. Generally, I will reply to emails within 24 hours and will usually provide feedback on assignments within a week.
If you are having trouble with this course or its material, you should contact me via email to discuss the issues.
Please be sure that the email you check regularly is set in Blackboard:
· Click on the My USC tab along the top of the page in Blackboard.
· In the Tools module, click on “Personal Information”.
· Click on “Edit Personal Information”.
· Scroll down to the listing for email.
· In the box will be listed what Blackboard has as your email address. If you wish to change it, delete the email address in the box and type in the email address you want to use.
· Click on the Submit button at the top or bottom of the page.
The PowerPoint slides, links to articles, assignments, and rubrics are located on the Blackboard site for the course. To participate in learning activities and complete assignments, you will need:
· Access to a working computer that has a current operating system with updates installed, plus speakers or headphones to hear supplementary videos,
· Reliable Internet access and a USC email account,
· A current Internet browser that is compatible with Blackboard (Google Chrome is the recommended browser for Blackboard),
· Microsoft Word as your word processing program, and
· Reliable data storage for your work, such as a USB drive or Office365 OneDrive cloud storage.
If your computer does not have Microsoft Word, Office 365 ProPlus package is available to you free of charge and allows you to install Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneNote, Publisher, and Access on up to 5 PCs or Macs and Office apps on other mobile devices including tablets. Office 365 also includes unlimited cloud storage on OneDrive. To download Office 365 ProPlus, log into your student (University) email through a web browser, choose Settings (top right corner), and select software. If you have further questions or need help with the software, please contact the Service Desk (https://www.sc.edu/about/offices_and_divisions/university_technology_services/support/servicedesk.php) .
Minimal Technical Skills Needed
Minimal technical skills are needed in this course. All work in this course must be completed and submitted online through Blackboard. Therefore, you must have consistent and reliable access to a computer and the Internet. Minimal technical skills include the ability to:
· Organize and save electronic files,
· Use USC email and attached files,
· Check email and Blackboard daily,
· Download and upload documents,
· Locate information with a browser, and
· Use Blackboard.
DoIT is providing 24/7 support for Blackboard users across the UofSC system. Technicians will be able to assist with a wide range of Blackboard-related issues, including basic use, how to post and complete assignments, and how to use academic integrity tools such as Safe Assign.
Anyone, from any campus, in need of Blackboard support should call the Division of Information Technology Service Desk at 803-777-1800 and follow the prompts. Assistance with Blackboard is available anytime throughout the day, night, or weekend. The Service Desk can assist with other support issues Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Assignment 1: Maintenance Self-Care Plan for Health/Mental Health Social Work Practice (20 points) Due Week #4 by 11:59 PM
Working in health, mental health and behavioral health settings can be challenging. Social workers are at risk for experiencing burnout, compassion fatigue, and secondary traumatic stress. All social work practitioners should develop maintenance self-care plans to keep their emotional, physical, psychological, social, and spiritual selves healthy. Consider this assignment “beyond the bubble bath” in nature. Students learn of risk and resilience and protective factors in the MSW Program and should consider these factors for their own well-being (e.g. protective factors such as cognitive capacity, healthy attachment relationships, the motivation and ability to learn and engage with the environment, the ability to regulate emotions and behavior, and supportive environmental systems, including educational, cultural, and faith-based communities).
Watch the Self-Care for Disaster Behavioral Health Responders Podcast
and complete a written self-care plan for yourself, unique to working in a health/mental health setting. Helpful resources for this assignment: “Self-care assessment” and “My Maintenance Self-Care Worksheet” found at: https://socialwork.buffalo.edu/resources/self-care-starter-kit.html
When completing the self-care plan, consider reflecting on the following:
1. What type of practice setting are you working in / do you see yourself working in when you graduate?
2. What are the unique issues and challenges regarding self-care that may arise in that practice setting? How would you address them?
3. What does / or will self-care involve for you? What barriers do you experience / or do you think you will experience practicing self-care?
4. Are there negative coping strategies that you currently use to cope in difficult professional situations? What are some things you can do to address these negative coping strategies?
5. Assess your current level of resilience and identify new strategies that may be helpful for self-care in the health / mental health setting you have identified.
Page length of the assignment: 4 -5 pages.
Students will be assessed using the following criteria:
· Integration of knowledge gained from the podcast / Buffalo site, evidence of a formulated self-care plan.
· Student understands the difference between personal and professional self-care (e.g., considers how agency policies, professional roles, support systems, ethics, etc. impact worker self-care).
· Student demonstrates self-awareness / insight related to the impact and alleviation of stress (Physical, emotional, social, intellectual, spiritual aspects; Compassion fatigue, burnout, STS)
Potentially helpful resources for Self-Care Plan (SCP) assignment:
· You might consider exploring self-care podcasts for your self-care plan, including meditation, laughter/comedy, sleep, negative thoughts, or something else, podcasts offer another medium for self-care.
· UofSC wellness activities (on-campus and remote options):
· Campus and Community Resources – Student Health Services | University of South Carolina (sc.edu)
· Online Services – Student Health Services | University of South Carolina (sc.edu)
· Wellness & Prevention – Student Health Services | University of South Carolina (sc.edu)
· “Self-care assessment” and and “My Maintenance Self-Care Worksheet” found at
Self-Care Starter Kit℠ – University at Buffalo School of Social Work – University at Buffalo
· Be mindful that self-care enables us to attend to the needs of clients – how we use our “selves” in service to others. How Emotionally Intelligent are You? Law, K. S., Wong, C. S., & Song, L. J. (2004). Wong and Law Emotional Intelligence Scale, WLEIS:
· “31 self-care apps”:
31 self-care apps to step up your health and wellness game (minimalism.co)
· 7 Apps That’ll Help You Boost Your Self-Care Game By Natalia Lusinski (Jan. 10, 2019):
7 Self-Care Apps To Help You Stay Balanced In 2019 (bustle.com)
SOWK 779: Intervention Planning Assignment
Assignment 2: Intervention Planning Assignment (Outline = 10 points, Final paper = 30 points, Total = 40 points)
Outline (10 points) is due on Week #7
· Your case study (5 points)
· Listed points of:
o Client or client system issue (1 point);
o SMART goal(s) and objectives (2 points);
o Identified intervention (1 point);
o One peer-reviewed scholarly reference (in APA 7th edition format) that supports your choice of intervention for the issue (1 point).
Final Paper (30 points) is due by 11:59 PM on Week #10.
In this assignment you will write a brief case study related to your specialization. Your task is to formulate an intervention plan / process based on your assessment of the problem/s. The case study should be one page or less single spaced, including both current presentation and related history.
Include the following in your intervention planning and implementation:
· Choose any evidence-informed intervention that we have studied to apply.
· Discuss assessment issues from the case study that have informed your decision around which evidence-informed intervention to choose. Why did you choose this type of intervention? What are other ways that you could intervene, and why did you not choose those options?
· Who would you include in the intervention process?
· Consider micro, mezzo and macro level intervention targets
· Be specific on who/what organizations are included, and the justification for such inclusion Identify systems and organizations involved, assess involvement, need for collaboration, and how each will be involved in interventions
· Describe how you would engage the client system, how you would use social work skills to do so, and what challenges you anticipate
· Clearly define and explain the proposed intervention, both overall and in terms of process, steps or stages related to your particular client system.
· Who will implement the intervention?
· What strengths does the client system bring to the intervention process?
· What are the components of the intervention and how will the social worker adapt them to this client system? (See peer-reviewed literature related to the intervention.)
· How long will the intervention take?
· What are some barriers to implementing the intervention? What are some solutions to these barriers?
· How have you addressed issues of diversity, disadvantage, and other larger socio-cultural constraints (risk factors) and strengths?
· What are some ethical challenges you think may arise from working with this client system, and how will you address them? (Reference the NASW Code of Ethics, 2017)
Page length of the assignment: 8-10 pages, APA format. The case study should be approximately one page (single spaced) and can introduce the paper. NOTE: Title page and reference page are not included in page count.