Understanding Mental Health Conservatorship

Posted by Amanda Rowan

March 10, 2015 at 11:12 AM

Imagine you get a call for therapy services and the person on the phone tells you that he is the conservator for his 23 year-old daughter and would like her to get treatment with you?  How does this affect your clinical practice with the daughter?

First, what exactly is a mental health conservatorship? bigstock-Law-Concept-51908629

A mental health conservatorship is used only for people who have a psychiatric disorder so severe that it prevents them from providing for their most basic personal needs such as food, clothing, and shelter. The legal term for such condition is gravely disabled.

According to the Superior Court of California, "The purpose of mental health conservatorships is to provide individualized treatment, supervision, and living arrangements for people who are seriously mentally ill while still protecting their individual rights. Mental health conservatorships, which are sometimes called LPS conservatorships because they are governed by the Lanterman-Petris-Short Act, can involve confinement in a locked psychiatric facility, which means the person is deprived of personal liberty. Therefore, there are strict legal procedures and laws that must be followed by doctors and hospitals and which involve review and monitoring by the Probate Court."

What should a social worker or MFT know about Mental Health Conservatorships as they relate to clinical practice?

  • Family members or other private parties cannot start a mental health conservatorship. Only the professional treatment staff at the hospital where the person is being treated can begin the process.


  • An investigation by the Office of the Public Conservator will determine whether to file a petition with the court.  The evaluation is done by a trained psychiatrist or psychologist. It is out of the scope of practice of an MFT or social worker to evaluate a patient and determine whether a Mental Health Conservatorship petition is called for. 


  • According to the Superior Court of California, the conservator and the conservatee share the right to make decisions about the conservatee’s health care. In other words, the conservator or the conservatee may authorize medical treatments. However, a conservator may not arrange for a particular treatment if the conservatee objects to it.


  • The conservatee has a right to confidentiality but the conservator is the holder of privilege. So the conservator does not need to be present for treatments but if the records are subpeanoed, it is the the conservator who would waive privilege.

So let’s apply all this to the clinical example. Let's say the adult daughter mentioned above has Bipolar I and Borderline Personality is being released from a psychiatric hospital and seeking mental health services. The client’s father is the conservator. Both the father and the client can consent for treatment, and both should be included if available but it isn't required. If the father wants to attend sessions or be part of the treatment planning, it would depend on whether there were sound clinical reasons for including him. If the records were subpoenaed, the father, as the conservator, would be the holder of privilege.


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Social Work Ethics: Understanding Confidentiality

Posted by Amanda Rowan

March 6, 2015 at 5:01 PM

SocialworkethicsConfidentialityWhat happens if a client dies?

Social workers and MFTs frequently ask me legal and ethical questions related to their private practice or licensing prep. One question that I get asked about a lot is the limits to confidentiality, and when we can, or cannot release information. It’s really tricky because there are a lot of different factors that go into this. As practitioners we have a responsibility to our clients and legal responsibilities as well. Let’s take a closer look at this with a sample question:

Clinical Scenario:

A therapist in a private practice has been working with a 19-year-old male for three years when the client commits suicide.  The client's mother, who had previous contact with the therapist when the client was a minor, calls the therapist crying and asks if she can have access to her son’s records as a way to, “understand what he was going through.”  How should the therapist respond to this request?

A. Explain that her son had not signed a release of information for this disclosure.

B. Maintain the client's confidentiality according to professional standards.

C. Release limited records from the time period that the mother had contact with the therapist.

D. Empathize with the mother's request and release the full record to the mother.

When working with client’s who are living adults, it’s much more clear what the limits of confidentiality are. You want to maintain the client's confidentiality unless there is a "compelling professional reason" for disclosure, which includes the prevention of "serious, foreseeable, and imminent harm to a client or another identifiable person, or laws or regulations that require the disclosure without the client's consent," (NASW Code of Ethics, 2008).  

But what do we do when a client dies? Do they lose their right to confidentiality?  What about in the situation above, where the parent at one time DID have potential rights to access the information?

According to the NASW Code of Ethics, social workers should continue to protect the confidentiality of clients, even after the client has passed away. As practitioners, we can’t disclose confidential information unless we have received the proper legal authorization to do so (such as a subpoena from a judge). When a disclosure of confidential information has been properly authorized, the least amount of information should be given in order to fulfill the purpose of the disclosure (Reamer, 2010).

Please visit this website for a digital copy of the NASW Code of Ethics: http://www.naswdc.org/pubs/code/code.asp.


With this in mind, the correct answer to the question above is B: maintain confidentiality according to professional standards.  A is not the best answer because it provides the mother with information that should be kept confidential -- we don't know if the client had informed his mother that he was in ongoing treatment, we only know that treatment began when he was a minor.  C is not the best answer because as far as the question is concerned, the therapist doesn't have a current release of information -- it doesn't matter if there was a release of information at one time -- if it's expired, it's expired.  D also goes too far; while emotionally the therapist might want to try to find a way to honor the mother's request, the first responsibility is to the client and the client's right to privacy and confidentiality.  It might seem like a case in which an exception should be made, but that would likely be the therapist's desire to make the mother (or him/herself) feel better in the face of this tragedy coming through.  There is no legal or "compelling professional" reason to disclose confidential information in this case.

Think our straightforward, sensible approach could help you PASS your social work exam or MFT exam? If you're preparing for the social work exam click here- Social Work Exam Prep; if you're preparing for the MFT exam, click here MFT Exam Prep. Learn more about our exam prep at the The Therapist Development Center home page.

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DSM 5 Changes: How the DSM 5 compares to the DSM IV

Posted by Amanda Rowan

June 19, 2014 at 4:17 PM

What's new in the field of mental health? The DSM 5! And while we all transition from the DSM IV to the DSM 5, it is good to take a look at what has changed. If you are preparing for the Social Work Exams or MFT Exams, the ASWB, the BBS, and the AAMTRB have all announced that the DSM 5 will not be tested until 2015.


Published in May of 2013, the DSM 5 was a 15-year work in progress. Overall, the DSM 5 is not very different from the DSM IV. If you compared the two, like I have done, I think it is safe to say that most of it is the same and about 10% is different. The changes that were made were both major and minor.

The major changes are:

  • The elimination of the multiaxial system (goodbye “the client is axis II” references)
  • The organization of the different groupings of related disorders (for example, the creation of Trauma- and Stress- Related Disorders category)
  • Switching from Roman Numerals to numbers (IV to 5 instead of V)

The minor changes include:

  • New diagnoses that did not appear in DSM IV
  • Changing the name of DSM IV diagnoses
  • Changing the criteria of DSM IV diagnoses

Let's start with the 11 new DSM V diagnoses:

1) Social (Pragmatic) Communication Disorder: Defined by Impairments in the use of conversation. Use of vocabulary and sentence structure is intact, onset early childhood.

2) Catatonia Due to Another Medical Condition: Defined by cataplexy, waxy flexibility, stupor, agitation, mutism, negativism, posturing, mannerisms, stereotypies, grimacing, echolalia or echopraxia due to medical condition.

3) Catatonia Due to Another Mental Health Condition: Defined by cataplexy, waxy flexibility, stupor, agitation, mutism, negativism, posturing, mannerisms, stereotypies, grimacing, echolalia or echopraxia due to mental health condition.

4) Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder: Defined bytemper tantrums, chronic irritability, and dysphoric mood. Onset age 6-10, but may be diagnosed up to age 17.

5) Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder: Defined by depressivesymptoms that are most severe in the week before menses, and minimize or disappear during and after menses.

6)  Agoraphobia: Defined by fear of at least two situations in which escape may be impossible or help will not be available.

7)  Hoarding Disorder: Defined byurges to save objects which have little or no value; clutter makes living or working increasingly difficult; strong distress related to discarding objects.

8)  Excoriation (Skin-picking) Disorder: Defined by picking at the skin that results in lesions.

9)  Binge-Eating Disorder: Defined by eating more than a normal person would in the same span of time, feeling guilty about doing so. No purging.

10)  Obstructive Sleep Apnea Hypopnea, Central Sleep Apnea and Sleep-Related Hypoventilation: Defined by specific sleep distubances and confirmed by Polysomnography.

11)  Restless Legs Syndrome: Defined by sensations of discomfort in the legs that occur at night, when trying to relax or sleep.

Here are the 17 diagnoses from the DSM IV that have new names in the DSM 5:

1) Intellectual Disability (Intellectual Developmental Disorder): Replaced Mental Retardation. Defined by global intellectual delays.

2)  Autism Spectrum Disorder: Defined byimpairments in two domains: social communication and repetitive/restrictive behavior. Severity is determined by the support needed for daily functioning. Replaced Aspergers, Autism and Pervasive Developmental Disorder NOS.

3)  Language Disorder: Defined by deficits in spoken and written language production and comprehension, onset in early childhood. Replaced Expressive and Mixed Receptive-Expressive Language Disorders.

4)  Speech Sound Disorder: Defined by Omitted sounds, distorted sounds and pronunciation, onset in early childhood. Replaced Phonological Disorder.

5)  Specific Learning Disorder: Defined by Difficulties in academic learning or performance. Replaced Reading and Mathematics Disorders and Disorders of Written Expression

6)  Childhood-Onset Fluency Disorder: Defined by Disturbances in fluency and time patterning of speech. Replaced Stuttering.

7)  Persistent Depressive Disorder: Defined by symptoms of depression lasting >1 year for children and >2 years for adults. Replaced Dysthymia.

8)  Disinhibited Social Engagement Disorder: Defined by child’s willingness to attach to strangers and lack of checking back with regular caregivers. Onset before age 5. Result of multiple caregivers and harsh or abusive parenting. Replaced a specifier for Reactive Attachment Disorder.

9)  Illness Anxiety Disorder: Defined by a belief in illness or impending condition. Somatic symptoms are mild or absent. Replaced Hypochondriasis.

10)  Non-Rapid Eye Movement Sleep Disorder - Occurs during non-REM period of sleep or the first 1/3 of sleep time. Person has incomplete awakening and is difficult to comfort. Subtypes: Sleepwalking and Sleep terrors.

11)  Insomnia Disorder: Defined by Inadequate sleep quality or quantity that occurs at least 3 nights a week for at least 3 months. Replaced Primary Insomnia.

12)  Hypersomnolence Disorder: Defined by Excessive sleepiness with lapses into sleep within a day, 9+ hours of sleep, or difficulty being fully awake. Replaced Primary Hypersomnia.

13)  Genito-Pelvic Pain/Penetration Disorder: Defined by difficulties with vaginal intercourse/penetration, presence of vaginal or pelvic pain during intercourse/penetration attempts, fear or anxiety either about vaginal or pelvic pain or vaginal penetration, tensing or tightening of the pelvic floor muscles during attempted penetration. Replaced Dyspareunia and Vaginismus.

14)  Gender Dysphoria: Defined by A subjective sense of incongruence between the biological gender at birth and expressed or socially assigned gender. Replaced Gender Identity Disorder.

15)  Substance Use Disorder: Defined by Behavioral or physiological symptoms (tolerance or withdrawal). Craving is a new symptom. Replaced Substance Abuse and Substance Dependence.

16)  Mild/Major Neurocognitive Disorder: Defined by Progressive decline in functioning. Replaced Dementia.

17)  Depersonalization/Derealization: Disorder: Defined by feeling detached from one’s surroundings, mental processes, or body. Change: Previously called Depersonalization. Derealization was add to the title.

These 4 diagnoses appeared in DMS IV and were changed in the DSM V:

1) Reactive Attachment Disorder: Defined by social with Result of multiple caregivers, child is withdrawal, lack of social reciprocity, lack of comfort seeking, onset before age 5. Change: Previously RAD included both inhibited and disinhibited types. Now RAD is only the inhibited type and the disinhibited type is Disinhibited Social Engagement Disorder.

2) Major Depressive Disorder: Defined by depressed mood or apathy which lasts at least 2 weeks. Change: The bereavement exclusion has been removed so MDD can now be diagnosed within the 2 months post death. Previously, there was s 2 month period after the death that MDD was not diagnosed.

3) Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: Defined by disruptive behaviors due to inattention and/or hyperactivity and impair home, school and/or social functioning. Change: Now must be diagnosed before age 12. Previously it had to be diagnosed before age 7. Threshold for diagnosing adults has dropped from 7 to 6 symptoms.

4)  Bulemia Nervosa: Defined by binge eating, sense of lack of control and purging to prevent weight gain. Change: Previously, purging was not required. Now Binge Eating Disorder has only the binge eating.

We hope you enjoyed our summary of changes in the DSM 5.  If you have ideas for other topics, you cna contact us anytime and let us know.

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5 Things Every Social Work Graduate Should Know

Posted by Amanda Rowan

June 11, 2014 at 9:39 PM

Have you received absolutely no training as far as planning your social work career is concerned? If this is the case then you are not alone. I had the idea of creating this blog post after speaking to an MSW who was about to graduate from her program at USC, here in Los Angeles where I live, and while I was talking to her it became clear that while she had gotten good clinical training in her graduate program, she had no training in how to plan for her own career.

One of the things we aim to do at my company, the Therapist Development Center, besides helping people pass their social work exams, is to actually provide support to therapists throughout their careers. By support I mean giving essential information that is very practical – practical advice. So in this post I want to go through some of the key things that I wish I had known and have learned since I have been out in the field for the past almost 10 years now. The following five points are things I think every social worker should know when they graduate from their MSW program.


1.The Five-Year Plan - Write Down Your Goals


This first thing I want to talk to you about is the importance of making a five-year plan for yourself. What is the idea behind a five-year plan? A lot of times when we graduate, what we are mainly concerned with is getting a job. We may have this idea of ourselves and want a very specific job. We want to work with a certain segment of the population. Most people who go to school for social work go there with this idea that “I want to work in schools,” or “I want to work with the elderly,” or “I want to work with couples or families or adoption.” While this is good, one of the issues that can arise is the inability to get your ideal job right away.

So what’s the importance of making a five-year plan? Whether you have gotten a job or not, if you are in the process of graduating it’s important to actually put some thought into where you want to go. A five-year plan would just be an exercise where you take maybe half an hour or an hour of your time to sit down and think through what you imagine yourself doing in five years. Some questions you might ask yourself could involve:

  • Where you would want to be located?
  • What kind of agency you would want to be associated with?
  • What type of role you think you would want?
  • Whether you want to be a supervisor or would like a private practice or to be teaching?

Take a few minutes. Grab a piece of paper. Think ahead to five years from now and write some goals down. At this point in your life, I would say you would want to have about three to five goals for yourself as far as where you want to be in your career. These goals could include things like:

  • Getting licensed
  • Becoming a supervisor
  • Getting a promotion
  • Making a specific amount of money

Some other things that are very important to consider are your other life goals outside your career. I think a mistake a lot of people make, in both the social work field and other professional fields, is that they don’t consider the level of harmony their personal goals will have with their professional life. Let’s say someone has a goal of living abroad, but they don’t think about that in terms of how it would fit in with their professional life. This causes them to feel really reluctant and disheartened while they take jobs but feel like they would be happier living internationally.

If you sit down and take the time to make a five-year plan you can factor these types of things into it. That can mean that part of your five-year plan would be working as a social worker in an NGO (that’s what they often call non-profits outside the U.S. and non-governmental organizations), so working at an NGO in South America or perhaps England would fulfil this. Certain areas such as the UK have a shortage of social workers and will actually hire people out of school to go be a social worker for a couple of years in that country. These are the types of things you will want to factor into your decision.

Another example of something you want to factor into your preparation is planning to get married or have children. For me, that was an important thing and after I finished graduate school I got married and I knew I wanted to have kids. So when it came to picking jobs I was very selective in the sense that I was mainly concerned with a couple of things for my jobs, which included how close they were to home, the flexibility of the time and getting my hours toward licensure. By developing my five-year plan I was able to weigh the pros and cons of various jobs and also considered jobs that I wouldn’t have thought about taking if I had been narrowly focused on a particular type of work. Having this bigger picture and five-year plan was very helpful for me.

Something to note about the plan is that it is not set in stone. It is unlikely that you will follow your plan exactly since life gives us different opportunities and presents us with things we cannot predict. The purpose of your five-year plan is to help you focus on the bigger picture and put your goals down on paper. This actually allows you to see that you can be working toward something larger and to motivate yourself by seeing a vision for yourself down the road. There is something about the act of putting it down on paper that really solidifies it.

We are going to be developing an online course that can help you to create a five-year plan. It’s amazing – social workers are really good at creating treatment plans for their clients, but they are really bad at creating their own five-year plan, bad at identifying their own goals and then being able to parcel those goals out into smaller steps. Ideally, the five-year plan should function in a way that allows you to backtrack all the way down to a one-year plan and from there down to six, three and even one month periods. This will allow users to see what they need to be doing on a smaller scale in order to work toward the larger goals in their plan.

2. Your First Job Won't Be Your Last Job

The next concept I want to discuss is the idea that your first job won’t be your last job. This ties into the five-year plan because as some people come out of school and feel a great deal of pressure to get a job, it feels like it’s a really big decision at that moment. For many people there is this fantasy that makes them believe this job is going to be forever and that is not true. I think it is a rare occurrence and I would be interested to know if there is any social worker out there on this planet that has stayed in the exact same job that they got when they first got out of school.

I tell you this because I want to take the pressure off as far as getting your dream job when you first step out of your university. What you will probably be dealing with is learning about yourself and about the types of environments and work that really interest you. There is a really cool book called, Stumbling onto Happiness, and it’s written by a psychologist who studies how good people are at predicting their own happiness. Although people have an idea of what is going to make them happy, when they actually find themselves in those circumstances, it is rare that they achieve the level of happiness that they anticipated. The reason I bring this up is that one of the things I have learned in my years as a social worker is that the environment in which I work, the people I’m working with, make a bigger difference than anything else as far as how satisfied I am with the job.

When you take your first job, understand that it is probably not going to be your last job and that in addition to learning clinical skills from on-the-job training, you are also going to learn about yourself and about the type of environment you enjoy working in. Different agencies have different cultures – they really do – so when you go into these cultures pay attention to how the office works, take note of the kind of leadership you see from the upper management and whether it’s supportive or punitive, if the clinical stress of the job is taken into account. Make sure the therapists are feeling well supported and supervised. The main thing you will get from your first job is a learning experience. It’s going to be a place where you will hopefully gain some good clinical skills but also get to know yourself and how you function as a social worker.

3. Your Journey of Learning Has Just Begun


The next point I want to bring up is your journey of learning has just begun. What I mean by this is that we go to grad school, we are there for two years and we take in a lot of information. For most people, this is the first time they are exposed to all this material unless they have had their BSW to begin with. A good deal of these ideas, the different theories, the program development skills you receive or administrative information is mostly new information.

However, my friends, this is just the tip of the iceberg. What we get in graduate school is minimal compared to the amount of information and education we get out in the field, especially if you are someone who wants to be a really good social worker. Most people go to school wanting to come out on top and this requires a constant investment in yourself and your own learning. There are many different options for furthering your education such as online CEU’s but stay on the lookout for things you are really passionate about. In particular, individuals that you feel really know their stuff that you think you could learn from.

This is related to the topic of your first job. One of the mistakes I see social workers make is to come off as if they know it all. These people start out as fresh and new but think they have the answers to everything. There is a difference between having enthusiasm for your job while participating in discussions and refusing to acknowledge that there are things you may be unfamiliar with. I think there is a misconception that causes these people to believe that if they don’t act as if they already know everything then they will demonstrate that they are incompetent in some way. So there is definitely a fine balance between telling a supervisor “I have no idea what I’m doing,” and “can you explain that to me in more detail because I’ve never heard of that concept before and I really want to be clear that I’m getting this.”

My experience has shown me that individuals who are supervising you like it when you show up on time, do your job, have a positive attitude, and ask for more cases or more work if there is something that needs to be done. As well as being very open to supervision and getting guidance, asking questions and trying to learn as much as you can from your supervisor. One of the things I think is always an effective thing to ask a supervisor is, "If you were working with this case, what do you think you would do? How would you think about approaching this case?" Because then you are actually going to get the supervisor to give you more concrete, hopefully, interventions.

The other way of learning and continuing to learn is doing self-learning with books and articles. As we go along I'm going to talk a little bit about networking, but one of the really effective ways to continue your learning is to form a group, like a book group. Say you want to learn family therapy, more like structural family therapy, you could get a couple of colleagues and say, "Hey, do you guys want to order this book from Amazon and read this book and talk through our cases and how we would apply these different concepts." That is a kind of self-learning.

The last thing I want to mention besides the self-learning and the supervision, is really being on the lookout for postgraduate training institutes that do a specific theoretical orientation. This is going to be a little more money out of your pocket. It may not be something that you do right away, but if you are actually thinking that you want to be a clinical therapist who has a private practice, to have a successful private practice, you are the commodity, so you have to be really really good at your job. It's just not going to cut it if your only training has been what you got in graduate school.

For me, I was lucky enough in my second-year internship to come across Gestalt therapy. My supervisor was trained as a Gestalt therapist and was a trainer at an institute. He was giving me different articles to read and I just really loved it – it really aligned with my values. It is very much about supporting client self-determination and working in the here and now, and it also lined up, in my opinion, a lot with attachment theory, which was something I also really liked. I ended up signing on for this year-long weekend training that meant six weekends a year. I think the cost at the time was about $1500. So it was a pretty substantial amount of money, but the training I got from it was phenomenal and I am still part of that training group and now I am an assistant trainer with the group.

I have gone through about 10 years and it has been by far the most supportive and intellectually stimulating environment that I have ever been in. It was truly a gift. It really is what made me want to become a therapist. I really strongly recommend that you do your research and try to find a learning community that does postgraduate training. There are a lot of different psychodynamic institutes, there is different structural family therapy, narrative therapy, and Gestalt therapy is my personal favorite. But there are a lot of different institutes.

The other kinds of things that are out there, if you are interested in couples' therapy, Sue Johnson has emotion-focused therapy for couples and the John Gottman Institute does training for couples. If those kinds of populations are things you are interested in working with, I would recommend really looking into it, because it's going to be the best investment you ever made. When you get out of graduate school and do some of these more intense trainings, they really are focused on fine-tuning your actual clinical skills. The programs at graduate school are kind of like going to a cafeteria and getting a bunch of different buffet-style food. The food is decent, it will feed you, but if you actually want to have a really good meal, you are going to have to seek it out and find something very specific to your tastes.

4. Get Licensed

The fourth thing I want to mention is getting your license. If this hasn’t crossed your mind already, and this can happen with people who are more focused on administrative and policy work, it is something you should seriously consider. I feel that it is very short-sighted to fail to get licensed since it is one the best things you can do to get that extra job security. One of the most useful things I was ever told when I was in school was “Get your license.” Your goals out of graduate school should include getting your license as quickly as possible. Once you get your license you are going to have a lot more opportunities. Some reasons you may want to consider getting licensed include:

  • It is necessary to have your license in order to supervise people. This means that if you want to get promoted and run a program you are going to need your license.
  • It is becoming more common for many jobs to require that you be licensed if you are going to qualify for a position.
  • In California, and several other states, there is a substantial pay difference between being licensed and unlicensed. At my old job, once I got licensed my pay went up 20 percent, which was the equivalent of about $10,000.

I recommend that anyone who is in graduate school, or about to graduate from school, to find out what the licensing requirements are for the specific state they would like to work in. Questions you will want answers to can include:

  • What is required to get started?
  • How many hours of clinical work are necessary?
  • How many hours of supervision you will need?
  • Prerequisites that you need from graduate school?
  • Do you need to apply to be an intern to be able to start accruing your numbers?

Before you even start earning your hours you will need to send in your fingerprints, a picture and an application to get an associate’s number. There are certain states that won’t even hire people until they get that associate’s number or have a number that’s registered with the state. Whenever I talk with anyone who is about to graduate school and they ask, “What advice do you have?” I always say, “Get licensed and get your paperwork going right away.”

 5. Networking is the Key to Your Success

social work networking

The last topic I want to mention is networking. It is essential for all social workers to know when they will be graduating from school. Networking is the key to your success. The people you know, and the social work colleagues that you meet, will have a large impact on the support you have in the agency you work for as well as your long-term plan.

If we go back to the first topic regarding a five-year plan, one of the things that should be included is building your network. How do you do this? For those of you who are just graduating from school, you have an immediate source of people in your network right now. Your classmates and others who are graduating with you are a great foundation for your network. One of the things I recommend is to make a list of 10 people from your class that you respect. It can be very beneficial to have a diverse network so don’t be concerned if they are not in the same field as you are. In that sense, you won’t be competing for jobs.

Let’s say one of your social contacts is a woman who works in hospice and you work with children. If she needs to make a referral for a family whose children recently lost their father who was in hospice, and she needs to find a social worker to provide services for these children she is going to have you in mind. Likewise, let’s say you are working with a family and the father is diagnosed with terminal cancer. You have a friend who works in hospice so you can connect with that person in your network.

So make a list of those 10 people and if you want you can share this article with them and say to them: “Let’s stay connected. Let’s share our five-year plans and let’s try to meet up once a month when we first graduate. Maybe when we get busy with our jobs we’ll move to just meeting once every six months, but let’s stay connected and send an email if we see trainings or job opportunities or different things we know the other person may be interested in.” This is an easy and comfortable way to start off your network. Once you get out of school you are going to want to try to continue building up your network. I think it should be the goal of everybody in social work, during that first two to three years, to really try to add an additional person every month to their social network.

We are going to be creating a networking workshop that you will be able to access to give you more tools to teach you how to do that. It’s amazing to me how many social workers and therapists lack networking and marketing skills. The two are related, especially if you want to go into private practice, and also if you are thinking about marketing yourself for future jobs, networking and marketing go hand in hand.

Often people think that networking is exchanging business cards. They don’t really understand how you engage with somebody, the importance of actually getting to know somebody as a person. So it’s fascinating to me, and it’s ironic because I feel like as social workers we know the value of social supports. We really see that with our clients and know with our clients that their social support is a huge index in their overall wellbeing. Yet, we aren’t very good at all at building our own social supports and our own social network.

One of the things that is fascinating to me is I went to school for social work where I learned about how important social contacts were, how important social support was, but I didn’t learn at all about how to get those for myself. My husband went to business school where they learned all about making money and an individualistic, capitalistic viewpoint of the world, but the main thing they learned during school was networking. It was always networking events. Every week the program put out some type of networking event and even since he’s graduated, I would say every quarter there is an email put out about a networking event for his business school. They push the networking because the business world knows, just like the social worker knows for individual clients, that success comes through networking. Yet, as far as us social workers we aren’t very good at it.

Start with your list of 10 people and invite them to be in a networking group but please don’t exclude anyone. If somebody hears about it and wants to be in it take them. There is no reason to ever exclude someone from a networking group. I just want to make sure I highlight that. Never exclude someone from your networking group. What you really want is to get a committed group of people and if you are organizing it yourself then get people who you really want to stay in touch with.



Social work is potentially a very rewarding career but only if you plan for it. I learned these lessons through trial and error.  I hope you find them helpful.  Check back for more helpful tips and contact us if you have any specific career questions.

 Download Free Social Work Exam Study Guide


Tips for Social Work Interview Questions

Posted by Amanda Rowan

May 27, 2014 at 3:18 PM

Are you an MSW looking for a social work job?


Whether you are just graduating from social work school or you are looking for a different job, one of the keys to success is having good interview skills. If you are invited to interview for a position it means your resume has helped you get your foot in the door and you are only a few steps away from landing the job!

Now they want to meet you in person. How you perform in your interview is critical. Anyone can look good on paper, so the interview is intended to see how you are in real life. I know from my experience as an interviewer that people can look amazing on their resume, but when they come to interview they come across as real duds.

I believe the main reason for this is because the candidates haven’t prepared. Interviewing well is not something that comes naturally to most people. It is a lot like public speaking – and in a small sense it is public speaking except in the case of the interview you are actually trying to convince your audience (the interviewers) to take a chance and hire you. So there is more on the line than giving a speech, yet many people don’t put nearly the effort they should into prepping for it.

At the Therapist Development Center we believe that preparing for your interview is more than half the battle – it’s the whole battle! That is why we created this overview of the 20 most commonly asked questions in social work interviews and our TDC tips for success.

We recommend you review this a couple times, share it with a friend, and do practice interviews with each other. Practice away!

Common General Interview Questions

1) What led you to apply for this job?

TDC Tips: Be able to discuss specifics of the job description that you found interesting; identify specific reasons why your specific skill set fits the job description; and always express a passion about the job and the agency, for example: “I’ve always been interested in working with homeless vets. I feel really strongly that after bravely serving our country, vets deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. I am excited about working for an agency that is doing such important work.”

2) What interests you about working for our agency?

TDC Tips: Identify how your interests match up with the agency’s mission; be able to show that you have done your homework in terms of researching the agency and understanding its programs and emphases; Specifically mention that you have reviewed the website and learned x, y, z, that really impressed you about the work they are doing. If you have any colleagues that have told you information about the agency, you can say “I heard from my colleague Sara Jones, that this is a really great agency and it is well respected in the community.”

3) What interests you about working with the XYZ population?

TDC Tips: If the agency serves the homeless, discuss why you are interested in working with the homeless population; if you’re applying for a job in a clinic for cancer patients, be able to discuss what interests you about working with cancer patients (you get the idea).You should be able to demonstrate WHY you want to work with this group, your understanding of the issues that the group might face, etc. If it is a population you haven’t worked with before, you should be honest about that and try to show links between other clinical work you have done that is related to that.

4) What training and experience do you have that would make you a good fit for this position or for this agency?

TDC Tips: This is the point in the interview where you would go over your resume with the interviewer. Even if you don’t have experience working with the specific population, be able to make a link between the experience you have and what the position calls for or what you understand the agency culture to be.

5) Have you read the job description? Do you have any questions?

TDC Tips: You should have at least one question (preferably a couple) that reflect your understanding of the job description – it helps show the interviewer that you’ve done your homework and understand what they are looking for, but it also helps you gather more information for yourself. So, if the position requires home visiting, you could ask a question about how the agency trains and supports staff in preparing for potential crises in the community setting.

More Specific, Tougher Questions:

6) Tell me about a case you worked on where you felt you were particularly effective.

TDC Tips: You should be able to give a brief overview of the case: who the client was, the presenting problem, your approach, any struggles along the way, and the outcome. Highlight specific things that you did that were helpful and how you and the client defined “success.” It is important to acknowledge what you learned from the case. It is also better to share that you initially struggled then found your way with a case then making it sound like it was easy from the get go. People who work in the field know that every case has its challenges. It isn’t realistic to make it sound like it was easy for you.

7) Tell me about the toughest case you ever worked on.

TDC Tips: Again, be able to give an overview of the case and then be able to describe what made it so tough – a complex diagnosis, environmental challenges, etc., and discuss what you did to try and work through the challenges. It’s okay to talk about a case that wasn’t particularly successful – but what lessons did you learn from the challenges? Don’t get bogged down in blaming others (like your supervisor, the agency, etc.). The interviewer is looking for your ability to reflect on a difficult experience, your understanding that not every case is a shining success story, and that you’ve experienced professional growth as a result of the challenges.

8)  Here’s a case example: now walk me through the assessment, planning, implementation and evaluation process.

TDC Tips: Discuss particulars of the assessment: any structured instruments you would want to use, or specific areas of focus. What are possible treatment goals and objectives for this client? What interventions would you use and why? How would you know if it was working? What would progress look like for this client? Interviewers want to know that you can see the whole (the overall conceptualization) and the parts (a particular risk factor, the need for a referral, etc.).

9) What types of clients are difficult for you to work with? What are your thoughts on why that might be?

TDC Tips: We all have certain clients who push our buttons, and it’s okay to identify this here. Interviewers want to know that you have reflected on your strengths and understand yourself and your capabilities. If it’s genuine, you can link the “why” to a relative strength that you have: like if it’s very difficult for you to work with overstressed, preoccupied parents, link this to your passion and commitment to helping children and wanting them to get the attention and support that they need to grow and develop.

10)  How and when do you use supervision? What type of supervision do you prefer?

TDC Tips: If possible, use specific examples to demonstrate your use of supervision and be able to identify whether or not you like a lot of oversight/feedback or are more comfortable being independent.

11)  What is it about supervisors, clients and co-workers that can frustrate you?  How do you handle your frustrations?

TDC Tips: Avoid bad-mouthing anyone. This is NOT an opportunity to bash whatever agency you worked at last, or one of your internships, or a client population that you’d prefer to avoid, but rather a chance to discuss how you handle conflict in the workplace – and you should demonstrate that you CAN handle conflict in professional relationships and work through it in a healthy way. If someone does something frustrating, how do you handle it? Are you professional and direct in your approach? If a client frustrates you, do you use consultation and/or supervision to work through your frustration? Again, if it’s possible to link your particular buttons (the WHAT of the question) to a strength in a genuine way, do it – if you are frustrated by supervisors or coworkers who are disorganized because you like to maintain a sense of order in your work, talk about this and then how you would or have handled it.

12)  What is your work style? What do you do to seek balance in your life?

TDC Tips: Talk about your preferences – do you work best in a collaborative environment or are you more independent? You could mention environmental or social factors that enhance your productivity or performance (like an open working environment, lots of contact with colleagues, professional development activities, etc.). And then discuss how you approach self-care; identify ways in which you manage your stress or actively work to prevent burnout. Show the interviewer a bit of who you are, while maintaining good boundaries – this is an opportunity to demonstrate that you have good boundaries, both in your professional life AND in the interview itself (oversharing is NOT recommended and would hint at poor judgment).

13)  What do you do when you are faced with an ethical conflict? Have you experienced this in your work? What can you tell me about how you handled this?

TDC Tips: If you can recall a specific example, that’s ideal – give an overview of the dilemma, what you struggled with and what you felt your choices were in terms of action. Then discuss how you handled the situation and the outcome, if appropriate; if you haven’t had this experience, talk about your preferred approach and how you imagine this would go.

 Career-Oriented Questions:

14) What are your career goals?

TDC Tips: Interviewers want to know that you’re thinking long term and not just until your next paycheck. If you’re career goals don’t line up with the agency’s mission or if you’re interested in specializing in a population that you won’t be working with, you’ll want to go for a genuine, but less specific answer. If you are taking a clinical position, and you aren’t already licensed, you should talk about your goal of becoming licensed. You can even mention that you have researched good social work exam preparation programs to help you pass. That shows that you are motivated. Most agencies require you to be licensed in order to supervise, so if you want to move up you are going to need your license.

15) Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

TDC Tips: Again, you’ll want to demonstrate that you’ve thought about where you’re going and how you see yourself progressing as a professional – Do you hope to be licensed? To be working in private practice in addition to doing agency work? To be supervising others? To be in an administrative position? People like to be flattered. One thing you can do with this type of question is saying something like, “I know I want to work in some way with this population. I really like clinical work, but once I get more experience I anticipate that I will want additional challenges like supervising and managing others. What is your role here at the agency?” Let the person answer. Find something in what they do that interests you. Then say, “Yeah, in 5 years I hope to be on the pathway to doing work like you are doing. I think our field needs good people at the top, overseeing everything.”

Wrap-up Questions: 

16) At this point, what is your level of interest in the job?

TDC Tips: You should be able to articulate and demonstrate genuine interest in the specifics of the job – not just the idea of getting a paycheck or logging hours, but interest that reflects your understanding of the position, agency, and community served.

17) What is your availability?

TDC Tips: Be honest, but also consider the potential benefits of being flexible. Don’t refuse to work evenings if that’s a condition of employment, but if you have childcare responsibilities at home, let them know that you wouldn’t be able to work every evening.

18) What questions can I answer for you?

TDC Tips: You should always have questions ready at this point in the interview – interviewers want to know that you’ve thought and considered the position, and this is reflected in your curiosity. Some possible questions include: How would you describe the work culture of this agency? What is the typical career track of social workers here? What type of supervision will I receive, and how often? Where does the agency get its funding from? What kinds of professional development activities do employees here engage in?

Questions of a more specific nature, dependent on the position:

19) What is your theoretical orientation?

TDC Tips: Even if you practice “eclectically” you should be able to discuss the theories or modalities that you draw your approach from – how do you view clients, their problems, and potential solutions? If you know that the agency uses a particular theoretical model, you don’t have to pledge allegiance, but you should demonstrate an understanding of how this model might fit in with your established approach. Hopefully you have done your research on the agency and if there is any indication of their orientation you should read up on it and be able to talk about it.

20) What are the risk assessment/signs of abuse and/or neglect?

TDC Tips: First be aware of the population and the culture of the clients you’ll be working with and how this might impact your assessment of risk signs. You’ll want to be able to identify specific risk factors and/or signs that you would look for in interactions with clients. This may also be an opportunity for you to demonstrate your knowledge of state and local regulations regarding reporting and your comfort in your role as a mandated reporter.

Do you have other professional development questions related to the field of social work?  Contact us and we will try to figure out the answer for you.

Are you thinking about getting licensed?

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Free LCSW Practice Exam

Posted by Bethany Vanderbilt

April 7, 2014 at 3:29 PM

Free LCSW Practice Exam

No one wants to think about malpractice...I know I don't!  But we have to -- it's a risk that we take when we choose to enter a profession whose focus is helping others.  One of the most important ways you can protect yourself against malpractice is through the process of informed consent.  Of equal importance, this process also (hopefully) protects the client from inadvertently or unknowingly entering into a situation that could lead to uncomfortable emotions, pain, regression, etc.

Obtaining informed consent is a crucial part of the therapeutic relationship.

Test-makers and licensing bodies want to ensure that you will protect your clients -- and this protection begins at the first moment of contact, often through the process of informed consent. So let's get started with today's free LCSW practice exam question:


A therapist has been working with a client with Borderline Personality Disorder for several months with minimal progress; the client has had periods of suicidal ideation, erratic and intense personal relationships, and is in danger of being fired at work due to an all-or-nothing attitude.  The therapist is considering terminating with the client and referring the client to a new therapist, but would like to use her monthly consultation group to process the case.  What should the therapist do FIRST?

A. Tell the client at the next session that the case will be discussed by the consultation group

B. Ensure that the informed consent provides for this disclosure

C. Proceed with the consultation while keeping identifying details of the client's identity confidential

D. Explore the potential benefits of the consultation with the client at the next session

The NASW Code of Ethics gives the following guidelines regarding informed consent (this is not the entire text -- for the entire text, visit: http://www.naswdc.org/pubs/code/code.asp): "Social workers should provide services to clients only in the context of a professional relationship based, when appropriate, on valid informed consent. Social workers should use clear and understandable language to inform clients of the purpose of the services, risks related to the services, limits to services because of the requirements of a third­party payer, relevant costs, reasonable alternatives, clients’ right to refuse or withdraw consent, and the time frame covered by the consent. Social workers should provide clients with an opportunity to ask questions." Similarly, in an article for CAMFT, Michael Griffin, J.D., LCSW, discusses the standards in the AAMFT's Code of Ethics: “Marriage and family therapists obtain appropriate informed consent to therapy or related procedures as early as feasible in the therapeutic relationship, and use language that is reasonably understandable to clients. The content of informed consent may vary depending upon the client and treatment plan; however, informed consent generally necessitates that the client: (a) has the capacity to consent; (b) has been adequately informed of significant information concerning treatment processes and procedures; (c) has been adequately informed of potential risks and benefits of treatments for which generally recognized standards do not yet exist; (d) has freely and without undue influence expressed consent; and (e) has provided consent that is appropriately documented. When persons, due to age or mental status, are legally incapable of giving informed consent, marriage and family therapists obtain informed permission from a legally authorized person, if such substitute consent is legally permissible.” The full text of this article can be found here:http://www.camft.org/AM/Template.cfm?Section=Michael_Griffin&CONTENTID=10497&TEMPLATE=/CM/ContentDisplay.cfm


I'm going to admit here that I kind of agonized over this question -- whether or not it really represented what I wanted it to, and whether or not I got the answer right myself!  The best answer here, though, is B: ensure that the informed consent provides for this disclosure.  In many cases, the section of the informed consent that deals with treatment processes and procedures (or the purpose of the services) contains a subsection that deals with supervision and/or consultation.  Before the therapist takes any other step, she should ensure that the informed consent covers the consultation.  If it does, then the therapist could proceed with A or D (D is probably a better option).  If it doesn't, the therapist would have to obtain consent to proceed with the consultation; C is not a good answer choice in either case. Whether you're a social worker or a marriage and family therapist, whether you live in California or in another state, understanding your professional code of ethics is extremely important.  TDC has incredible materials that go beyond reading the Code of Ethics -- we actually focus on the application of the ethical standards to clinical situations.  Preparing for licensure is, ahem, professional development!

Think our straightforward, sensible approach could help you PASS your social work exam or MFT exam? If you're preparing for the social work exam click here- Social Work Exam Prep; if you're preparing for the MFT exam, click here MFT Exam Prep. Learn more about our exam prep at the The Therapist Development Center home page.

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Coming up next week: Confidentiality  

BBS NEWS: DSM V Questions won't be added to LCSW and MFT Exam until end of 2014

Posted by Amanda Rowan

April 2, 2014 at 12:13 PM

DSM-5There has been a frenzy of anxiety about when the DSM V will added to the California LCSW and MFT exams.

One of the main sources of this has been other exam prep companies.

When the worried interns and social workers have contacted the Therapist Development Center for clarification we have shared the following:

"To date (4/2/14), the BBS has made NO FORMAL announcement as to when they will add the DSM V questions to the exam -- only that they will be in "the 2014 examination development workshops" which is when they meet to write new questions. (see "It was noted that exams will incorporate DSM-V criteria during the 2014 examination development workshops."
From: http://www.camft.org/AM/Template.cfm?Section=BBS_Updates3&Template=/CM/ContentDisplay.cfm&ContentID=14061)

This is not the same as questions actually appearing on the exam.

The BBS will have to give people ample notice that they are adding DSM V questions to the actual exam and the current exam handbooks still say DSM IV.  We are monitoring the BBS website and new updates and will let people know as soon as we hear, but we suggest focusing on the DSM IV until there is official notification from the BBS. 

A few other related notes: the national MFT exam and the national LCSW exams have both announced that they would be testing the DSM V starting January 2015.  I imagine that the BBS would be in line with them.

However, I wasn't satisfied giving people my speculation.  So I sought the help of Luisa Mardones, Executive Director of the California Society for Clinical Social Work.  I shared with her my concern that people preparing for the exams were being given inaccurate information about the DSM V. She immediately emailed her contact at the BBS - Kim Madsen, the Executive Director of the BBS (nice contact to have!), and recieved this email from Kim.

Hi Luisa,

We consulted with the Office of Professional Examination Services (they develop our exams) to get a definitive date for candidates.  Below is what we will be placing on our website in the near future.   I hope this clarification will ease the candidates anxiety.

DSM Testing information.

LMFT Candidates

  • Exam administrations through December 31, 2014: DSM-IV
  • Exam administrations January 1, 2015 and after: DSM-5

LCSW Candidates

  • Exam administrations through November 30, 2014: DSM-IV
  • Exam administrations December 1, 2014 and after: DSM-5

So there you have it.  The BBS was not testing the DSM V without giving people ample notification.

As always, we look forward to helping you PASS with CONFIDENCE.



LMSW Exam: Free Practice Question

Posted by Emily Pellegrino

February 21, 2014 at 8:30 AM

Lmsw Exam

Alright everyone, this week as we prep for the LMSW exam we are looking at the concept of gender roles.  This term can be somewhat sticky because it is often disputed and criticized by a wide variety of theorists.  Even just the term gender has many definitions and can vary person-to-person depending on what it means for that specific individual. Before we get too much into it, let's look at a sample question.

Sample Question:

The concept of gender roles is BEST defined as:

A. An individual's sexual preference or orientation.

B. The degree to which an individual patterns oneself after members of the same sex.

C. The behaviors and personality characteristics often attached to an individual because of their sex.

D. The components, influenced by society, of attraction, behavior, and identity which make up an individual.

The concept of gender roles is pretty interesting because there are so many different theories that define it.  An object-relations theorist may focus on the effects that socialization has on gender roles whereas an evolutionary theorist views genetics as the basis for gender development.  As you can see, it's pretty confusing, and everyone seems to have a different opinion! Gender roles also vary widely between cultures and therefore when working with client's it is important to determine what gender means to that person as an individual.  Depending on a person's culture, where or how they grew up, or even their own individual preference, people all have their own beliefs about what role gender serves in their own life. This separation of gender roles is easily seen if you take a stroll down the toy isle in a store.  The girls section is covered in pink princesses, whereas the boys section includes action figures and a lot of blue.   It can be difficult for individuals who feel that they don't "fit" into the specific gender role that society has created for them.  That is why when working with client's it can be useful to help them define what gender means for them rather than what they think it should mean. According to The Social Work Dictionary, gender roles is defined as, "The behaviors and personality characteristics that are attached, often inaccurately, to people because of their sex" (Barker, 2003).


The best answer here is C because it provides a comprehensive definition by including both the personality and behaviors exhibited by an individual. A is incorrect because it is referring to an individual's sexual identity and B is incorrect because it is referring to a person's gender identity.  D is incorrect because the statement is discussing the concept of sexual orientation.

Think our straightforward, sensible approach could help you PASS your LMSW exam? If you're preparing for the social work exam check out our LMSW Study Materials. Learn more about our exam prep at the The Therapist Development Center home page.

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Coming up next week: Hallucinations

MFT Exam Free Practice Question

Posted by Bethany Vanderbilt

February 19, 2014 at 9:00 AM

mft exam

Okay, so a couple of weeks ago, my colleague Emily Pellegrino did an excellent blog post on defense mechanisms (if you haven't seen it yet, and are studying for the MFT exam, check it out!).  We're going to be looking at them again tonight as our attention turns to psychological phenomena.  It may seem redundant, but defense mechanisms come up repeatedly on exams, and you, the test-taker, need to understand not only what purpose they serve, but also how to identify major defense mechanisms when they are described in a stem.

Let's take a look at a sample question.


A 35 year-old woman seeks the services of a therapist in private practice.  She tells the therapist in the initial appointment that she is recently divorced and has been feeling "down" since her husband left.  She goes on to say that while she misses her husband, she knows that "we're much better at being friends than we were at being married -- this is the best thing that could have happened."  The client's response represents:

A. Denial

B. Cognitive Dissonance

C. Rationalization

D. Repression

Even though it will give the answer away, I'm going to go through a brief definition for each of the answers above.  Denial refers to a process of refusing to acknowledge an emotion that is uncomfortable, often through a distortion of reality.  Cognitive Dissonance refers to the discomfort that results from holding conflicting cognitions (ideas, beliefs, feelings, values) simultaneously.  Rationalization refers to a process in which plausible reasons are used to justify a feeling or action, or a process in which disappointments are blamed or explained by external circumstances to decrease feelings of discomfort.  Repression refers to a process in which unacceptable feelings or impulses are kept out of conscious awareness, but continue to influence behavior on an unconscious level.  Knowing these definitions is helpful, but it's even more helpful to understand what the terms look like in a real-life situation -- what does it look and sound like when a person is using denial as a defense mechanism?  How about reaction formation (this is one that always trips me up)?

Answer: Hopefully it's no surprise that the correct answer is C, rationalization.  The client is demonstrating this process by saying things that intellectually make sense: "we're better as friends" and "this is the best thing that could have happened" instead of talking about why she's feeling "down" after the end of her marriage.  Rationalization is a defense mechanism that is associated with a higher level of functioning.

Think our straightforward, sensible approach could help you PASS your social work exam or MFT exam? If you're preparing for the social work exam click here- Social Work Exam Prep; if you're preparing for the MFT exam, click here MFT Exam Prep. Learn more about our exam prep at the The Therapist Development Center home page.

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Coming up next week: Consent for Treatment  

LCSW Exam: Free Practice Question

Posted by Bethany Vanderbilt

February 18, 2014 at 2:42 PM

lcsw exam

Okay folks, this week to help you prep for the LCSW exam we're turning to the topic of therapy theories. This is one of the topics in which there's a pretty significant difference in the amount of information that you might need to know, and it all depends on your discipline.  MFT's, as I understand it, are tested on minute details of various therapy theories; they must know history, different schools within the same theory, etc.  LCSW's, on the other hand, in most cases need only  to know the major concepts of the theory and how they might apply to a clinical situation.  I'll apologize in advance to all the MFT's out there if this blog post doesn't go into enough depth for you -- hopefully it will still be useful! Okay, here's a sample test item:    


All of the following intervention strategies are associated with Strategic Family Therapy EXCEPT:

A. Detriangulation

B. Restraining

C. Positioning

D. Paradoxical Directives

Strategic Therapy, in my humble opinion, is a BEAST.  There are 3 schools within this theory, and they have similarities, but there are some distinct differences, too.  Fair warning: I'm just going to go over the basics.  According to this theory, change occurs as the family learns new communication and interaction patterns.  The therapist's role is to provide directives that encourages these alterations -- it requires a very active stance.  The therapist begins by joining with the family and gaining an understanding of the family's current state of homeostasis and hierarchical structure.  The therapist then works with the family in a prescriptive and often manipulative way to change communication and interaction patterns, which then changes the family's overall functioning (homeostasis and hierarchy).  Some terms or concepts that you may want to know: family homeostasis, circular causality, feedback loops (both positive and negative), first order change, second order change, reframing, therapeutic paradox, prescribing the symptom, restraining. A big THANK YOU to Nicolle Osequeda, another member of the TDC team, who provided all of information above (and more -- we've got a great Quick Study sheet on Strategic Therapy).


The answer to the question above is A: detriangulation is a therapeutic intervention used in Bowenian family therapy (also referred to as Extended Family Systems Therapy or Bowen Family Systems Theory).  B, C, and D are all intervention techniques that are associated with Strategic Therapy.  Here's my trick to remembering some of them: when I think of strategy, I think of something active, something that requires doing, and a fair number of the interventions associated with Strategic Therapy are "-ing" words that imply movement or activity.

Think our straightforward, sensible approach could help you PASS your social work exam or MFT exam? If you're preparing for the social work exam click here- Social Work Exam Prep; if you're preparing for the MFT exam, click here MFT Exam Prep. Learn more about our exam prep at the The Therapist Development Center home page.

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Coming up next week: Psychological Phenomena