Do you work for the VA or know someone who does? If so, check this out!

Posted by Bethany Vanderbilt

October 12, 2017 at 6:42 AM

Did you know? The Department of Veterans Affairs employs more than 12,000 social workers, marriage faVA Photo-2.jpgmily therapists and professional clinical counselors. The services these professionals provide are integral to helping veterans and their families. As part of Therapist Development Center’s (TDC) ongoing efforts to support our country’s veterans, and those who assist them, we are happy to announceTDC is now an approved vendor with the US Department of Veterans Affairs.

What does this mean for you? If you work for the Department of Veterans Affairs and are preparing to take your licensing exam or pursuing continuing education, it is possible to have the VA purchase your exam preparation materials and/or continuing education courses!

If you are interested in pursuing this option, talk with your supervisor and/or department representative. You may be able to work with them to complete a purchase order form with your information, including the fund number that will be utilized and TDC’s information, which can be provided upon request.

If you don't work for the VA but know someone who does, please pass this information along. We want to help! If you or your supervisor have any questions about this, please contact Bethany Vanderbilt, LCSW at [email protected]

TDC looks forward to helping you PASS your exams and pursue your professional goals with confidence!

Social Work Exam Prep Programs       MFT Exam  Prep Programs

more

Topics: Exam Prep, LCSW Exam Prep, Continuing Education, Veterans, MFT Exam Prep, LMSW Exam Prep

Announcement: BBS ESL Accommodations Are Back!

Posted by Robin Gluck

October 6, 2017 at 8:12 AM

 

bigstock-Make-your-announcement-Mixed--188795527

It’s official! After many years of advocacy from professional associations and practitioners in the field, the California Board of Behavioral Sciences (BBS) once again offers accommodations for English as a Second Language (ESL) test takers!

To qualify for this accommodation, the BBS requires you to meet one of the following criteria and to provide accompanying documentation:

1. Score of 85 or below on the Test of English as a Foreign Language, Internet-Based Test (TOEFL-iBT), taken within the two (2) years prior to application

· Required Documentation: Your TOEFL-iBT scores must be sent directly to the Board from the Educational Testing Service (ETS), or you may attach them in an envelope that has been SEALED BY ETS.

2. Prior ESL accommodation granted by your qualifying degree program

· Required Documentation: Attach a letter from the chair of the degree program or from the school’s chief academic officer.

3. Degree program that qualified you for licensure was obtained from a school outside of the United States AND at least 50% of the coursework was presented in a language other than English

· Attach a letter from the chair of the degree program or from the school’s chief academic officer.

The BBS form can be found here:

http://www.bbs.ca.gov/pdf/forms/esl_specaccom.pdf

more

Topics: MFT, Exam Prep, LCSW Exam Prep

Answer and Rationale for FREE Practice Question on Self-Harm

Posted by Heidi Tobe

September 28, 2017 at 11:59 AM

 

bigstock--158439491

Yesterday we posted the following question on self-harm, and today we have the answer and rationale for you!

Question:

A 25-year-old woman has been working with a social worker for two years around issues of anxiety, depression, and non suicidal self-injury. For the past 18 months, the client has abstained from cutting herself, but came into the most recent session wearing long sleeves on a hot summer day. The social worker inquired about this and the client lifted her sleeves to reveal several shallow cuts on her forearms that appeared to be healing. The client stated that she got into a fight with her best friend a few nights ago and in a moment of intense emotion engaged in cutting. What should the social worker do FIRST?

A. Discuss voluntary hospitalization with the client

B. Teach the client coping skills to utilize in moments of intense emotion

C. Explore the thoughts and feelings that preceded the client’s self-injury

D. Refer the client to an MD to take care of the client’s injuries

Answer:

After reading through the question and possible answers for this question, what answer did you come up with? This is a good example of a question that could show up on either of the ASWB practice exams to determine whether you are able to differentiate between the steps you would take with a client engaging in self-harm versus one who is actively suicidal. Let’s go through each of the answer options one at a time and think about them.

  • Answer A: does the client need to be hospitalized? Not at this time. Nothing in the question stem indicates that the client is having suicidal thoughts or is a risk to herself. The question stem specifies that the client engages in non suicidal self injury, meaning, she is engaging in self harm without the intent of killing herself. Further, the cuts are on her forearm and are described as shallow and healing normally, so there is no medical emergency that would indicate a need for hospitalization. Especially for therapists inexperienced with self-injury, seeing a client’s self-inflicted injuries can be alarming and upsetting. From a place of concern and wanting to make sure our clients are safe, we can jump to too extreme of interventions, such as unnecessary hospitalization.
  • Answer B: does the client need concrete coping skills to help her cope during moments of intense emotion? Definitely. This is something you would want to do, but is not necessarily what you would do.
  • Answer C: should we explore the thoughts and feelings the client had before engaging in self-injury? Yes! This answer option allows us to stay in the moment and respond to what the client has shared. Exploring her thoughts and feelings leading up to her self-injury will help us gain a better understanding of the precipitating factors and triggers for this behavior. From there we could discuss various coping skills for the thoughts and emotions that triggered this behavior (B).
  • Answer D: does the client need a medical evaluation? Probably not. The question indicates that the cuts were shallow and healing normally. Nothing else in the question stem indicates a need to seek medical attention.

Which answer did you choose? Does the rationale fit with your understanding of self-injury, or did you learn something new with this scenario? If you have any further questions, we encourage you to check in with a TDC Coach. We are here to support you! And if you came up with the same answer-great job! You are on the right track to getting licensed.

Still haven’t signed up for an exam preparation program? We look forward to helping you PASS your exam with confidence! Our structured, straightforward approach to exam prep will provide you with exactly what you need to pass your social work exam or MFT exam and nothing you don’t. . Once you pay for the program, we are with you until you pass: extensions are always free, materials are structured and comprehensive, and you have access to a coach for 1:1 support. You can learn more about our social work licensing exam prep HERE and more about our MFT licensing exam prep HERE. If you’d like to connect directly with one of our coaches, you can do that HERE

Social Work Exam Prep Programs     MFT Exam  Prep Programs

more

Topics: Exam Prep, LCSW Exam Prep, Social Work Exam Prep, Suicide Prevention

LCSW/LMSW FREE Practice Question: Self-Harm

Posted by Heidi Tobe

September 27, 2017 at 1:56 PM

September is Suicide Prevention Month, and here at TDC we’ve been using our blog to begin conversations around this often-taboo topic. On both the social work and MFT licensing exams, this topic is sure to show up in several forms. We have focused our free practice questions this month on suicide and today we explore the topic of self-injury. These topics are highlighted on licensing exams because our licensing organizations want to ensure that we are equipped with the knowledge and skills necessary to recognize the signs and symptoms of risk to self, distinguish between life threatening and non life threatening behaviors, and take the appropriate steps based on the level of risk.

TDC’s study systems help prepare you for this topic in a number of ways: we provide concrete information on danger to self and others, risk factors, signs, behaviors, how to evaluate the level of risk, and a spectrum of interventions that will be reflected on the exam. We also provide numerous practice questions with rationales that help you think about this topic from all angles.

Let’s get into a practice question that explores this topic.

SAMPLE QUESTION:

bigstock--158439491

A 25-year-old woman has been working with a social worker for two years around issues of anxiety, depression, and non suicidal self-injury. For the past 18 months, the client has abstained from cutting herself, but came into the most recent session wearing long sleeves on a hot summer day. The social worker inquired about this and the client lifted her sleeves to reveal several shallow cuts on her forearms that appeared to be healing. The client stated that she got into a fight with her best friend a few nights ago and in a moment of intense emotion engaged in cutting. What should the social worker do FIRST?

A. Discuss voluntary hospitalization with the client

B. Teach the client coping skills to utilize in moments of intense emotion

C. Explore the thoughts and feelings that preceded the client’s self-injury

D. Refer the client to an MD to take care of the client’s injuries

So, what would we do here? Leave your answer in the comments below and be sure to tune in tomorrow for the answer and a discussion of the rationale!

 

Social Work Exam Prep Programs     MFT Exam  Prep Programs

 

more

Topics: Exam Prep, LCSW Exam Prep, Social Work Exam Prep, Suicide Prevention

Answer and Rationale for LCSW/LMSW Practice Question on Suicidal Clients

Posted by Bethany Vanderbilt

September 14, 2017 at 11:59 AM

Yesterday we posted the following question about suicidal clients, and today we have the answer and rationale for you!

bigstock-Old-male-hands-on-a-table-in-a-18863801.jpg

A 66-year-old man is referred to a social worker by his adult daughter. During the initial assessment, the man reports poor sleep, decreased appetite, and increased feelings of agitation and restlessness after being laid off from his job. He goes on to tell the social worker that “things just seem to keep going downhill since my wife died a year ago.” What action should the social worker take FIRST:

A. Refer the client to an MD to rule out any medical issues

B. Teach the client relaxation skills to help him sleep

C. Ask the client if he’s having any thoughts of suicide or self harm

D. Normalize the client’s feelings of grief and loss

After looking at the question and answer set yesterday, what did you think? This is a good example of an item that could show up on any of the ASWB exams, and one in which there are multiple answer options that look “right.” So, let’s go through the answer choices one at a time and think about them.

    • Answer A: does the client need a medical evaluation? Probably. He’s having symptoms (sleep disturbance, change in appetite, restlessness) that could indicate a medical problem, so we would want to rule that out. In many cases, this answer would take priority, but let’s see what else we have going on here.
    • Answer B: does the client need concrete coping skills to help address his stress and sleep issues? Probably. This would be something you would, in most cases, do with a client in this situation, but it wouldn’t be prioritized over an answer like A.
    • Answer C: should we ask this client if he’s having thoughts of suicide or self harm? ABSOLUTELY. He has a number of factors that put him at an extremely high risk: he’s an older male, he’s had multiple losses (spouse and job), he’s experiencing symptoms consistent with depression, and maybe most significantly, he’s expressing HOPELESSNESS (feeling like things are going downhill). This is the best answer, and would take priority over the medical referral because the suicidal risk is imminent (we want him to live to make it to the doctor’s office).
    • Answer D: should we respond to his feelings? Of course we would want to demonstrate empathy and compassion for this client. C is still a better answer to the question, though, as the social worker should feel comfortable directly addressing the potential for risk in this situation.

Do you want to be TDC’s next success story? Our exam prep materials provide you with everything you need to pass your exam and nothing you don’t. Once you pay for the program, we are with you until you pass: extensions are always free, materials are structured and comprehensive, and you have access to a coach for 1:1 support. We’ve taken the guess work out of studying so you can focus on the real task: PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT.

You can find more information about our social work exam prep programs HERE.

Be sure to tune in next month for another practice question and discussion!

 

Social Work Exam Prep Programs     MFT Exam  Prep Programs

more

Topics: Exam Prep, LCSW Exam Prep, Social Work Exam Prep, Suicide Prevention

LCSW/LMSW FREE Practice Question: Suicidal Clients

Posted by Bethany Vanderbilt

September 13, 2017 at 9:37 AM

As you all know, September is Suicide Prevention Month, and here at TDC, we are using the month as a platform to begin conversations around this often-taboo topic. If you’re studying for your licensure exam, whether a social work exam OR a MFT exam, you’ve probably found that this topic is front and center. There’s a good reason for that: at some point in our professional lives we will almost certainly work with at least one client who wants to end his or her life. Our state boards and licensing organizations want to ensure that as competent professionals we can recognize the signs and symptoms of potential suicide, assess for it accurately, and take the necessary steps to help our client’s stay safe.

Our study systems help prepare you for this topic in a number of ways: we provide concrete information on danger to self and others, risk factors, signs, behaviors, how to evaluate the level of risk, and a spectrum of interventions that will be reflected on the exam. We also provide numerous practice questions with rationales that help you think about this topic from all angles.

Let’s get into a practice question that looks at this topic:

SAMPLE QUESTION: 

bigstock-Old-male-hands-on-a-table-in-a-18863801

 

A 66-year-old man is referred to a social worker by his adult daughter. During the initial assessment, the man reports poor sleep, decreased appetite, and increased feelings of agitation and restlessness after being laid off from his job. He goes on to tell the social worker that “things just seem to keep going downhill since my wife died a year ago.” What action should the social worker take FIRST:

A. Refer the client to an MD to rule out any medical issues

B. Teach the client relaxation skills to help him sleep

C. Ask the client if he’s having any thoughts of suicide or self harm

D. Normalize the client’s feelings of grief and loss

So, what would we do here? Try to help him with concrete issues? Address the potential for medical problems? Leave your answer in the comments below and be sure to tune in tomorrow for the answer and a discussion of the rationale.

Social Work Exam Prep Programs     MFT Exam  Prep Programs

more

Topics: MFT, Exam Prep, LCSW Exam Prep, Suicide Prevention

2017 Veterans Service Scholarship Winners

Posted by Bethany Vanderbilt

August 16, 2017 at 1:47 PM

Congratulations to the 5 winners of the 2017 Veterans Service Scholarship:

1. Fernando Chavarria of Michigan

2. Jonathan Gill of Ohio

3. Kelli Hatzenbuehler of Nebraska

4. Kevin Rumley of North Carolina

5. Shayne Wiggins of New Mexico

We would like to thank everyone who participated in our 1st annual Veterans Service Scholarship for 2nd year MSW students. We had more than 50 applicants from 21 states and 29 schools! Our entire scholarship committee was impressed by the service and quality of our applicants and it was extremely difficult to select our winners. We are inspired by each of your stories and hopeful for the positive impact you will have on this field and the world. Stay tuned for a piece featuring each of our scholarship winners.

We at the Therapist Development Center believe that more can and should be done by every civilian American to support our troops and veterans, so we are now offering our programs FREE for any veteran or active duty military, including each of our scholarship applicants. To learn more about how to obtain this offer, click HERE. To learn more about our social work exam preparation programs, click HERE.

On behalf of the Therapist Development Center team, we wish you the best in your careers as clinical social workers and we know the world will be a better place with your contributions to the field.

Sincerely,

Bethany Vanderbilt, LCSW

Executive Director

bethany.jpg

more

Topics: Exam Prep, Social Justice, LCSW Exam Prep, Social Work Exam Prep

ASWB Exam Changes: Exploring Upcoming Changes to the LMSW and LCSW Exams

Posted by Heidi Tobe

August 9, 2017 at 10:51 AM

The ASWB recently announced that they will be making changes to their licensing exams, to take effect January 2, 2018. 

bigstock-Oh-My-God-Human-Facial-Expres-179375845.jpg

First of all, don't panic! These changes are being implemented to ensure exam content is 1. relevant to current practice and 2. demonstrates both the opinions and the expertise of a diverse group of stakeholders (ASWB, 2017). We have already been getting a number of emails and calls from test takers anxious about these upcoming changes-and rightfully so, as the exam is daunting enough without the uncertainty of new material. The ASWB states, “the updates to the blueprints can generally be described as a touching up and refining of details, with only a few specific topics receiving more extensive adjustments” (ASWB, 2017). This is good news! The changes being made for the LMSW and LCSW exams are minor (the exam undergoing the greatest changes is the Advanced Generalist Exam-an exam you don’t have to worry about if you are on the path to clinical licensure!).


Percentage Changes
 

masters exam

 

As is shown in the diagram above, for the Master’s Level exam, the percentage of Professional relationships, values, and ethics questions is decreasing by 2% from 27% to 25%, the percentage of Human development, diversity, and behavior in the environment questions is decreasing by 1%. The number of Assessment and intervention planning questions are staying the same. What was formerly known as the "Direct and indirect practice" is retitled "Interventions with clients/client systems” and will be increasing by 3%.

 

Clinical exam

 

As shown in the diagram above for the Clinical exam, the number of Professional values and ethics questions are increasing by 1%. The greatest change in questions is in Human development, diversity, and behavior in the environment, which is decreasing from 31% to 24%. Assessment, diagnosis, and treatment Planning questions are increasing from 26% to 30% and Psychotherapy, clinical interventions, and case management is increasing from 25% to 27%.

As you can see, the greatest percentage changes are 3% within any content area for the Master’s level exam and 7% for the Clinical level exam.

So What’s Changing?

We have spent a great deal of time comparing the blueprints for the current exams and the exams to be released in 2018. Here’s what we found: The new blueprints are more lengthy and detailed. The biggest thing we noticed, though, is that the new blueprints seem largely to be expounding upon the outline of the previous blueprints. For example, what once stated “The impact of the environment (e.g. social, physical, cultural, political, economic) on individuals” now states “The impact of the environment (e.g. social, physical, cultural, political, economic) on individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities” (emphasis added). What used to simply state “interview techniques” now states “The principles and techniques of interviewing (e.g., supporting, clarifying, focusing, confronting, validating, feedback, reflecting, language differences, use of interpreters, redirecting.” What used to say “Indicators and dynamics of abuse and neglect” now states “Indicators of abuse and neglect throughout the lifespan” (emphasis added). “Throughout the lifespan” is a phrase we noted came up frequently in the new blueprints, along with “client systems”

How Does This Impact My Studying?

Honestly, not much. Overall, we think these changes could be a really good thing for people preparing for their licensing exams as the ASWB has taken some of the guess work out of what may show up on the exam. What is great for our users is that we have always been proponents of not over studying and steer away from filling our program with obscure pieces of knowledge that are unlikely to show up on the exam (there’s nothing worse than trying to memorize hundreds of pages of content from a thick textbook!). We encourage those preparing for the exam not to let their anxiety get the best of them, over studying each bullet point of the new blueprints in depth (the ASWB has broken it down well for you, so you don’t need to add more bullet points beneath their bullet points!). Trying to study too much content can feel productive, but is not. Our anxiety tells us if we study every bit of information possible, then we will be best prepared. We know from preparing over 20,000 test takers for their licensing exams that more isn’t always better! Rest assured, TDC has it covered.

TDC is known for providing you, our test takers, with everything you need to pass the exam and nothing you don’t. For years, TDC has already been breaking down these content areas further and in more detail as the ASWB is doing now. Does this mean we will not be making any changes to reflect the new exams? Absolutely not! We want to continue to provide the best exam prep out there and have full intentions of continuing to do so by making small changes based on what the ASWB is putting out later this year. We will be working hard to incorporate some of the minor changes being made to the exams, including ensuring our mock exams reflect accurately the percentage of questions being tested on in each content area for the LMSW and LCSW exams. Later this year, the ASWB will release updated practice exams online so that individuals testing on or after January 2, 2018 have practice materials that fully and accurately reflect the modified exams.

If you are preparing for your licensure exams and still haven’t signed up for an exam preparation program, our structured, straightforward approach to exam prep will provide you with exactly what you need to pass your social work exam or MFT exam and nothing you don’t. You can learn more about our social work licensing exam prep HERE and more about our MFT licensing exam prep HERE. If you’d like to connect directly with one of our coaches, you can do that HERE. We look forward to helping you PASS your exam with confidence!

References

https://www.aswb.org/2018-exam-blueprints/

Diagrams retrieved from: https://www.aswb.org/2018-exam-blueprints/how-are-the-exams-changing/

more

Topics: Exam Prep, LCSW Exam Prep, Social Work Exam Prep

LCSW/LMSW Practice Question: Defense Mechanisms

Posted by Heidi Tobe

August 2, 2017 at 11:34 AM

This week we address another topic that is likely to show up on any one of the licensing exams you are preparing for, whether you're getting ready to take the LCSW, LMSW, or BSW exam: Defense Mechanisms. In each of our exam preparation programs, Amanda Rowan does an excellent job of teaching you how to distinguish between the defense mechanisms and apply the knowledge to exam questions. Here is one such question:

bigstock--180428599.jpgA 16-year-old male is suspended after repeated offenses of bullying a classmate. While meeting with the principal the student states, "EVERYONE makes fun of that kid! You just don't see it!" What defense mechanism is the client using?

A. Sublimation

B. Rationalization

C. Internalization

D. Denial

The correct answer is B, Rationalization. Sublimation occurs when an individual changes socially unacceptable impulses into socially acceptable behaviors. In a situation like this, sublimation may look like the 16-year-old male channelling his need for power into the role of “protector” and standing up for students who are picked on. Internalization would occur if the 16-year-old male had seen his parents or an older sibling engaging in bullying behavior and took that on as a part of himself and his identity. Denial would involve him denying engaging in the behavior at all, saying something like “I never bullied him!”

The 16-year-old is engaging in rationalization by making an otherwise unacceptable behavior justified by applying logic or reason (in this case, the idea that “everyone else is doing it”) to the behavior.

Trying to learn and apply all of the defense mechanisms can feel overwhelming. We recommend trying to think of personal or client examples for each of them to help make them stick better in your mind. What have you done to learn all of the defense mechanisms? Comment below with what has worked for you!

Our structured, straightforward approach to exam prep will provide you with exactly what you need to pass your social work exam or MFT exam and nothing you don’t. You can learn more about our social work licensing exam prep HERE and more about our MFT licensing exam prep HERE. If you’d like to connect directly with one of our coaches, you can do that HERE.

We look forward to helping you PASS your exam with confidence!

more

Topics: Exam Prep, LCSW Exam Prep, Social Work Exam Prep, Practice Questions