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Class Descriptions

Essentials of Interpersonal Practice


Credits: 4
Prerequisites: None

Course Description

This course presents knowledge and skills essential to interpersonal practice while considering the community, organizational, and policy contexts in which social workers practice. Students learn how to perform various social work roles (i.e. counselor, group facilitator, mediator, broker, and advocate), recognizing that these roles must be based on the adherence to social work values and ethics. All phases of the IP treatment and prevention process (i.e. engagement, assessment, planning, intervention, evaluation,and termination) will be presented with attention to how they are applied to work with individuals, families, and small groups. Using an evidence informed approach, students will learn to assess problems in clients' lives that relate to attributes of the client (e.g. age, race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, ability and spirituality) as well as situational and environmental factors relevant to the client's social functioning. Students will understand patterns of functioning, to assess strengths and limitations, and to plan, implement and monitor change strategies. Students also learn how self-awareness and the conscious use of self affect the helping relationship and how to apply practice skills such as active listening, empathic responding, contracting, problem-solving, critical and creative thinking in practice. Students learn how to apply various evidence informed strategies in order to demonstrate the effectiveness of change efforts based on whether their implementation enhances the client's capacity for self-determination and the system's capacity for justice.


Apply inclusive engagement, assessment, and intervention strategies with diverse clients with empathy and cultural humility, based on an intersectional analysis of systems of power, privilege, and oppression in interpersonal practice settings (Essential 11, 13, 14, 15; EPAS 2, 6, 7, 8).
Articulate social work values and ethics in all interpersonal practice strategies to address client issues (Essential 9, 40, 44; EPAS 1, 5, 6)
Assess client needs using a biopsychosocial spiritual and ecological frameworks to effectively identify and address client and environmental change strategies including in high risk situations such as suicide, interpersonal violence, substance abuse and trauma. (Essential 2, 4, 7, 16; EPAS 4, 7, 8, 9)
Develop intervention plans that incorporate evidence informed practice with diverse clients based on an intersectional analysis of systems of power, privilege, and oppression in interpersonal practice settings that can target environmental as well as intra and interpersonal levels of change.(Essential 18, 20, 21, 27; EPAS 4, 7, 8)
Practice engaging, assessing, intervening and evaluating with client systems using evidence informed strategies in each phase of intervention (Essential 22, 23, 27; EPAS 4, 6, 7, 8, 9).
Demonstrate effective communication to document services and intervention and facilitate interprofessional collaborative practice (Essential 12, 17; EPAS 6, 8).
Apply anti-racist frameworks to social work practice and utilize skills to intervene, disrupt, and undo racism (Essential 1, 11, 14, 22, 44, 45; EPAS 2, 3, 6, 7, 8, 9).


This course will incorporate mini-lectures, role plays, simulations, and applied case examples to demonstrate the core objectives. Using a flipped class approach, class sessions will emphasize skill development and applied learning activities related to all aspects of the change process when working with individuals, families and small groups.

Intensive Focus on Privilege, Oppression, Diversity and Social Justice (PODS)

This course integrates PODS content and skills with a special emphasis on the identification of theories, practice and/or policies that promote social justice, illuminate injustices and are consistent with scientific and professional knowledge. Through the use of a variety of instructional methods, this course will support students developing a vision of social justice, learn to recognize and reduce mechanisms that support oppression and injustice, work toward social justice processes, apply intersectionality and intercultural frameworks and strengthen critical consciousness, self-knowledge and self-awareness to facilitate every aspect of professional interpersonal practice.

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