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Class Descriptions

Psychopharmacology SW700

Credits: 1
Prerequisites: None
Course Description: This course has a clinical focus and practical orientation; therefore, we will examine basic neuropsychopharmacology, neurotransmitter systems, drug metabolism (i.e, absorption, distribution, metabolism, excretion), and the pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of psychotropic medications to only a limited degree. Our emphasis will be primarily on understanding the physiological actions, therapeutic effects, and potential toxicities associated with prescribed pharmacotherapies for major classes of mental disorders affecting youth, adults, and older adults.

Current Treatment for Trauma Survivors SW701

Credits: 1
Prerequisites: None
Course Description: Among adults seeking treatment for behavioral health concerns, including mental health and substance use disorders, the high prevalence of historical trauma and associated PTSD is increasingly well-established. The results of the significant Adverse Childhood Experiences Study only emphasize further the high cost in negative health outcomes of neglecting to identify and treat the impact of childhood traumatic experiences. But what can be done to address this important co-occurring condition that otherwise poses such a threat to physical, emotional and mental health? This training will take participants through the steps of clinical treatment sequence that includes evidence-based best practices, from engagement with understandably ambivalent clients to available, research-based group and individual treatments. Use of the most recent version of the Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Symptom Checklist (PCL-5) for client education, diagnostic assessment, treatment planning considerations, and outcome measurement will be featured. The groupwork modalities of Seeking Safety and the Trauma Recovery & Empowerment Model (TREM/M-TREM) will be presented, as well as individual therapy approaches including Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing (EMDR), Cognitive Behavioral approaches, and Prolonged Exposure Therapy. Participants will be equipped with information, resources, and beginning skills that can lead to actionable change in the direction of improving the effectiveness of treatment for PTS/D across various service settings, from community mental health clinics, to substance use disorder treatment programs, to integrated primary care & behavioral health centers.

Spirituality Assessment and Intervention in Social Work SW702

Credits: 1
Prerequisites: None
Course Description: This course provides a framework of knowledge, values, skills and experiences to promote culturally competent, ethical, spiritually-sensitive Social Work practice which takes into account diverse expressions of spirituality. In adopting a holistic perspective to guide practice, spirituality will be viewed as a vital and essential dimension of the bio-psycho-social assessment and treatment planning process. This course will explore the rationale and need to integrate assessment and interventions related to spirituality in social work in a manner that supports cultural humility, social justice and competent practice. This course will be skill-development focused with in-class activities designed to best define, integrate, and use spiritual assessment and interventions in addressing presenting client issues.

Evidence Informed OUD/SUD Interventions SW703

Credits: 1
Prerequisites: None
Course Description: The Evidence Informed OUD/SUD Interventions mini course is designed to introduce students to assessment, intervention, and specialized practice skills to effectively engage and treat clients experiencing addictions (e.g., alcohol, opioids, cannabis, illicit drugs) and who may also present with additional complex and comorbid mental health and physical health needs. The course will also cover Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) for opioid use disorders.

Cultural Issues in the Delivery of OUD/SUD Treatment SW704

Credits: 1
Prerequisites: None
Course Description: In this mini course, students will explore cultural issues in the assessment and treatment of Opioid Use Disorders/Substance Use Disorders. Students will examine the effect of culture on the initiation, use, and abuse of substances. Socio-cultural beliefs can shape an individual’s approach to behavior regarding substance use and abuse. A special focus will be on emerging practices that support positive outcomes for diverse cultural groups, in prevention OUD/SUD, accessing services, engaging and completing treatment programs related to OUD/SUD.

Ethical Dilemmas in Health SW705

Credits: 3
Prerequisites: None
Course Description: From a beginning in efforts to protect human rights in biomedical research, the field of health-related ethics, sometimes called “bioethics” has grown rapidly. It now encompasses such major areas as equity of access to, and delivery of, health care services, and the impact of the rapid proliferation of technologies (e.g. genetic and advanced diagnostic testing, prenatal, mind-altering and life-prolonging treatments) on how human life is defined, and on health care decisions and quality of life. While many of these issues, and the dilemmas they create, focus on the rights and burdens of individuals and families, ethical dilemmas in health have increasingly far-reaching implications for communities and societies. These dilemmas pose challenges to social workers and other social service and health care practitioners, administrators, policy makers and social and health scientists. Issues that have traditionally been private concerns are increasingly played out in the public arena, with passionate constituencies and extensive, and often inflammatory, media attention. The key roles and importance of well-trained and practiced social workers and other health care providers, administrators, planners and policy makers, in assuring equitable treatment and protecting individuals, communities and societies, provide the central rationale for this course. Course participants will review and use ethics frameworks and codes from a variety of health-related disciplines for decision-making, both generally and as applied to specific dilemmas, using a case-study approach. Participants will discuss conflicts between professional ethics codes and federal, state and local laws, regulations and codes(e.g. penal, mental health).

Neuroscience and Substance Abuse SW706

Credits: 1
Prerequisites: None
Course Description: Perhaps now more than ever, social work scientists and practitioners alike affirm the need to fully understand the variability of substance use behaviors, including substance misuse, abuse and dependence, from a multidisciplinary approach. However, the literature and practice with regard to substance use and neuroscience in the context of social work remain in its infancy. Neuroscience is concerned with better understanding brain function and structure across the lifespan, including the use of innovative methods such as functional magnetic resonance imaging. This mini-course will provide an introduction to substance use and neuroscience in the context of social work and cover topics such as the ethical and legal aspects in neuroscience, potential alterations in brain function (e.g., cognitive) and structure (e.g., D2 dopamine receptor) linked to substance use behaviors, gene x environment interaction (e.g., neurogenetics), and the developmental and cultural aspects of neuroscience. Developing a fuller understanding of the neuroscience-related mechanisms underlying substance use behaviors is promising with respect to advancing the etiology literature, which has the potential to lead to optimally efficacious and effective social work prevention and treatment programs.

Services and Supports to Transgender Clients and Communities SW707

Credits: 1
Prerequisites: None
Course Description: This course will increase students’ capacity to understand the issues faced by gender diverse people and communities, including but not limited to trans and nonbinary persons across the life span, and capacity to provide gender-affirming social work support to this group. To achieve these goals, this course will 1) offer a working definition of terms, including (but not limited to): Transgender, Gender Identity, Gender Expression, Gender Expansive, Gender Diverse, Intersex, Nonbinary, Cisgender, and Accomplice; 2) examine multiple risk factors that impact trans and gender diverse people (e.g., mental health issues, economic insecurity, violence) from a strengths-based lens; 3) examine protective factors (e.g., social support, community); 3) consider how these experiences are differentially experienced across intersections of race, class, and disability status, among other facets of identity/experience; and, 4) educate students about resources for trans and gender diverse individuals and communities and where/how to access these resources. Of particular importance, the concept of gender affirmation will be introduced, including mechanisms for social, legal, and medical gender affirmation, with examination of the role of the Social Worker in each of these domains.

Religion, Spirituality, Mental Health and Social Work SW708

Credits: 3
Prerequisites: None
Course Description: The course will explore the influence of religion and spirituality on mental health. Topics covered will include research on spirituality and religion and their interface, as well as the demographic correlates (e.g., age, gender, race) of religious participation. With regards to mental health, the course will examine several issues including: 1) religion and its relation to psychological well being, depression, and anxiety disorders such as OCD, 2) religious coping strategies, 3) the use of clergy for mental health problems, and 4) religion and substance abuse.The use of religion and religious frameworks in interpersonal practice including palliative care will also be examined.

Counseling and Advocacy with LGBTQIA2S+ Adults SW709

Credits: 1
Prerequisites: None
Course Description: This course will introduce and address issues of concern to interpersonal practice clients across the lifespan who identify as Transgender, Lesbian, Bisexual, Gay, Queer or questioning, focusing on the basic knowledge, interpersonal practice and advocacy skills it takes to become increasingly competent in providing counseling and advocacy for people who are in these marginalize, yet highly resilient, groups. From a strength-based perspective, this course will focus on basic social work knowledge and understanding of these groups, the social injustice and stigma facing these groups, but ultimately, how to engage, assess and effectively intervene with current, associated issues through therapy and advocacy. This course will also address self-exploration and ethical dilemmas for social work providers with TBLGQ people, and include real practice experiences with people from our local community. Students will be encouraged to actively engage in the course.

Working with Latinx Families SW711

Credits: 1
Prerequisites: None
Course Description: Latinx constitute the largest ethnic minority group in the United States. The United States Latinx population is immensely diverse, with members originating from over twenty countries. Latinx sub-populations tend to reside in different areas of the United States, have different cultural practices/norms, immigration experiences, and varying levels of economic attainment. These sources of internal variation are important, as they have implications for many social outcomes and social work practice with Latinx families. This mini course focuses on the theoretical, empirical and practice literature on Latinx families in the United States. The mini course will allow for students to become familiar with demographic trends, health disparities, acculturation and acculturative stress, and the current debates surrounding the immigrant health paradox. Additionally, this mini course will cover key methodological approaches aimed at engaging Latinx families in mental health and health care services, as well as barriers and facilitators to mental health and health care utilization. Furthermore, the course focuses on the clinical aspects of working with Latinx families, including but not limited to, culturally congruent assessment, and prevention and treatment models. Students in this course will acquire a general understanding of (1) the demographic, social and political background of Latinx families in the United States, (2) key theoretical frameworks to consider (e.g., acculturative stress) when working with Latinx families, (3) culturally congruent assessment, prevention and treatment approaches for health and well-being, and (3) acquire a general understanding of clinical aspects when working with Latinx families in the United States.

Working with Transitional Age Youth SW712

Credits: 1
Prerequisites: None
Course Description: Transitional age youth, defined as the transition period from adolescence to young adulthood, represents a developmental periods characterized by, among other things, increased risk taking and vulnerability for behavioral and mental health conditions. Yet the social work theoretical, empirical and practice literature remain underdeveloped, particularly for transitional age youth with behavioral health and mental health conditions. Social work practitioners and researchers alike play an essential role in ameliorating behavioral health conditions among transitional age youth. This course focuses on the state of the science when working with transitional age youth with behavioral health conditions. Students in this course will acquire a general understanding of (1) the prevalence and variations of behavioral health conditions among this overlooked and vulnerable population, (2) etiological factors associated with behavioral health conditions, (3) theoretical frameworks to inform practice with transitional age youth, and (4) best programs and practices when working with transitional age youth.

Strengthening Youth Engagement and Retention Skills SW713

Credits: 1
Prerequisites: None
Course Description: Youth living in impoverished communities experience high incidents of involvement with the juvenile justice system, high rates of school dropout, high levels of suicidal behavior, economic hardships that result in frequent moves and often unstable family support networks and lower levels of successful engagement and retention in behavioral health services (Carson, Cook & Alegria, 2010; Hogue & Dauber, 2011; Huey & Polo, 2008). In their daily lives they face violence, homelessness, incarceration, foster care, disabilities, immigration and sexual orientation and racial intolerance. Engagement and retention in treatment are major problems for mental health prevention and intervention programs. This course will present evidence based interventions designed to enhance the knowledge and skills of engagement and retention in treatment when working with high need youth, young adults and their families. We will review commonly utilized theoretical models that inform engagement and retention strategies: the Health Belief Model; Behavior Modification; Strategic and Structural Family Systems Theory; the Ecological Model and the Therapeutic Alliance. We will present promising approaches to engagement and retention which include the Strategic Structural-Systems Engagement (SSSE) model (Szapocznik’s et al.,1988) in which engagement resistance is part of the process; adjunctive family support interventions (Miller & Prinz, 2003); interventions that utilize Motivational Interviewing to address engagement (Nock & Kazdin, 2005; Grote et al. 2009); and McKay and colleagues (1996) provider engagement training to enhance the therapeutic alliance early on in treatment. Special attention will also be given to issues of diversity as it relates to building therapeutic relationships and intervening with youth and their families.

Team-Based Clinical Decision Making SW714

Credits: 2
Prerequisites: None
Course Description: This interprofessional course is for student learners in the areas of advanced practice providers (medicine and advanced-practice nursing), dentistry, pharmacy, and social work. The course allows health professional students to gain an understanding of how each discipline contributes to the healthcare team, the importance of effective communication, and the role of team collaboration to clinical decision making. Active participation in interprofessional groups which focus on clinical case discussions and team-based decision making is a focus.The course promotes health professional students gaining an understanding of how each discipline contributes to the healthcare team and the importance of effective communication and team collaboration to clinical decision making.

CBT with Depressive Disorders SW715

Credits: 1
Prerequisites: None
Course Description: This advanced action-based learning course will focus on direct practice and implementation of the cognitive-behavioral treatment for depression. Several case examples will be utilized and students will engage in role-play and detailed class discussion focused on these techniques. Emphasis will be given to practical application of therapy techniques and troubleshooting difficult and challenging clinical cases. The course will also include strategies for enhancing adherence to behavioral homework exercises. An overview of empirically established cultural adaptations of CBT for depression will also be provided.

Motivational Interviewing SW716

Credits: 1
Prerequisites: None
Course Description: Motivational interviewing is a goal-directed, client-centered counseling approach for eliciting behavioral change by helping clients explore and resolve ambivalence. Utilizing the Professional Training Videotape Series developed by William R. Miller and Stephen Rollnick, this is a series of skill-sharing sessions will provide a basic introduction to Motivational Interviewing. This advanced action-based learning course will focus on direct practice and implementation of motivational interviewing techniques. Utilizing numerous materials including video examples from this five-week series of 3-hour instruction and skill-building sessions will introduce motivational Interviewing. Using the video material and supplemental handouts, along with lecture, role-playing practice and group discussion, this course will lay a foundation for participants to begin to develop their clinical skills in helping people accomplish change in areas of difficult behavior. Emphasis will be given to practical application of therapy techniques and troubleshooting difficult and challenging clinical circumstances across a variety of practice settings and populations. An overview of cultural considerations in motivational interviewing will also be provided.

Grief Counseling Principles and Practice SW717

Credits: 1
Prerequisites: SW 617 recommended, not required
Course Description: This course is designed to deepen knowledge and skills in grief counseling to work effectively with a diverse range of bereaved individuals. Theoretical underpinnings of grief and loss counseling and contexts in which counseling may occur will be explored. Developing specific grief assessment and intervention clinical skills applicable to a range of diverse clients across the lifespan with different types of loss will be the focus of the course.

MasterTrack Skills Lab SW718

Credits: 3
Prerequisites: None
Course Description: This laboratory course is designed and reserved for students who completed the School of Social Work MasterTrack Certificate and are enrolled in the MasterTrack MSW option. The course will focus on tying together concepts learned in the MasterTrack Certificate, and developing knowledge, skills, tools and techniques that are critical for successful social work practice. This course provides opportunities for hands-on experience and training, using tangible tools that are critical for success in interpersonal, mezzo, and macro practice. Special emphasis will be placed on approaches that are evidence based, and strengthen socially just and culturally responsive practice.

Advanced Topics in Interpersonal Practice in Integrated Health, Mental Health, and Substance Abuse SW719

Credits: 3
Prerequisites: None
Course Description: This course presents advanced topics in Interpersonal Practice in Integrated Health, Mental Health, and Substance Abuse. The topics may include emerging practice issues and advanced application of specific methods.

Ethics and Ethical Dilemmas in the Provision of Services to Children and Families SW720

Credits: 1
Prerequisites: None
Course Description: This course will prepare students at the advanced level of social work practice to identify and resolve ethical dilemmas with children and families. Ethics is addressed in all areas of social work education and practice; therefore, this course will provide the theory and framework for making ethical decisions across all levels of practice. Ethical issues include, but are not limited to protection of life, autonomy and freedom, least harm, full disclosure, racial bias and predictive analytics (e.g., disproportionality and disparities), child removal, the termination of parental rights, and privacy. This course begins with an overview of the mission and values of social work practice, utilizing the NASW Code of Ethics as the primary framework for ethical-decision making. Students will learn the difference between a value conflict and an ethical dilemma, how to apply theory, and models for mediating ethical dilemmas in your work with individuals, families, and groups. Theories (e.g. deontological, utilitarian, and moral) will be the basis for ethical decision-making in this course and justification models will be introduced through the use of concrete issues and case examples.

Observation and interaction with young children and their caregivers SW721

Credits: 3
Prerequisites: None
Course Description: This course will examine theories and techniques for observing and understanding the behavior and interactions of infants and young children and their caregivers. This course will emphasize evidence-based tools for observation that address diverse groups of infants and young children in their primary environments (e.g., family and alternative caregiving contexts). Special attention will be given to issues of diversity as it relates to understanding the nature of interactions. The course will be divided into classroom activities as well as involvement in an evidence-informed intervention project through the Department of Psychiatry. Students will be part of a Child Team working/playing with an individual child on a weekly basis to assist the child with separation and reunions while their parent attends a parenting intervention group. The course will contribute to post-graduate readiness for endorsement in infant-family practice.

Management and Organizational Leadership in Child and Family Systems SW722

Credits: 3
Prerequisites: None
Course Description: This course will provide fundamental knowledge and skills for leadership and management of organizational work with children, youth, and families whether it be preventive, protective, rehabilitative, therapeutic, or advocacy based services. Students will learn practices to manage human service workers effectively within the competing tensions of child welfare and juvenile justice work such as increasing need and limited resources, high staff-turnover, policy changes, and emotionally taxing work. Students will gain skills in supervisory management for effective team building, organizational innovation, group decision making, and conflict mediation; concepts and skills for reflective supervision; practices to develop supervisory leadership; consider outcomes and measurements for program effectiveness; and principles of fiscal management and grant writing.

Prevention of Child Maltreatment SW723

Credits: 1
Prerequisites: None
Course Description: This course will examine the correlates and consequences of child maltreatment, as well as the social, environmental, and cultural buffers and mitigating factors that lessen risk and promote protection/ resilience in maltreated children and adolescents. Students will learn about the public health model of child abuse prevention and examine a range of strategies that extend from this model. Throughout the course, students will critically review programs and practices in primary and secondary prevention and consider how they align with core values of the social work profession. Students will also consider how social workers can become more integrally involved in advancing local, national, and international efforts to promote the well-being of maltreated children across the lifecourse.

Theories and Practices of Infant Mental Health SW724

Credits: 1
Prerequisites: None
Course Description: This is an introductory course on the relationship between theory and practice in infant mental health. It is intended for graduate students in Social Work, Education, Nursing and Psychology. Its purpose is to furnish a conceptual framework, based upon attachment theory, for understanding how the emotional qualities of the infant-parent dyads influence the infant's development, the parent's capacity to give care, and finally the professional's state of mind regarding the family. Emphasis is given to how the experiences of early childhood persist over time, and how they are summoned up again by the presence of a baby. This understanding becomes in turn the basis for learning how to plan a treatment approach that takes into account the family's capacities for change. This course meets several educational components for students interested in post-graduate endorsement in infant-family practice.

Juvenile and Adult Justice System SW725

Credits: 3
Prerequisites: None
Course Description: This course critically examines juvenile delinquency and the adult correctional system in the United States. Students will be exposed to the theories that help professionals understand the development of delinquency and crime within the context of individuals, families and communities. Understanding the mechanisms that contribute to offending is important for social work professionals, as this understanding should directly guide the policies and practices of the justice system. This course will focus on some of the most pressing issues that face the justice system and the social work professionals that work within this system. Such issues include adolescent brain development, poverty, child maltreatment, substance abuse, mental health, disproportionate minority contact (DMC), incarceration, peer relationships, the school to prison pipeline, evidence based interventions and the role of ideology in juvenile justice policy. The course is designed for social work students interested in working in justice settings (micro or macro) or students interested in working with youth populations that may experience contact with the justice system.

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