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Interpersonal Practice

This practice method prepares students to restore, maintain, and promote social functioning. These change objectives relate to the individual, family, or small groups and focus on the transactional relationship between persons and their social environment. The basic objective of the concentration is to offer students a well-integrated program of classroom and field education experiences that prepare them for working directly with client populations.

Program Details

Students concentrating in interpersonal practice are required to complete four methods courses, including the two foundation methods courses: Interpersonal Practice with Individuals, Families, and Small Groups (SW 521) and Management, Community Organization, and Policy Practice (SW 560).

Students must also complete two of the following advanced courses, each worth three credit-hours.

Student Profile
Rae Mitchell

  • Practice Method:
    Interpersonal Practice
  • Scholarship:
    Dean’s Mission Scholarship
  • Field Placement:
    Michigan Medicine

“I worked as a medic for over twenty years, first with a private company and then with the Detroit fire department. Then I sustained an injury and had major back surgery. It took my career away. I still wanted to help people, though. Social work chose me. They say that: social work chooses you, not the other way around. I had worked with foster kids as an undergraduate at Oakland University. I want to work in that area. I loved working with children, rebuilding the attachments they lost because of the backgrounds they came from.

“I explained to people at U-M that being a medic was social work. With elderly folks, for example, a lot of it’s about them needing someone to talk to. No one is checking on them, their kids live far away, they’ve outlived other family members, and they’re lonely. You sit with them and talk a few minutes to make sure they have their medications in order. Even in an emergency, family members may not understand what is going on. If the family is there you talk to them, reassure them, make everyone feel safe on the way to the hospital.

“The U-M School of Social Work is the number one program in the country. It’s the only one I applied to. I wanted the best education for my master’s. There is very little room for error when you are working with kids. They have been through so much, you can’t risk causing any more harm. So far it’s been great here. I can’t believe how quickly it’s gone. I graduate in July as an advanced standing student!

“After graduation, I hope to be employed at Michigan Medicine to build my skills and experience. My long-term goal is to open a residential facility and work with children who have suffered abuse and or neglect. I would like to heal the wounds, one child at a time.

“Through all this, my Dean’s Mission Scholarship helped tremendously. I didn’t want to take on more debt, and entry level social work positions don’t pay a lot. I didn’t want to slip backwards. I have three children, and I was not able to work full time and go to school, so the scholarship played a huge role in my ability to come here. I am so grateful. I get choked up when I meet folks who have funded scholarships. Some of us would not be here, if not for scholarships. They make a huge difference in our lives and in the lives we touch. I help make changes in clients’ lives because of the education I got, and that’s because of the scholarship I got. I pray the day comes when I can give back, because I definitely will.”



  • M. Antonio G. Alvarez

    M. Antonio G. Alvarez

    LEO Lecturer II
    School social work, adventure based practice, child welfare, community-based interventions, bullying and suicide prevention and intervention, international social work, and practice with indigenous/immigrant populations.
  • Richard Barinbaum

    Richard Barinbaum

    LEO Lecturer I
  • Alethia J. Battles

    Alethia J. Battles

    LEO Adjunct Lecturer & UMH Probate and Judicial Liaison
  • Zaynab K. Boussi

    Zaynab K. Boussi

    LEO Intermittent Lecturer
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