Go Beyond Traditional Practice

with SSW Professional Education

The careers that create meaningful, lasting change in people’s lives are led by professionals who all share a determination that routinely takes them above and beyond. And you can find those individuals in the professional education programs of Smith College School for Social Work. Here you’ll find a community that recharges you in ways that go beyond networking, programs that transform careers and a commitment to greater justice and anti-racism.

Smith College School for Social Work Professional Education is where the best thinkers come together to tackle the relevant issues in clinical social work today.

Upcoming Events

Professional Education offers two types of events: virtual seminars and webinars. 

Virtual Seminars are taught in Zoom classrooms and offer the same lively interaction as our on-campus seminars but from the safety of your own home. Seminars will include role plays, small group discussions and practice applications. These courses are not recorded so one must attend live to earn CEs.

Webinars are synchronous lectures with a moderated Q&A at the end. These courses are recorded and CEs may still be earned if you are unable to attend the session live. 

(Webinars noted below with *)

Professional Education Policies and CE Accreditation Information

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This course will present Mentalization Based Treatment (MBT), a recent psychoanalytic extension of attachment theory and research. MBT places strong emphasis on the relationship between attachment and mentalizing situated within the broader developmental gene-environment context. 

CEs: 6 CEs are available for social workers and psychologists for a $10 fee

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This webinar aims to provide a review of some of the tools available to us as clinicians that inform the documentation specific to collateral work on behalf of trans and non-binary clients. We will review ways in which gatekeeping has been a historically problematic element of clinical care and explore resulting challenges that may arise around trust and rapport-building in the therapy relationship, then shift to a more radical frame of using gatekeeping tools effectively to advocate for clients with surgeons, insurance companies, and other entities that may be in a position to provide or deny care.

We will focus particular attention on supporting clients with non-binary identities in accessing medical interventions and identifying places in which therapists can serve in an advocacy role while empowering clients to engage confidently with providers in order to get their needs met.

We will review elements of letter-writing and the components of strong documentation, with some in-depth discussion of concerns that often arise for therapists doing this work (complex cases, concerns about liability/client regret, ambivalence about holding a decision-making role).

We will also unpack ways to engage in transparent conversation with clients about assessment processes and the power dynamics inherent to those processes, and discuss use of self, role of self-disclosure, and the importance of holding awareness of identity dynamics in the room with an eye toward intersectionality.

CEs: 1.5 CEs are available for social workers and psychologists for a $5 fee. 

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The impact of moral distress during the COVID-19 pandemic presents unique challenges and opportunities for social workers in a variety of fields. Moral distress is defined (Jameton 1984) as the distress one feels when you know what the right thing to do is but constraints, most often institutional, make it nearly impossible to pursue the right course of action. This webinar will discuss the fundamental issues related to moral distress, using evidence-based literature and case examples. Applying a clinical lens to better understand the convergence of countertransference and moral distress will also help us define best strategies for mitigating the harmful effects of moral distress during a period of crisis.

CEs: 1.5 CEs are available for social workers and psychologists for a $5 fee. 

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In this seminar, participants will explore the concept of White Fragility and how that may present in the therapeutic spaces. Participants will engage in reflective work to identify ways in which whiteness in the therapy setting can be challenged. Some potential mechanisms will be reviewed by which white-identified individuals “escape” these challenges. Finally, ways to develop capacity to engage in conversations that challenge whiteness will be discussed. 

CEs: 2.5 CEs are available for social workers and psychologists for a $5 fee. 

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This course explores the foundational tenets of intersectionality as it applies to social work practice and the care of those living with serious illness. As our field has an ethical commitment to social justice, it is imperative that we each locate ourselves within systems of power, privilege and oppression. Intersectionality provides an important entryway to this anti-oppression work. If the use of self is central to a therapeutic bond, how do we understand, hold and utilize our own positionality in our work? The care of seriously ill patients, through a palliative care lens, centers on whole-person care. Yet we lack the skills to assess and support the intersectional experiences and realities of patients and families. This seminar will examine theory in service of practice, identifying action from the micro to the macro. 

CEs: 3 CEs available for social workers and psychologists for a $5 fee. 

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Young adults with emerging symptoms of psychosis need a great deal of support as they struggle to make meaning of this experience and integrate their mental illness into their identity. Clients who are able to navigate this psychological process are better able to engage in treatment relationships and have an improved prognosis. This course offers an opportunity to learn more about the treatment of young adults who are struggling with an emerging mental illness such as bipolar disorder, schizoaffective disorder or schizophrenia. We will begin by describing the fundamentals of diagnostic assessment for clients who are first presenting with symptoms of mania or psychosis. We will also review the basics of pharmacologic treatments for these disorders, including indications and side effects. The course will then move into a discussion of the therapeutic work with clients as they navigate their illness. We will explore the advantages and disadvantages of a diagnosis, how to talk with clients about their psychotic symptoms and develop a shared vocabulary around them, how to navigate feelings of shame and stigma related to having a mental illness and how to work with clients to support them in the often frustrating process of medication treatment.

CEs: 1.5 CEs are available for social workers and psychologists for a $5 fee. 

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In this “new normal,” parents, students and educators are once again navigating the task of balancing online learning with daily routines, screen management and disengagement. Students who are considered “alternative learners”—those with ADHD, Autism and learning disabilities—face unprecedented challenges in their lives and need additional support from parents, educators and mental health providers.  As these children and teens cope with daily ups-and-downs of hybrid or remote learning, many of them are struggling with avoidance, procrastination, loneliness and frustration as well as increased anxiety and depression. In this webinar, Dr. Sharon Saline, veteran psychologist and author of What your ADHD child wishes you knew: Working together to empower kids for success in school and life and The ADHD Solution Card Deck, offers practical, collaborative tools for addressing the concerns of these students and their families and improving motivation and resilience. You’ll learn how to help them create effective daily routines, reduce procrastination, manage challenges with online learning, maintain social connections, balance screen time and improve family connections. 

CEs: 1.5 CEs are available for social workers and psychologists for a $5 fee. 

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We’re all struggling to forgive someone: an unfaithful partner, an alcoholic parent, an ungrateful child. We've been taught that forgiveness is good for us, and good people forgive. But when faced with significant interpersonal ruptures, many people find forgiveness to be too generous and disingenuous. They’re left hating and hurting.

In this course, you’ll learn a radical, new alternative to forgiveness – a profound, life-affirming, healing process called acceptance which allows you to make peace with your past without forgiving an unrepentant offender. You’ll learn how to de-shame the injury, release your bitter preoccupation with its injustice, restore a sense of dignity and forge an appropriate relationship with the offender ranging from complete cut off to full engagement.

Genuine Forgiveness will be reframed as an intimate dance, a hard-won transaction which asks as much of the offender as it does of the hurt party. Concrete steps to earn forgiveness will be spelled out.

This workshop invites you to participate in an experience designed to help you or your patients rise above a violation, repair the rupture within, and consider forgiving the person who hurt you. For those of you who have wronged someone else, it will offer you concrete steps for earning that person’s forgiveness – and perhaps your own.

CEs: 3 CEs are available for social workers and pyschologists for a $5 fee.

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In this interactive virtual workshop, participants will receive a history of anti-Blackness in the United States. Special attention will be paid to the role of anti-Blackness in two of the most disturbing contemporary challenges facing Black people in the U.S.: police brutality and COVID-19. Next, attendees will be guided through an experience meant to reflect upon the role of anti-Blackness in their personal lives. Finally, an exploration of skill-based practices on how best to work alongside the systemic challenges of anti-Blackness in clinical settings.

CEs: 2 CEs available for social workers and psychologists for a $5 fee. 

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Most people find it difficult to tolerate uncertainty. In fact, we are better at adjusting to bad news than we are at adjusting to uncertainty. Continuous change and uncertainty cause a great deal of stress because we lack something concrete to adapt to. In times of upheaval, it is more important than ever to help our clients and ourselves attend to our own health and well-being and that of our communities. 

This workshop will provide an overview of the science behind why individuals find uncertainty so difficult. Participants will learn to differentiate between the source of stress and the physiological stress response, and how to address each separately. The workshop is highly interactive and experiential. Seven evidence-based strategies to manage stress and uncertainty will be introduced and practiced by participants, including:

  • breathing in synchrony
  • adopting a new perspective on stress and uncertainty
  • developing self-compassion
  • scheduling time for stress and worry
  • acknowledging accomplishments
  • engaging in practices that replenish energy
  • goal-setting  

Finally, participants will discuss how to teach these skills to the individuals they serve and apply these skills in their clinical practice.

CEs: 2 CEs available for social workers and pyschologists for a $5 fee.

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This workshop will introduce trans-centered care as an active model of practicing towards a world that centers justice and healing. Trans-centered care challenges therapists to shift foundational perspectives of gender that are rooted in mainstream Western culture, to create a clinical experience for transgender and gender non-conforming people (TGNC) that centers and lifts their own experiences and realities. Participants will be asked to practice personal reflection and curiosity regarding their own gendered experience and gender identity. 

CEs: 1.5 CEs are available for social workers and psychologists for a $5 fee. 

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