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 Policies and CE Accreditation Information

Working with clients who are dealing with chronic or serious illness is common in clinical practice. This workshop will provide foundational understanding of clinical issues related to illness. Integrating this information with established clinical practice can enhance the practitioners ability to understand, refine treatment options and have empathy for those dealing with illness. We will review definitions, types and treatments of chronic and serious illnesses and the systems, psychodynamic and cultural issues that may arise with illness. Using a strengths based perspective, we will examine clinical theories that offer understanding and strategies for clients managing illness. We will also discuss the importance and impact of countertransference related to our own past illness, trauma, etc., to identify our own conscious and unconscious issues that may be influencing the treatment we are providing to clients.

In addition to learning more about the impact of illness on individuals and families, we will look at defense mechanisms that help to mitigate these challenges, identify problem solving skills and communication that reinforces ego strength.

6 CEs available for a $15 fee. Learn more and register.

This course is designed to educate clinicians on suicidality and non-suicidal self-injury among children and adolescents and to develop skills in assessment of risk and protective factors for suicide and safety planning for these youth. Participants will learn about the prevalence of suicidal ideation and non-suicidal self injury among children and adolescents. We will also discuss common risk and protective factors for suicide or self-injury among this population to help clinicians effectively evaluate and treat their clients. Participants will be exposed to several evidence-based tools to assess risk in pediatric populations and encouraged to discuss how these tools may be more or less effective in the settings in which they practice. Finally, participants will have an opportunity to learn various strategies for effective safety planning with at-risk youth. 

This course is designed to be interactive and draw on the collective knowledge of all participants, regardless of level of training or experience working with children and adolescents with mental health issues. Course participants will have the opportunity to practice their assessment skills with case vignettes in smaller break-out groups. Participants will also have the opportunity to discuss systemic issues related to privilege and underrepresentation in the evidence base and in real world clinical scenarios.

3 CEs available for a $10 fee. Learn more and register.

Motivational Interviewing (MI) is an evidenced-based practice that came out of the addictions field and is applicable to a wide range of presenting problems. It is currently used in the health care, mental health and substance abuse/recovery fields and is gaining increasing recognition for its efficacy, broad application and humanistic approach. 

During Motivational Interviewing conversations, the practitioner engages the client in a guided dialogue meant to uncover and heighten ambivalence around a target behavior or issue, aid the client in resolving their ambivalence and ultimately identify a change plan that supports the client’s self-definition of health. MI employs a core set of skills, used within an overarching framework or "spirit," which includes respect, promotion of autonomy and personal choice, collaboration, acceptance, compassion/empathy and evocation. 

This highly interactive and participatory four-day seminar will offer the basics of Motivational Interviewing, with emphasis on exploring and understanding the spirit of MI and learning and practicing the core skills through “real” plays, demonstrations, exercises and case examples. Participants new to MI will leave with effective tools, and those already familiar will increase their confidence and repertoire.

12 CEs available for a $25 fee. Learn more and register.

This workshop will discuss the clinical and ethical issues in working with parents when treating child (ages 8-12), adolescent (ages 13-19) and young adult clients. Using a family consultation model, the presenter will address--with each age group--the sequencing of parent, family and individual sessions, balancing the objectives of parental problem-solving, family dialogue and client privacy. 

Using case vignettes within each age group, the workshop will illustrate how to engage parents in a collaborative therapeutic process and help them facilitate their child's psychological and interpersonal functioning by providing appropriate levels of support and structure.

Finally, the workshop will discuss how to help parents with conflicting parental philosophies and approaches arrive at a workable consensus. This topic will include both intact and separated parental dyads.

3 CEs available for a $10 fee. Learn more and register.

Would you like practical, evidence-based tools to help kids with ADHD harness their natural potential, reduce stress and get things done with less arguing and more cooperation? Whether it’s academics, social challenges, mental health issues or technology, many of these children and teens struggle with feeling overwhelmed, distracted or impulsive. Understanding current research, familiarity with a variety of co-occurring conditions (including anxiety, trauma and learning disabilities), knowledge of brain science and sound clinical judgment combine to help these children and teens overcome a variety of challenges and learn to thrive. In this workshop, you’ll learn how to navigate their complex mix of biology, behavior and emotion and strengthen essential executive functioning skills to improve both home and school experiences. Sharon Saline, Psy.D., presents the unheard voices of young people with ADHD as an effective way to assist professionals and parents in thinking differently about the challenges these kids face and creating helpful interventions to assist them. Based on her unique, strength-based approach–the “5 Cs of ADHD parenting”, Saline shares a variety of thoughtful and practical solutions to teach kids and their families essential executive functioning skills related to daily living that reduce stress and increase positivity. Her collaborative approach integrates mindfulness, cognitive therapy, internal family systems and positive psychology. Innovative tools to improve focus, organization, planning and motivation will also be covered. This workshop will be both didactic and experiential in nature.

6 CEs available for a $15 fee. Learn more and register.

This interactive webinar offers an introduction and deepening discussion around the relational turn which has gained momentum in psychoanalytic thinking and practice - particularly in America - over the last four decades. Unpacking the integrative theoretical origins of the paradigm, the workshop will focus on the key principles which scaffold relational thinking and practice. The workshop begins by tracing the origins of the relational tradition, highlighting its integrative foundations in which can be found the influences of object relations, interpersonal, as well as sociological theories. The workshop will spotlight some of the core tenets of the relational frame. In particular, and drawing on clinical vignettes, we will explore notions of co-construction in the therapeutic relationship, non-neutrality and the subjectivity of the therapist, intersubjectivity and thirdness, multiple self-states, social-constructionism and the significance of the social context against which the encounter unfolds. In discussing these central principles, the relevance of a relational sensibility to the field of clinical social work will be emphasized. The workshop will close with a discussion of the potential of relational thinking and practice to contribute to social justice imperatives, linking relationality to feminist theory, queer theory, critical race theory and positing its potential activism role within the socio-political movements which define our contemporary times. The workshop will consider the contribution which relational psychoanalytic work can make to the social justice issues of our time, and how relationally-oriented therapists can participate in social activism through the clinical encounter.

3 CEs available for a $10 fee. Learn more and register.

This interactive webinar will be taught as a dance between theory and experiential work. A theoretical framework will be explored, presenting research on the power of writing as a healing tool in end-of-life and bereavement. We will use prompts to do some brief narrative work of our own to better understand how to use storytelling in our clinical interventions. Experiential exercises using writing prompts and distributing sample prompts for the use of students will be facilitated. The session will also address the uses of narrative writing with diverse populations, including end-of-life patients, affected families, colleagues and as a tool in self-care. This will include a discussion of issues of sensitivity for the variety of communities we serve.

3 CEs available for a $10 fee. Learn more and register.

This seminar is designed to help clinicians identify how early childhood attachment experiences and/or failures are directly connected to the development of one’s beliefs, values, motivation and assumptions about the self in the world and self-in-relationship to others. Regardless of one’s therapeutic orientation or level of experience, conceptualizing how parts of the person connect or do not connect to form an integrated, cohered self is an acquired skill that deepens and improves over time. Participants will review techniques including moment-to-moment tracking, forecasting, mirroring, and listening to the subtle nuance of language to help uncover hidden feelings that lie beneath the surface of the therapeutic exchange. Through tracking these process dynamics, participants will be shown how to stay aligned with the client’s experience in the present, thus creating a more secure therapeutic holding environment.

The structure of this course will be a combination of lecture, group discussion, pre-recorded videotaped session vignettes as well as practicing techniques of “what to say next”. Through these examples, participants will be shown how minor disappointments can trigger feelings of shame, micro-dissociative ruptures and possible negative transferential responses on the part of our clients. We will discuss and practice how to catch and repair minor ruptures that occur throughout the treatment process, thus preserving and strengthening the therapeutic relationship.

6 CEs available for a $15 fee. Learn more and register.

In their work across various settings, social workers encounter numerous ethical issues. In this course we will focus on ethical principles in a variety of topics including confidentiality and privilege, informed consent, truthfulness, paternalism and self-determination; laws, policies and regulations; whistle-blowing, distribution of limited resources, professionalism, dual relationship and use of social media and technology. We will outline ethical decision-making steps and then apply ethical guidelines to a variety of ethical dilemmas across social work settings.

2 CEs available for a $5 fee. Learn more and register.

In this interactive virtual workshop, participants will receive a working understanding of LGBTQIA+ older adult communities. Next, attendees will be guided through an experience meant to reflect upon the role of their own social identities and how they knowingly, or unknowingly influence the experience when working with LGBTQIA+ older adults.

Through case studies and discussions, attendees will explore best practices when working with LGBTQIA+ older adults. Finally, attendees will learn specific therapeutic interventions that are particularly helpful when working with LGBTQIA+ older adults. 

3 CEs available for a $10 fee. Learn more and register.

The childbearing year is a time of enormous physical, emotional and cultural transition. Many new parents report feeling overwhelmed, isolated, depressed and anxious. Some develop mood and anxiety disorders or are triggered into memories of past trauma during this time of change. Injustice and racism in the perinatal healthcare system cause increased peril for women of color, particularly Black women, who face maternal mortality rates three times that of white women.

This course provides an overview of how, as clinicians, we can provide specialized support to parents during the emotional transitions of the childbearing year: from pregnancy, through birth and into the postpartum period. We will explore the concepts of Reproductive and Birthing Justice (SisterSong, Inc., 2022; Oparah, J. & Bonaparte, A.) and apply these concepts to clinical work. We will cover psychiatric issues that manifest uniquely in the childbearing year, including perinatal loss, birth trauma, postpartum psychosis, obsessive compulsive disorder, anxiety and depression.

3 CEs available for a $10 fee. Learn more and register.