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
 
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. 

Learn more and register. 

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. 

Learn more and register

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.

Learn more and register.

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. 

Learn more and register.

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.

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. Biases and injustice in the maternal 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 cover psychiatric issues that manifest uniquely in the childbearing year, including perinatal loss, birth trauma, postpartum psychosis, obsessive compulsive disorder, anxiety and depression. We will also examine how societal injustices can manifest in the individual experiences of our childbearing clients, with attention to supporting therapy clients as they navigate the maternal healthcare system.

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

Learn more and register.

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. 

Learn more and register.

Traumatized adolescents and young adults struggle with self-regulation. They are dysregulated across systems—neurologically, cognitively, physically, emotionally, behaviorally, socially and spiritually. Anxious, vigilant and unable to trust themselves or caregivers, they may experience even loving relationships as confusing and frightening. But to learn self-soothing, they must first be able to rely upon others and discover the comfort of co-regulation. They benefit from relationships with adults that provide them with the psychological (and physical) sense of stability and containment they cannot supply themselves.

Their lifelong experience of the world as unpredictable is exacerbated by the fear and uncertainty that COVID-19 has brought to us all. To work effectively with these youth, it’s crucial for adults to first foster their own capacity for self-awareness and self-regulation. It’s not easy, especially now, when we are also distressed and frightened. It can be harder to attune to our young clients using teletherapy, and their extreme reactions—ranging from angry arousal to frozen shutting down—can trigger our own sense of helplessness and overwhelm.

In this virtual seminar, you will learn about Developmental-Relational Therapy (DRT), an attachment-based model of trauma treatment that can be effective for video sessions. You will learn and practice mindful, empathic strategies that help teens feel more secure, connected, present and regulated.

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

Learn more and register.

This workshop introduces the basic concepts of Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT), an evidence-based approach that has been shown to be highly effective in helping distressed couples repair their relationship and create a secure bond. Using attachment theory as a way to understand human bonds, a couple's distress is viewed in EFT as a struggle to restore a sense of closeness and security. The EFT model provides a road map for guiding couples through de-escalating conflict and strengthening their bond. In this course, attendees will explore assumptions made in EFT about the nature of relationships and how underlying attachment needs drive relational dynamics. Attendees will also learn about contra-indicators and stages of EFT couples therapy as well as the concept of the systemic feedback loop present in a couple conflict cycle. Video demonstrations of clinical work along with small group breakout sessions will be interspersed throughout the program.

CEs: 6 CEs available for social workers for a $10 fee 

Learn more and register

Each of us was raised in multiple social contexts that informed us—overtly and subtly—about our own identity and the identities of others. This training provides opportunities to reflect on how our identities impact the lens through which we perceive ourselves and others; our biases, values and goals; even our empathy and respect.  Making the effort to explore our own cultural landscape and excavate our biases helps to ensure that our communication and behavior is consistent with the way we would like to be perceived.

Cultural humility is a framework that validates and embraces every cultural identity we embody: skin color, religion, class, mental health, body size, family role, age, ability, sexual identity, gender identity, citizenship, addiction status and more.  We are taught how these identities are valued in the social contexts we inhabit: these messages impact how we see ourselves and others.  To practice cultural humility is to have the courage to excavate both our own cultural landscape and the biases and values we were taught, in order to be open to our clients' stories rather than believing we already know them.

CEs: 3 CEs available for social workers. 

Learn more and register.

Trauma, especially ongoing abuse and lack of attunement early in life, has a deep and long lasting impact on the physical and mental health of survivors. Not surprisingly, studies have found that Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE’s), increase the risk of suicide attempts, depression, alcoholism, learning problems and more. In order to understand and assist clients with trauma histories, providers need to understand the specific short and long term impact trauma has on survivors’ brain development, ability to learn, socialize, cope and self-sooth. In this course we will cover: the difference between psychological shock trauma and developmental trauma; how trauma impacts the nervous system and brain; the research on Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and their impact on individuals; and an overview of trauma specific therapeutic methods.

CEs: 3 CEs available for social workers. 

Learn more and register.