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.

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Professional Education Policies and CE Accreditation Information

Financial concerns can have a profound impact on behavioral health, yet the financial domain is rarely addressed in clinical practice. Within social work, teaching financial content is now prescribed by CSWE, and financial issues are highlighted as part of the Grand Challenges for Social Work. According to the American Psychological Association, issues with personal finances and costs of living are the top stressors Americans face (2022). Research also suggests that financial well-being contributes as much to overall well-being as do job satisfaction, relationship support satisfaction and health status combined (Netemeyer et al., 2018). 

In this course, attendees will be able to define financial behavioral health, learn the importance of integrating financial considerations into clinical practice and explore the association between financial and other behavioral health domains (as pertaining to stress, anxiety, depressive disorders and associated substance or medication-induced symptoms). They will learn about the range of situations in which financial assessments may be used. Attendees will then practice ways to engage, assess and intervene in cases impacted by financial concerns. The session will conclude by highlighting emerging issues attendees should be aware of. A practitioner’s toolbox of resources, referral options, assessment measures and other materials will be provided. 

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

Mentalization Based Treatment (MBT) is 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. The multidimensional nature of mentalization will be addressed with attention to assessment of mentalizing, automatic (implicit) versus controlled (explicit) mentalizing and cognitive versus affective mentalizing. Additionally, the course will address mentalization and culture and MBT principles used in the treatment of relational trauma. Finally, there will be a discussion of the "relational passport" and other therapeutic techniques, illustrated with case examples. Course participants will explore how these techniques could be utilized in their clinical practice.

6 CEs. Learn more and register.

Black men living in America have been designated as an “endangered species” for a variety of reasons, namely the targeting and violence done to young Black men by police. Such experiences leave the parents of young Black boys to worry on a constant basis about the safety of their sons. Few scholars, however, have examined the unconscious effects of such worry on the young Black child’s experience of the holding environment and the subsequent identifications that inform his sense of self in relation to others. Inspired by a recent qualitative research study, this course explores the implicit and explicit psychological effects of cultural trauma. Using a psychodynamic analysis, it aims to prepare the clinician (1) to understand normative psychological experiences of racism for Black boys; (2) to cultivate a positive racial identity for Black boys; and (3) to teach Black boys ways to navigate safety in harmful racist environments.

3 CEs. Learn more and register.

Suicide is a leading cause of preventable death in the United States and worldwide. Nearly 50 percent of individuals who die by suicide see a healthcare provider within a month of death, yet suicide risk assessment and treatment is consistently difficult in practice. With the majority of mental health services in the U.S. being delivered by social workers, it is imperative that risk assessment and safety planning knowledge and skills are in place for our work with clients with the ultimate goal being to prevent premature suicidal death.

This workshop will discuss and present on suicide as public health issue in the U.S., risk and protective factors, warning signs, barriers to help-seeking, risk assessment process and risk formulation, safety planning and cultural humility in risk assessment with use of a clinical case. This workshop is focused on the adult population.

6 CEs. Learn more and register.

Do you work with kids and teens with complex ADHD who struggle with making and keeping friends, speaking in front of others, or joining group activities? It’s common for many of these folks to receive significant negative feedback and criticism from others about being different that intensifies social anxiety. Concerned about rejection, embarrassment and exclusion, they often feel misunderstood and lonely. Sometimes, they have been the victims of bullying or played a role as a perpetrator or bystander. Social interactions complicate their lives at school, home and work. The maturing ADHD brain, with its typical challenges of missing social cues, impulsively saying the wrong thing or having big emotional reactions, intensifies these issues. 

In this dynamic webinar, Sharon Saline, Psy.D. will illustrate how to assist these outside-the-box thinkers in learning how to participate more fully in social situations with greater confidence and less self-criticism. After examining the physiology and psychology of anxiety, she will discuss how to change an individual’s relationship to worry, reduce negative thinking, and uncover the core limited beliefs that fuel persistent social anxiety, perfectionism and rejection sensitivity dysphoria. Participants will learn how to help kids and adolescents evaluate their strengths, try new behaviors, reduce harmful comparisons and develop self-soothing techniques. Using cognitive behavioral, insight-oriented and mindfulness interventions, Saline will share practical, evidence-based strategies for enhancing self-regulation, improving conversational skills and fostering resilience.

3 CEs. Learn more and register.

This course offers an opportunity to gain insight and understanding into a grieving process that can be difficult to navigate and support. While much of our society relates to and acknowledges grief and loss related to death, loss that is more ambiguous (defined as unclear and ongoing), can be a topic that is less explored and understood. 

Research states that a loss that is undefined can lead to an increase in mental health issues, substance use and isolation (O'Connor, 2019). In this course, participants will review grief and loss theory, including ambiguous loss theory and dual-process model. The neurobiological impact of loss will be explored as well as strategies to support others who may be navigating a loss. Participants will dive into the content through discussion, group activity and reviewing a case study to discuss how to integrate and utilize this information in their practice.

3 CEs. Learn more and register.

When the Dalai Lama spoke at Smith College some years ago, a member of the audience posed the question, “If there were one piece of advice to guide us in how we live our lives, what would that be?” 

The Dalai Lama replied quite earnestly, “Know what you are doing.”  

Traditionally, we psychodynamic therapists have been in the getting-to-know-what-you-are-doing business.  However, there has been a quiet evolution over the decades from this epistemological focus to one that is more ontological in nature. Accordingly, the emphasis is less exclusively about helping clients to know, and increasingly about facilitating more vital, emotionally rich, generative, and connected states of being. As with any polarity applied to psychodynamic therapy, such as epistemological/knowing versus ontological/being, the process of therapy inevitably involves complex intertwining of both dimensions.  

In a similar vein, the focus on individual subjectivity versus. intersubjectivity also interweaves in complex ways in the therapy process In this presentation, David Levit, Ph.D., ABPP, will address these dimensions of psychotherapy through four extended clinical vignettes. In so doing, he will explore these dimensions of knowing and being, subjectivity and intersubjectivity.  He will use the four vignettes to illustrate clients’ transformational experiences in therapy in connection with four different models of therapeutic action: working from the inside to the inside, from the inside out, from the top down and from the bottom up.

3 CEs. Learn more and register.

Human trafficking in America often looks very different than what is depicted in the media and is more prevalent than is reported. In this training, social workers will learn how to recognize when these issues might be affecting the people they serve.

3 CEs. Learn more and register.


This presentation will provide a basic overview of human trafficking in the United States, including labor and sex trafficking, and the mental health needs of human trafficking victims. An overview of high-risk populations will be presented to understand how traffickers prey on the vulnerabilities of these specific populations. Participants will learn and engage in case scenarios to identify risk factors and vulnerabilities for human trafficking victimization. Furthermore, participants will learn about the mindset of human trafficking victims and be equipped with resources to guide their social work practice.



Living life in a meaningful way is a challenge for most of us. We can feel unclear in what really truly matters, or unsure about our ability to live into our values. Painful life experiences can arise, either as memories or in the present, that are experienced as barriers to meaningful living. It can feel overwhelming or impossible to know how to move forward in life with these painful experiences. Most humans seek opportunities for meaning but struggle with the experience of discomfort that arises along the way. Sources of discomfort can span systemic oppression, trauma, disempowerment, and many other forms of life pain. Yet, truly unlocking life purpose requires naming and honoring our life pain. 

In this workshop, we will explore the fundamentals of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy to understand and deepen our experience of meaningful living, while still honoring the challenges that arise along the way. Through practice of core skills, therapists will come away with some practical tools to implement this powerful approach to empowering meaningful living. Opportunities for further learning will also be discussed.

3 CEs. Learn more and register.