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

Social work has a long-standing commitment to providing culturally responsive services and supports. While one of the strengths of social work education is the commitment to evidence-based practice, too often the evidence-base pertaining to clinical interventions offers limited guidance about options for adapting accepted clinical practice so that it meets the needs of underrepresented populations. This may be one factor that contributes to the disparities in the engagement of culturally representative populations in mental health care.

Faculty members at the BC School of Social Work recognized the compelling need to re-imagine some aspects of clinical practice by putting cultural characteristics/ideology at the center of social work practice. BC School of Social Work developed a 10-step process called, “adapting clinical interventions for cultural alignment” and has implemented the first 8 steps of the process by making cultural adaptations in Solution Focused Therapy for members of Latinx communities. During this workshop, participants will watch an excerpt from one of the Solution Focused with Latinx community videos in order to understand one of the product outcomes of this project.

The intent of this ten-step process is to create a pathway for social workers to partner with community stakeholders and members of a specific population (in the sample case, it is the LatinX community, which is very diverse) to understand their culture, values and belief systems so that we can adapt a clinical intervention to be appropriate for that population. This interactional workshop will introduce this 10-step process and offer participants the opportunity to create their own action plans for adapting a clinical intervention for a particular population in their community. Presenters will explain a ten-step process for adapting clinical interventions to ensure that evidence-based clinical practice is culturally effective with underrepresented populations. Participants will work on creating their own action plans for their own adaptation of a clinical model with the population of their choosing. Ultimately, everyone will leave inspired with an idea of how to begin developing their own adaptation of a clinical intervention.

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

Single incident traumas, ongoing abuse, neglect and chronic threat to one’s safety impact development and overall well-being throughout the lifespan. Besides poor health outcomes, traumatized individuals can have chronic mental health issues including PTSD, anxiety and depression. By understanding the impact of trauma on the nervous system and how different types of interventions can facilitate healing, providers can determine which kinds of interventions to use and what further training they might want to pursue.

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

The adolescent brain is unique; it is far more powerful and vulnerable than previously understood. Emerging research from the fields of neurology and neuroscience have begun to show a clearer picture of the role of the teen brain in emotions, friendships, risk-taking, learning and more. This webinar provides a basic understanding of the newer research and teaches practical, CBT-based interventions based on this new information. 

We will explore the role of emotions in adolescence and learn CBT strategies for managing feelings and staying in control. With a special focus on the emotions of stress and pleasure, we will dig into the factors that drive these feelings, and ways to help kids recognize, manage and even use these emotions to help them move forward.

The teen brain is all about fitting in and finding a group, and we will look at the factors that lead teens to make head-shaking decisions in order to fit in. Not only will we talk about how to help teens navigate social scenes, we will normalize their need for belonging through engaging research studies and experiments. 

Finally, we will explore why the teen brain needs meaning and purpose. Throughout history, adolescents have been driving forces behind social change (from Vietnam to gun violence). We will look at why the teen brain seeks meaning and learn skills to help kids find and build a sense of meaning in their own lives.

Join us for an overview of the ins and outs of the amazing teen brain!

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

This workshop will introduce social workers to the principles and political framework of the prison industrial complex (PIC) and family regulation system abolition. Through lecture, exercises and discussion we will examine and uplift pathways to bring abolitionist principles to social work practice.

In the midst of global reckonings with the legacies and ongoing injustices of white supremacy, colonialism and anti-Black racism, more attention is justly being paid to the institutions that maintain these harmful ideologies. Carceral systems have been a significant focus of these efforts, and increasingly social work has been forced to contend with both our historical support for criminalization, policing punishment and incarceration, as well as the many ways our work is currently enmeshed in carceral logics, practices and systems. Scholars like Mimi Kim have provided the framework of carceral social work allowing for more possibilities to identify and interrupt carceral social work practices. 

More recently, a growing number of people and organizations in the social work community have taken up PIC abolition as a guiding framework for liberatory social work. This vision of abolition mirrors many of the organizing principles of social work, including human flourishing, social justice and right to self-determination. Social workers are increasingly joining in abolition efforts and insisting that abolitionist ideas inform their work. This workshop is an opportunity and an invitation to reflect on the convergence of abolition and social work, to understand the guiding principles and political framework of PIC abolition and to explore pathways to realize abolitionist principles in social work practice.

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

Effective treatment of the spectrum of narcissistic injury must include an integrated understanding of narcissistically-driven defenses and behaviors, ranging from:

  • expansive self-enhancement to crushing self-criticism
  • devaluation of others to over-idealization and hero-worship
  • perfectionistic standards for achievement to defiant or flagrant disregard of rules and laws

This workshop will address how these contradictory facets of the self form a tightly constructed defensive organization to keep feelings of shame and inadequacy at bay. Through lecture, case examples and small group discussion, we will begin by examining the three basic styles of narcissistic overcompensation that are defensively-based constructions, comprised of beliefs and behaviors that were created in an attempt to preserve a positive sense of self and maintain emotional equilibrium and self-regulation. Participants will be provided with specific questions to enhance therapeutic inquiry techniques in the service of developing deeper listening and intervention techniques. 

To better understand how narcissistic defenses are maintained, participants will be introduced to an integrative Four Quadrant Model, a visual graphic that presents a picture of how narcissistic defenses can be understood from an intrapsychic and relational vantage point. We will explore how compulsive-driven behavioral compensations are not sustainable over the long haul and eventually result in symptom breakthrough as well as episodes of punishing retaliation. Based on foundations in attachment theory, this model and the material provided in this seminar can be applied to psychodynamic and cognitive behavioral approaches with equal facility.

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

In this interactive webinar, clinicians will explore the grief experience of bereaved caregivers and learn support strategies that caregivers wish clinicians knew. The presenters, both palliative care professionals, will share videos of caregiver interviews and summarize key themes. Participants will discuss principles of grief theory and foundational skills in providing bereavement care across the lifespan because grief begins at the time of a serious illness diagnosis. Complex bereavement narratives and supporting families of various cultural and spiritual backgrounds will be discussed. Participants will have an opportunity to reflect on their own experiences in caring for bereaved families as well as share supportive resources for the bereaved in the community. Finally, the presenters will describe tangible skills and tools for clinicians of all levels providing bereavement support.

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