Psychodynamic Psychotherapy and Evidence-Based Practice: Friends or Foes?

Recorded Webinar
Instructor: Melissa D. Grady, M.S.W., Ph.D., LICSW, LCSW
CEs: 1.25 CEs are available 
Level: Intermediate
Target Audience: Social workers and other social service providers.
Course Delivery Method and Format: Recorded webinar, self study. All courses are hosted on SmithOnline. Login information will be emailed immediately after registration to the email address entered during registration.
System Requirements: Attendees will need access to a computer with internet and the capability to play recorded videos.

This is a recording of a live webinar that was offered as public lecture in honor of Professor Jim Drisko for his years of service and contributions to the School for Social Work.

Date recorded: June 24, 2021

Within the world of clinical social work, and in particular psychodynamically oriented work, there have been growing tensions between those who perceive clinical social work as an art versus a science. While there are some scholars that have demonstrated the effectiveness of psychodynamically-oriented interventions (such as Shedler and Fonagy), the issue of how psychodynamically trained social workers can incorporate research into their everyday practices has been very limited, both in the literature and discussions within clinical practice circles. An important focus should be on psychodynamic interventions as both an art and a science. This presentation will identify how the evidence-based practice process (EBP) can and should be a critical part of every social work practice, and how its principles can be a complement to, and enhancement of, the psychodynamic interventions that clinical social workers are using within their practices.

Registration Fees and Deadlines:

$30 (one time registration fee of $5) | Ongoing 

Learning Objectives:

  1. Define evidence-based practice
  2. Describe how EBP fits with the common factors and psychodynamic practice
  3. Explain how to locate tools that can enhance their practices with clients


  • Introduction
    • Overview of topic
    • Defining evidence based practice
    • What it is not versus what it is
    • How it has been misunderstood
  • What creates good practice?
    • Overview of the research on common factors
    • The importance of the relationship
    • Clinical expertise and knowledge
  • Psychodynamic theory’s strengths in clinical social work Focus on relationship
    • Attention to client factors (reaction, subjective experiences. Beyond symptom presentation)
    • Use of theory to understand the clients’ experiences and inform interventions
    • Reflexivity
  • Synergy between these three perspectives: EBP, CF, and Psychodynamic
    • Assessment phase
    • Intervention phase
    • Ethics related issues
  • Tools for clinical social workers
    • Resources (i.e. databases, assessment tools, process/relational tools)
    • References and supports (i.e. books, toolkits, experts in the field)
  • Conclusion and questions

About the Instructor:

Dr. Melissa D. Grady received her M.S.W. and Ph.D. from Smith College School for Social Work. Her research areas are in the translation of evidence-based practice and on the prevention of sexual violence. She has over 50 peer-reviewed publications written on these topics and has presented at numerous international, national and regional refereed conferences as well as provided a number of continuing education trainings for various organizations. In addition, she serves on several editorial boards, including Sexual Abuse and Clinical Social Work Journal, and on local and national committees, including the Area 2 Representative for the local ATSA Chapter – MARATSA. She has been an active practitioner for over 20 years and maintains a private practice in Washington DC. Her clinical experience includes both work in the public mental health sector and private sector. She has worked with clients who have committed sexual crimes and who have experienced trauma, depression, anxiety, anger management as well as other mental health issues. She is an associate professor at Catholic University’s National School of Social Service where she teaches in the areas of mental health, clinical practice, clinical theory and research methods to masters and doctoral students.

Completion Requirements for Recorded Webinars and Online Courses.

To receive a CE certificate, you must complete the entirety of the recorded webinar or recorded video presentation. Partial credit will not be awarded to those who attend only a portion of the class. For recorded webinars and online courses, participants must complete an evaluation and a post test, noting the length of time to complete the course. Participants must earn a minimum score of 80 percent on the post test in order to earn CEs. Retesting is allowed up to five (5) times. If a passing score is not achieved, CEs will not be awarded. Links to the evaluation and post test are available in SmithOnline. Participants must also complete an attestation of completion for each fully completed course. A copy of the attestation is available in SmithOnline. It is attendee’s responsibility to contact their state licensing board/certification boards to determine eligibility to meet continuing education requirements.

How Will a CE Certificate Be Awarded?

Upon completing the course evaluation, successfully passing the post test and submitting the attestation, participants will be emailed their online certificate​ within 30 days of course completion​. ​Participants should save and/or print ​the certificate upon receipt for ​their records. Receiving the CE certificate is contingent on submitting attestion, completion of the evaluation and passing the post test.

Continuing Education Credits and Approvals for This Course

Continuing Education (CE) credits offered vary by course. This course only offers the CE credits listed below.  It is the attendees' responsibility to contact their licensing board to determine eligibility to meet continuing education requirements.


Smith College School for Social Work, #1755, is approved as an ACE provider to offer social work continuing education by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) Approved Continuing Education (ACE) program. Regulatory boards are the final authority on courses accepted for continuing education credit. ACE provider approval period:11/19/2021-11/19/2024 . Social workers completing this course receive 1.25 clinical continuing education credits.


Smith College School for Social Work is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education and is therefore authorized to provide CEs as a postsecondary institution accredited by CSWE in many states. Courses offered through the School’s Program of Professional Education are awarded continuing education credits in accordance with Continuing Education Regulation 258, CMR, 31.00 in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. 

NY State

Smith College School for Social Work is recognized by the New York State Education Department's State Board for Social Work as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed social workers #SW-0169.

Not Approved for Counselors (LMHC/LPC)

Smith College School for Social Work has been approved by NBCC as an Approved Continuing Education Provider, ACEP No. 7110. This program does NOT qualify for NBCC ACEP approval.