The Social Work Podcast

Jonathan B. Singer, Ph.D., LCSW

Podcast Overview

Join your host, Jonathan Singer, Ph.D., LCSW in an exploration of all things social work, including direct practice, human behavior in the social environment, research, policy, field work, social work education, and everything in between. Big names talking about bigger ideas. The purpose of the podcast is to present information in a user-friendly format. Although the intended audience is social workers, the information will be useful to anyone in a helping profession (including psychology, nursing, psychiatry, counseling, and education). The general public will find these episodes useful as a way of getting insight into some of the issues that social workers need to know about in order to provide professional and ethical services.

Podcast Episodes

#1 - DSM Diagnosis for Social Workers

Episode 1: This is the first part of a two-part lecture on diagnosis and assessment. The Bio-psychosocial-spiritual (BPSS) assessment and the DSM diagnosis are the two most common types of assessments made by social workers. In this lecture, I briefly review the history of DSM diagnosis, from the creation of the first ICD in 1900 to the most recent text revision of the DSM-IV in 2000. I discuss the multiaxial system and provide examples. I transition from DSM diagnosis to the BPSS assessment by discussing the similarities and differences between the two assessments.

#2 - Bio-psychosocial-spiritual Assessment and Mental Status Exam for Social Workers

Episode 2: This is the second part of a two-part lecture on diagnosis and assessment. In the first episode I reviewed the history of the DSM and the multiaxial system. In this lecture, I discuss the Bio-psychosocial-spiritual (BPSS) assessment as the means for providing context for the client's presenting problems. I discuss the purpose of each of the four life domains and how the information is used in social work practice. Emphasis is placed on solution-focused approaches to assessment.I end with a brief description of traditional format for organizing observations about the client - the Mental Status Exam.

#3 - Crisis Intervention and Suicide Assessment for Social Workers: Part 1

Episode 3: This is part one of a two-part series on Crisis Intervention. In this lecture, I provide a brief overview of the history of modern crisis intervention and crisis theory. I discuss two approaches to crisis assessment, Myer's Triage Assessment Model and the Dilation-Constriction Continuum model.

#4 - Crisis Intervention and Suicide Assessment for Social Workers: Part 2

Episode 4: This is part two of a two-part series on Crisis Intervention. In this lecture, I discuss individual crisis intervention within the context of Roberts's Seven-Stage Model of Crisis Intervention, and the most popular group crisis intervention model currently in use, Critical Incident Stress Debriefing. The podcast ends with a detailed review of suicide assessment.

#5 - Freudian Psychoanalysis

Episode 5: In this lecture, I discuss key elements of Freud's theory of personality and how that translated into his approach to therapy. The central goal of Freudian psychoanalysis is to make the unconscious conscious.

#6 - Adlerian Psychotherapy

Episode 6: In this lecture, I discuss key elements of Adler's Personal psychology and how this approach contrasts with Freud's theory. The contrast between Adler's and Freud's approaches can best be summed up in the quote "We are pulled by our goals, rather than pushed by our drives."

#7 - Existential Therapy

Episode 7: In today's podcast, I talk about Existential therapy as an intellectual or philosophical approach to working with people. Although some authors have attempted to manualize Existential therapy (most recently Keshen, A. (2006). A new look at existential psychotherapy. American Journal of Psychotherapy, 60(3), 285-298), the existential approach is not known for specific techniques or procedures. Rather, its influence has been most notable in encouraging clinicians to focus on the ideas of freedom of choice, the responsibility that accompanies choice, and the notion that the inevitability of death is what gives life meaning.

#8 - Person-Centered Therapy

Episode 8: Today we're going to talk about Carl Rogers and his revolutionary approach to psychotherapy - Person-Centered Therapy. Next to Freud, no other therapist has influenced the practice of therapy more than Carl Rogers. The humanistic assumptions at the core of Person-Centered therapy stand in stark contrast to the problem-centered, expert-oriented approach of what was then the dominant model of psychotherapy - Freudian Psychoanalysis. Rogers gave us an equation that would change the concept of therapy forever: Empathy + Genuineness + Unconditional Positive Regard = Necessary and sufficient conditions for change. Although the last part - that these conditions are sufficient for change - has not enjoyed empirical support, the first part - that these conditions are necessary for change - has been confirmed in thousands of research studies over the last 50 years. In today's lecture I will look at the major assumptions of Person-centered therapy, the goals of treatment, the role and attributes of the therapist, and discuss the one technique attributed to Rogers - reflective listening. I'll end with a discussion of the contributions and limitations of Person-centered therapy.

#9 - Gestalt Therapy

Episode 9: Today we're going to talk about the Gestalt therapy, which is part of the existential-phenomenological tradition. The Gestalt approach can be best summed up by the phrase, "the most important moment in a persons life is right now." Gestalt is an experiential therapy that uses experiments and specific techniques to bring the client into the here and now. Through the experience of the here and now, the client is able to make contact with their environment. Contact is a fleeting experience, but it is during contact that we are in the here and now, and thus are in the process of self-actualizing. During the process of self-actualization we are able to make changes. In today's lecture I will will focus on some of the key concepts of Gestalt, the role of the therapist, the client's experience and some of the innovative techniques attributed to Gestalt therapy. I'll end with a brief discussion of the applications of Gestalt, the contributions and limitations of the approach.

#10 - Interpersonal Psychotherapy (IPT)

Episode 10: IPT is a time-limited psychotherapy that was developed in the 1970s and 80s as an outpatient treatment for adults who were diagnosed with moderate or severe non-psychotic, unipolar depression. Over the last 30 years, a number of empirical studies have demonstrated the efficacy of IPT in the treatment of depression. Although originally developed as an individual therapy for adults, IPT has been modified for use with adolescents and older adults, dysthymia, bipolar disorder, bulimia, anxiety disorders and couples counseling. IPT has its roots in psychodynamic theory, but differs from the latter in that it focuses on improving interpersonal functioning in the present. It is similar to CBT in its time-limited approach, structured interviews and assessment tools, but also differs from CBT in that it focuses on the client's affect, rather than cognitions, and the development of a more supportive social network. And whereas nearly all CBTs use homework as a standard part of treatment, although Brief ITP (ITP-B) uses homework, regular IPT may not. In today's lecture I will will focus on some of the key concepts of IPT, the role of the therapist and client, the structure and goals of IPT - specifically focusing on grief, interpersonal role dispute, role transition and interpersonal deficits, and some of the techniques used in IPT. I'll end with a brief discussion of the applications of IPT, its strengths and limitations.

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