Course Number: 
41000

This course provides an introduction to contemporary psychodynamic thought and social work practice. The first part examines the defining features of the psychodynamic tradition and explores the growing emphasis on relational and social domains of concern in recent theory, research, and psychosocial intervention. Readings trace the development of psychodynamic understanding and social work practice, present the core concepts and essential concerns of the major schools of thought, and describe the empirical foundations of contemporary relational perspectives. The second part, focused on clinical practice, introduces principles of treatment and methods of intervention from an integrative relational perspective. Readings examine approaches to assessment, establishment of the therapeutic alliance, formulation of goals, representative forms of communication, use of interactive experience, and termination procedures. Presentations of clinical perspectives encompass a range of vulnerable groups and emphasize realistic, flexible use of strategies in view of varying levels of functioning, coping capacities, support systems, and social environments. Critical pluralism is introduced as an orienting perspective that sponsors dialogue among multiple theoretical traditions and helps social workers consider differing approaches in light of the pragmatic concerns and core values of the profession.