Socw 6111 week 7 | SOCW 6111 – Advanced Clinical Social Work Practice I | Walden University


Week 7: Tools for Practice

As an intern, even in your concentration year, it is common and expected to be nervous and unsure when you begin to work with clients. Working one-on-one with a client requires many skills that take years to learn and a feeling of mastery over these skills is a misguided goal. As a social work professional, even after you graduate, you will learn many lessons from your clients. You will consistently be challenged to obtain new skills and knowledge to best assist your clientele. Further, you will constantly be asked to look at yourself and your own reactions when providing care to your clients. The use of self-reflection and self-awareness is required of a good social worker who recognizes his or her own potential biases and personal experiences in and out of the room. This week you will consider some potential barriers to successfully working with a client and some potential strategies to address them.

Learning Objectives

Students will:
  • Explain the importance of identifying internal and external barriers
  • Analyze barriers to a therapeutic relationship
  • Apply self-disclosure as an intervention strategy

Learning Resources

Note: To access this week’s required library resources, please click on the link to the Course Readings List, found in the Course Materials section of your Syllabus.

Required Readings

Drinane, J. M., Owen, J., & Tao, K. W. (2018). Cultural concealment and therapy outcomes. Journal Of Counseling Psychology, 65(2), 239-246.

Geller, S. M., & Greenberg, L. S. (2012). Challenges to therapeutic presence. In Therapeutic presence: A mindful approach to effective therapy (pp. 143–159). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

McTighe, J. P. (2011). Teaching the use of self through the process of clinical supervision. Clinical Social Work Journal, 39(3), 301–307.

Plummer, S.-B., Makris, S., & Brocksen, S. M. (Eds.). (2014a). Sessions: case histories. Baltimore, MD: Laureate International Universities Publishing. [Vital Source e-reader].
The Petrakis Family (pp. 20–22)

Required Media

Laureate Education (Producer). (2013c). Petrakis family: Episode 3 [Video file]. Retrieved from
Accessible player –Downloads–Download Video w/CCDownload AudioDownload TranscriptCredit: Provided courtesy of the Laureate International Network of Universities.

Singer, J. B. (Host). (2007, March 1). Developing treatment plans: The basics [Episode 10]. Social Work Podcast. Podcast retrieved from

Optional Resources

Use this link to access the MSW home page, which provides resources for your social work program.

Discussion 1: Self-Reflection and Awareness

Exploring the reasons for wanting to be in social work and examining your motives for choosing a career of helping others is very important. Your background, including childhood experiences, may be instrumental in bringing you into the field of social work. Understanding the possible connection and working to resolve any underlying unresolved issues is essential to becoming an effective social worker. While working with a client, you must strive to be objective, but in the end we are all human with past hurtful experiences that can impact our ability to effectively work with clients. While complete objectivity is impossible and not expected, it is necessary to self-reflect and become aware of when a situation or a certain personality type causes you to react in an unprofessional manner. Understanding potential internal and external barriers you and your client bring to the room will assist you in balancing an appropriate empathetic response with proper objectivity.

For this Discussion, review the Geller & Greenberg (2012) article and the program case study for the Petrakis family, and view the corresponding video.

By Day 3

Post your explanation of the importance of identifying internal and external barriers of the client and social worker. Then describe the barriers experienced by Helen and the social work intern. Finally, suggest ways the intern could overcome these barriers.

Support your posts with specific references to the Learning Resources. Be sure to provide full APA citations for your references.

By Day 5

Respond to at least two colleagues and suggest alternate ways the intern might overcome barriers.

Support your responses with specific references to the Learning Resources. Be sure to provide full APA citations for your references.

Submission and Grading Information
Grading Criteria

To access your rubric:
Week 7 Discussion 1 Rubric

Post by Day 3 and Respond by Day 5


 larry harris RE: Discussion 1 – Week 7COLLAPSE

Client and therapist relationships are influenced by internal and external barriers.  According to Geller and Greenberg although we categorize challenges as internal and external those external challenges are internal for the therapist and must be worked through (2012).  As therapist we need to be aware of self to fully be in the moment when working with clients.  “To access that inner steadiness we have to commit to riding through our own inner terrain with greater ease and assurance, while being a part of a something larger, whether it be a sense of community or through spirituality (Geller and Greenberg, 2017, p. 150).  Being aware of self lets us know the areas we need improvement and focus.

In the case of The Petrakis Family the intern was trying to help Helen brainstorm solutions to the caring for Magda.  She is now being blamed for the entire situation with the grandson stealing from Magda.  Helen trying to protect Alec and his image withheld information from the social worker allowing the social worker to suggest things.  Helen internally is conflicted with not only telling the social worker about Alec but telling her husband what has happened.   The social worker needs to figure out a way to calm the situation and speak with her supervisor to make sure she has done everything correctly.  I think the social worker should have included Magda in the session before allowing Helen to make that decision about letting Alec move in. 


 Geller, S. M., & Greenberg, L. S. (2012). Challenges to therapeutic presence. In Therapeutic presence: A mindful approach to effective therapy. (pp. 143–159). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Laureate Education (Producer). (2013c). Petrakis family: Episode 3 [Video file]. Retrieved from

Response 2

 Sara Hale RE: Discussion 1 – Week 7COLLAPSE

Internal barriers are something within you that prevents you from reaching your goals, such as personality, or personal beliefs while external barriers are something in your environment that prevents you from achieving your goal, such as resources, people or job (Garthwait, 2017).   One of the main internal barriers that client and social worker in this case, is lack of rest, which affects most of the previous mentions (Garthwait, 2017). External barriers are less controllable.  By have expectations of others, time commitments, inefficiencies in the system, rules and regulations, something simple like too much information to absorb, or lack of kindred spirit, someone to talk to about ideas (Garthwait, 2017). To overcome some of these barriers the social worker and the client would need to understand what the barriers are to be aware of them..

When it comes to Helen and the social worker intern Helen stereotyped the intern by asking her age and assuming she is too young to do the job (Laureate Education, 2013c).  Helen has emotional barriers and taboos.  Helen was uncomfortable talking about her life with a stranger and was not sure about coming in for therapy.   Helen had expectations and prejudices which may lead to false assumptions or stereotypes.  People often hear what they expect to hear rather than what is said and jump to incorrect conclusions.  With Helen being in a psychological state the communication will influence how the message is sent, received and perceived.  Helen was demonstrating this by blaming the intern for being too young and not knowing what she is doing, instead of realizing that there was miscommunication on what Helen’s options were(Need, 2016).

First, the intern should not take it personally (although it’s hard not to sometimes).  The intern can learn from this session and make sure she changes things for the next.  The intern can ask for clarification if she does not understand why Helen was so hesitant to have her son help out with his grandmother.  The intern could do this by using reflective listening and also use open-ended questions to get more of the situation than just what Helen is giving at the time.


Garthwait, C. L. (2017). The social work practicum: A guide and workbook for students (7th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.

Laureate Education (Producer). (2013c). Petrakis family: Episode 3 [Video file]. Retrieved from

Need, S. (2016). An introduction to communication skills: The skills you need guide to interpersonal skills. UK: Skills You Need.

Response 3

 Raven Jones RE: Discussion 1 – Week 7COLLAPSE

Countertransference is defined as “the therapist’s internal or external reactions that are shaped by the therapist’s past or present emotional conflicts and vulnerabilities” (Gelso & Hayes, 2007, p. 25) . Being in my second semester of field placement and working full time at a mental and behavioral hospital, I myself have experience countertransference when working with clients. For example, I have had bad experiences with a past client and when working with present clients my attitude towards them would strain from the past situation. I became self aware of this and knew I had to make a change in my approach. The first thing that I did was recognize I worked for two different populations. Secondly I knew I couldn’t project my experience unto new clients especially when I haven’t built rapport them. Helen and the social worker are experiencing a countertransference as well. Helen is verbally aggressive towards the social worker due to her stress and emotions.  Geller & Greenberg stated that being aware of one’s self and the other, in the way that therapeutic presence evokes, allows therapists to recognize countertransference reactions when they do emerge and either work with them internally to let them go and not act them out or use them in a positive therapeutic manner to reflect what the client is experiencing or may be evoking in the other (pp.145). After that session, the social worker in this case should decide how to move forward with Helen.

Geller,S.M., & Greenberg, L.S. (2012). Challenges to therapeutic presence. In Therapeutic presence: A mindful approach to effective therapy (pp. 143-159). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Discussion 2: Self-Disclosure

Knowing that clients might react negatively to your work with them may cause anxiety, frustration, and even anger. It is inevitable that you will work with a client who expresses anger or disappointment over working with you. This does happen in the social work field and is to be expected over time. Understanding how you might react to allegations of incompetence or anger over incomplete goals is essential to managing this type of exchange. While a negative interaction may be justified if either person did not fulfill responsibilities, often it is a result of the client’s personal reaction to the situation. The best response is to use these interactions to build the therapeutic bond and to assist clients in learning more about themselves. Stepping back to analyze why the client is reacting and addressing the concern will help you and the client learn from the experience.

For this Discussion, review the program case study for the Petrakis family.

By Day 4

Post a description of ways, as Helen’s social worker, you might address Helen’s anger and accusations against you. How might you feel at that moment, and how would you maintain a professional demeanor? Finally, how might you use self-disclosure as a strategy in working with Helen?

Support your posts with specific references to the Learning Resources. Be sure to provide full APA citations for your references.

By Day 6

Respond to at least two colleagues who suggested a different strategy and suggest different approaches to working with Helen.

Response 1

 Britney Fallen RE: Discussion 2 – Week 7COLLAPSE

By using the accusations and the anger Helen is feeling to teach and build from can be a pivotal moment in treatment. Although being accused of such a negative thing would feel awful. In order to maintain professionalism I would have to demonstrate thick skin. It is important to actively listen to Helen and let her say what she needs to say. As the social worker I would maintain a professional demeanor by remaining calm, accepting what she is feeling, and empathizing. According to the Clinical Social Work Journal, It is important to maintain an environment that Helen can voice her opinions and perspectives (2011). When Helen has calmed down we can analyze why she reacted this way with projecting blame onto others and what is actually bothering her. Her son is stealing from her mother in law as well as other factors building up in her life. This isn’t the social workers fault or even Helen’s fault. Helen did what she thought was best for both of them at that time.

After analyzing the circumstances maybe Helen can learn from the situation. The social worker could even learn from the situation as it was forgotten to take Magda’s perception and needs into consideration. Furthermore, according to the NASW, self-disclosure can be used appropriately and selflessly when it is used to advance the clients well-being (2008). For example, if I relate to Helen directly and inform her of a time that I used a negative situation and learned from it. This could aid in restoring the relationship that was distressed. This example could also model similar situation in order to grow. Maintaining an open welcoming environment for Helen will encourage growth and change within the working relationship and her treatment measures.  


McTighe, J. (2011). Teaching the Use of Self through the Process of Clinical Supervision. Clinical Social Work Journal, 39(3), 301–307.

National Association of Social Workers. (2008). Code of ethics of the National Association of social workers. Retrieved from

Response 2

 Nakesha Morgan RE: Discussion 2 – Week 7COLLAPSE

I will remain in a professional tone.   I will inform Helen that I understand her frustration and how the issues may be stressing her out.  I will maintain a professional demeanor by not reacting with body language or change of tone.  I would remain in a the same manner as before Helen became irate.   As a worker in this situation to prevent something like that occurance I would to ensure to look further into the individual whom is recommended for a caregiver.

When it comes to self disclosure I would wait for Helen to calm down and I will state my credentials and training to her and ensure her that my age has noting to do with my position as a worker.   Self disclosure can be used in an appropriate manner when it is used to advance the client’s well being (NASW, 2008).  Maintaining a professional demeanor with a comfortable setting will help the worker/client relationship to better assist with outcomes.  It is important that a client has an environment to express their opinions (McTighe, 2011).

Laureate Education (Producer). (2013c). Petrakis family: Episode 3 [Video file]. Retrieved from

National Association of Social Workers. (2008). Code of ethics of the National Association of social workers. Retrieved from

McTighe, J. (2011). Teaching the Use of Self through the Process of Clinical Supervision. Clinical Social Work Journal, 39(3), 301–307.

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