Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


Social work education-Psychological aspects, Social workers-Psychology, Self-Social aspects, Self psychology, Self-actualization (Psychology), Interpersonal relations-Psychological aspects, Psychotherapists-Psychology, Impact clinical social work education


The purpose of this study was to explore, by way of first-hand accounts of recent graduates from clinical social work master's programs, the impact of clinical social work education and training on the self and on personal relationships of those who go through the education and training process. Ten participants answered a series of open-ended questions providing the opportunity to gather rich accounts of participants' personal experiences, and to extract themes that may not have been brought to light in previous research. Major findings were that most participants experienced self-reported personal growth as a result of their clinical social work education, while some participants also experienced the process of social work education as internally stressful or as causing stress for their relationships or to their relating to others. The outliers for this study were those participants who commented that clinical social work education had a minimal impact on their personal development or on their relationships to others in their personal lives. Most participants also commented on personal psychotherapy being a valuable support and learning tool for them both personally and professionally. Given that there has been a lack of studies collecting narrative data on the personal impact of clinical social work education on students or recent graduates, future research in this area is needed in order to gather a larger number of voices on the subject at hand. This would increase the awareness of clinical social work students and educators regarding common areas of enhancement or interference in the self and relating to others that research subjects attribute to clinical social work education and training, and this would be of value to the field of clinical social work.




iii, 59 p. Thesis (M.S.W.)--Smith College School for Social Work, Northampton, Mass., 2009. Includes bibliographical references (p. 50-51)