Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


Social work education, Social workers-Training of, Experiential learning, Psychotherapists-Training of, Here-and-now, Student therapist, Therapist trainee, Classroom enactment


Here-and-now learning, also called experiential learning, holds a tenuous place in the curricula of graduate level social work programs. Students are not required to participate in experiential training groups and have few elective opportunities to do so. Though conscious awareness about things such as socio-location and environment is emphasized throughout social work academic programs, increasing one's awareness of unconscious aspects of self and other is not explicitly encouraged. However, recent trends in contemporary psychoanalytic theory point to the processing of the therapeutic relationship as the main mechanism of client change and to the therapist's subjectivity as having an importance equal to the client's in co-creating the therapeutic relationship. This suggests that future clinicians will need to be skilled at working in the uncertain and fluid realm of the here-and-now relationship, the place where examination of unconscious material relating to interpersonal interaction is most likely to be productive. By looking at how the field of education conceives of experiential learning, I determine some critical aspects of learning and apply them to the social work practice classroom. I also review the psychoanalytic here-and-now across theoretical orientations to determine the urgency of training future therapists in the here-and-now. It was found that while here-and-now work has been relevant since Freud, contemporary frameworks compel the capable use of a here-and-now focus more than ever. Case material is used to illustrate the deeply subjective, emotional and spontaneous nature of the here-and-now practice classroom.




iii, 70 pages. Thesis (M.S.W.)-Smith College School for Social Work, 2014. Includes bibliographical references (pages 62-70)