Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


Smith College. School for Social Work-Curricula, Smith College. School for Social Work-Alumni and alumnae-Attitudes, Psychodynamic psychotherapy, Social work education, Mental health personnel-Attitudes, Neutrality, Psychodynamic theory, Psychodynamic education


This study was undertaken to explore the possible relationship between clinicians' training in neutrality at Smith College School for Social Work and their enduring practice ideals with respect to neutrality. Grounded in the theoretical literature regarding models of psychodynamic therapeutic change, this research project sought to describe the role of neutrality in contemporary clinical practice, addressing a gap in comprehensive empirical research on this topic. Research data was collected from 224 alumni who graduated from Smith College School for Social Work (SCSSW) during the past 30 years and are currently practicing in the field of mental health. Participants completed an online survey designed to assess their training in neutrality at SCSSW, factors that have contributed to adaptation of participants' practice stance since graduation, and the role of neutrality in participants' current clinical work. The survey incorporated questions from an established survey measure, as well as questions designed by the researcher. The survey was comprised of demographic questions, 26 Likert-scaled items, and two opportunities for narrative response. The major findings of the research indicate that emphasis on neutrality in the SCSSW curriculum has slightly decreased over the past 30 years. Despite this change, the research indicates that there is no significant correlation between participants' era of graduation and their current attitudes towards neutrality in their work.




vi, 85 p. : col. ill. Thesis (M.S.W.)-Smith College School for Social Work, Northampton, Mass., 2012. Includes bibliographical references (p. 56-60)