MSW Degree in Clinical Social Work
Professional and Educational Characteristics
Clinical Social Work Defined by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE)
As a specialty within the practice of social work, clinical social work builds on the professional values, ethics, principles, practice methods, and person-in-the-environment perspective of the profession. It reflects the profession’s mission to promote social and economic justice by empowering clients who experience oppression or vulnerability. Clinical social work requires the professional use of self to restore, maintain, and enhance the biological, psychological, social, and spiritual functioning of individuals, families and groups. The practice of clinical social work requires the application of advanced clinical knowledge and clinical skills in multidimensional assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of psychosocial dysfunction, disability, or impairment including emotional, mental, and behavioral disorders, conditions, and addictions. (CSWE, 2009)
Clinical (social work) practice interventions include case formulation based on differential diagnosis and assessment of risks and vulnerabilities and those factors that produce and constrain the strengths and resilience found in the transactions among people, their communities, and the larger environment. Treatment methods include the provision of individual, family, and group work. Clinical social workers are engaged in crisis intervention, brief and long-term psychotherapy and counseling, client-centered advocacy, consultation, and evaluation. Interventions responsive to all dimensions of diversity are applied within the context of the therapeutic relationship guided by best practices and evidence-based guidelines. Clinical supervision is an important feature of clinical social work in agencies, organizations, and private practice settings.
Social Work Title Protection in Washington State: What is a Social Worker?
RCW Sections 18.320.005, 18.320.010, 18.320.020
“The practice of social work by persons in the public and private sectors improves the lives of many people throughout the state through the application of a broad spectrum of social sciences to enhance the quality of life and develop the full potential of each client..."
“The practice of social work is a complex discipline that, appropriately undertaken, can address client problems, needs, and concerns, with the goal that clients achieve the maximum possible enhancement of their quality of life and develop to their full potential…”
Hye-Kyung Kang, MSW, PhD
Director, Master of Social Work Program
Mary Kay Brennan, MSW, LICSW
Director, Bachelor of Social Work Program
Riva Zeff, MSW
Field Director, MSW Clinical Professor
Kayla Huddleston, MSW
Senior Administrative Assistant