Interpersonal Practice Concentration

Interpersonal Practice (IP) Concentration

The IP Concentration prepares students for advanced interpersonal practice with individuals, families, and groups within diverse community contexts.  Interpersonal Practice entails an emphasis on transactions between people and environments but also includes the broader spectrum of advanced, direct social work practice activities that extend beyond the traditional parameters of a strictly clinical focus.

The IP Concentration is maintained and developed by the Practice Committee, a subcommittee of the Curriculum Committee.  The Practice Committee is composed of full-time faculty members with teaching assignments in the IP curriculum.  Students and part-time faculty members serve on the Practice Committee on an ad hoc basis.  The Practice Committee Chair administers the IP program and chairs Practice Committee meetings.

The IP Concentration's framework is further shaped by specific educational objectives that guide students to develop practice knowledge and skill in the following areas: (a) the promotion and enhancement of psychological, social, and biological well-being; (b) the amelioration of psychological, social, and biological dysfunction; and (c) the integration of theory, practice,and research knowledge.

The IP Concentration organizes and implements this broad framework through several curricula components: conceptual premises; organizing concepts; complementary classroom and field education; and a methods-based approach for practice with individuals, families, and/or small groups.  These components are encoded in a set of educational objectives and an evaluation structure that measures and monitors the targeted outcomes of the IP Concentration.

Other components of the IP Concentration are crucial to the implementation and operationalization of the above conceptual framework.  First, methods such as individual therapy and casework, family-centered practice, and group work, as well as advocacy, networking, and brokering are used in advanced IP practice.  Second, the concentration systematically employs a range of evaluative activities to maintain compliance with CSWE standards, the mission of the School, and the standards of quality and educational competencies espoused by the concentration's philosophy and objectives. Third, the knowledge and skills related to such approaches are enriched by the IP Concentration's integration of a professional and social science knowledge base comprising theories, methods, and processes of human development, problems, and change processes. The IP Concentration's content is designed to accommodate students who participate in the School's Full-time, Extended study (on and off campus), or Advanced-standing programs.

A variety of certificate programs, including Holistic Health, Alcohol and Substance Abuse, and School Social Work, augment the above framework and its implementation.  Students can develop a learning focus in other tailor-made specializations through the creative use of internships and electives, as well as the knowledge, skills, and experience of faculty and community-based professionals.  Emphasis is also placed on developing skills and knowledge in the area of practitioner safety.

To support the development of advanced and integrated skills and knowledge, all practice courses include one or more of the following: role playing, audio and video recordings, training films, communication exercises, small group learning, in-class demonstrations, outside lecturers, community-based activities and field trips.





Demonstrate advanced knowledge and skill in assessments, evaluations and interventions with individuals, families, and small groups.

Demonstrate knowledge and skill of the impact of coping and adaptive capacities on the psycho-social-biological functioning of clients.

Demonstrate advanced social work practice knowledge and skill in the application of social work values and ethics with individuals, families and small groups.

Demonstrate knowledge and skill in applying a bio-psycho-social-cultural perspective, in a life-span context, in social work practice with individuals, families and small groups.

Demonstrate the ability to apply individual, family and small group practice skills within a variety of organizational settings and under a variety of auspices.

Demonstrate knowledge and skill in conducting social work with special populations such as the developmentally disabled, frail elderly, incest survivors, abused or neglected children, and persons with AIDS or other chronic illness.

Demonstrate knowledge of human diversity, including variations in culture, ethnicity, mores, values, religion, sexual orientation, social or economic status and lifestyle, in interpersonal practice skills.

Demonstrate the ability to apply research- and empirically-grounded processes to assess and evaluate practice frameworks, strategies and outcomes in social work practice with individuals, families, and small groups.

Assess and evaluate the impact of social, agency and family policy on social work practice with individuals, families, and small groups.

Demonstrate a commitment to and an integration of the principles of empowerment, a strengths perspective, and advocacy, with an emphasis on social work with clients of every ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion and class, and especially those in the grips of poverty and various forms of racial, economic, and social oppression and inequality.

Demonstrate a critical understanding of supervisory functions and roles in social work.