psychodynamic psychotherapyFor most vignette questions on the social work licensing exam where a client presents with a problem and the social worker needs to choose the BEST intervention, you'll be given a choice between something here-and-now, problem-solving, and practical and something else: psychodynamic psychotherapy.  As discussed in previous posts, the correct answer for exam is almost always going to be the here-and-now, problem-solving, practical intervention, usually CBT or a variation on CBT (e.g., exposure therapy or DBT), not psychodynamic therapy. Why? Basically, because that's where the research points. CBT is all about evidence--evidence that challenges client's irrational thoughts, evidence that establishes the effectiveness of the treatment. Psychodynamic psychotherapy by it's nature doesn't necessarily lend itself to the same type of research and evidence building. It's the Beck Depression Inventory, not the [Name Your Favorite Psychodynamic Theorist] Depression Inventory.

That doesn't mean you can skip knowing about psychodynamic theory and practice when preparing for the social work exam. Chances are, it'll be on there. Maybe not as the correct answer in a "which intervention" question, but there are plenty of other ways for examination writers to test the depth of your social work knowledge. One example: "A social worker using psychodynamic psychotherapy sees a client with such-and-such symptoms. Which intervention is the social worker MOST likely to use?" The answers may be full of good interventions from CBT. "Challenge automatic negative thoughts," say. But that's not psychodynamic, and it's not the right answer here. Needless to say, reading the question carefully is usually a good idea!

What's psychodynamic psychotherapy all about? You probably covered it in school at least a little. But here are some handy places on the web to get better acquainted with the basics:

That's a start. Should be plenty, but there's lots more free info on the topic all over the net. Happy reading, and good luck on the exam!


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May 3, 2014
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