Skip to main content

Master of Social Work Program


Direct Practice in Mental Health and Substance Abuse

The Direct Practice in Mental Health and Substance Abuse specialty provides advanced social work students the opportunity to focus on assessment and intervention with those evidencing acute and chronic mental health problems and substance abuse disorders.  Students are trained to diagnose, treat, collaborate on recovery, and advocate for social justice for persons across the life span who have mental and substance abuse disorders, as well as to deliver services and support policies to prevent such disorders.

The Direct Practice in Mental Health and Substance Abuse specialty is offered on-campus, in an online cohort (full and part-time), and through our Fort Worth cohort program.

Direct Practice - Mental Health and Substance Abuse
Advanced Micro Practice SOCW 5311
(Formerly 6325)
Builds on the generalist perspective and the basic familiarity with social work processes (such as problem identification, assessment, contracting, plan implementation, and outcome evaluation) in the context of (1) existing psychosocial intervention modalities, and (2) the particular client characteristics that lend themselves to specific change modalities. Required of all Direct Practice students. Prerequisite: SOCW 5304, SOCW 5310, and SOCW 5551.
Direct Practice in Mental Health and Substance Abuse SOCW 5352
(Formerly 6336)
Focuses on assessment and intervention with those evidencing acute and chronic mental health problems and disabilities. The course addresses the delivery of services to various populations (children, adolescents, and adults), service delivery systems (community mental health, managed behavioral health care), and a wide range of problems. Topics include well-being, ethics, case management, treatment planning, managed care, DSM, PIE, and substance abuse. Co-requisite: SOCW 5311.
Treatment of Addictive Behaviors SOCW 5354
(Formerly 6380)
Surveys major treatment alternatives, showing addictive behavior patterns such as alcohol/drug abuse or eating disorders. Student conducts field research of 12-step programs, practices interventions, and studies inpatient and outpatient treatment methods with emphasis on relapse prevention. Prerequisite: SOCW 5311.
Mental Health Policy SOCW 5353
(Formerly 6319)
Studies programs and policies in the field of mental health. An analytical model is employed in the process of examining critical issues in the mental health arena. Prerequisite: SOCW 5303.
Suggested Electives
Personal Relationships SOCW 5364
(Formerly 6320)
Explores theoretical and empirical data on diverse personal relationships at the follow stages of relationship: initiation, maintenance, and termination. Identifies areas for intervention. This course is also offered as SOCW 4320 in the BSW Program. Prerequisite: SOCW 5301 and SOCW 5317.
Cognitive Behavioral Intervention Strategies SOCW 5356
(Formerly 6350)
Explores the integration of cognitive-behavioral and constructivist intervention methods in the treatment of various problems and clinical populations. The theoretical bases of cognitivism, behaviorism, and constructivism are identified and current issues in cognitive-behavioral and in constructivist methods are addressed. Assessment and interventions taught in this course are drawn from evidence-based practice knowledge and informed practice wisdom. Client strengths and individual empowerment are emphasized in formulating assessment and intervention strategies. Prerequisite: SOCW 5311.
Group Dynamics and Social Work Practice SOCW 5357
(Formerly 6312)
Examines contemporary social-psychological concepts and small group research, with a view to testing their applicability to practice propositions and operational principles, in work with both task and personality satisfaction groups. Co-requisite: SOCW 5311.
Military Social Work SOCW 5355
(Formerly 6364)
The focus of this course is on examining military culture within a diversity framework, considering ethical implications for practice with this culture, comprehending prevalent social and health issues (including the effects of policies and health disparities) for this population, and analyzing current advances in knowledge of the neurobiological underpinnings of human behavior and development pertinent to those issues and to resilience to stress and adversity in this population. Implications for social work practice with individuals, families, groups, programs/organizations, and communities relevant to this population will be identified and evaluated. The implications will be examined in terms of social justice, social work values, knowledge, and skills, as well as in terms of the structural and systematic arrangement and delivery of social welfare services at the micro, mezzo, and macro levels. Co-requisite: SOCW 5311.
Treatment of Children and Adolescents SOCW 5358
(Formerly 6344)
Overview of the literature which describes physical, psychological, and cultural characteristics unique to childhood and adolescence. Attention then turned to treatment principles, and the specification of procedures for the amelioration of problems common to children and adolescents. Co-requisite: SOCW 5311.

PDF Download: Direct Practice in Mental Health and Substance Abuse Degree Plan

Direct Practice in Mental Health and Substance Abuse flyer