Real World Clinical Social Work
Find Your Voice and Find Your Way
by Dr. Danna R. Bodenheimer, LCSW
Social work graduate school is only the beginning of your preparation for professional life in the real world as a clinical social worker. Dr. Danna Bodenheimer serves as a mentor or a supportive supervisor as she shares practice wisdom on topics such as thinking clinically, developing a theoretical orientation, considering practice settings, and coping with money issues. She addresses the importance of supervision and how to use it wisely. A frank discussion on the important and rarely-talked-about issue of loving one’s client is followed by a practical look at next steps—post-graduate options and finding your life’s work in clinical social work. Altogether, Real World Clinical Social Work will serve to empower you as you find your own voice, your own way, and your own professional identity.
Foreword by Lina Hartocollis 9
Preface—What Do We Have Here? 13
PART 1—THINKING CLINICALLY
Chapter 1—Introduction: The Story of Rita 23
Chapter 2—The Lens of Clinical Social Work 27
PART 2—GETTING YOUR THEORETICAL GROOVE ON
Chapter 3—Thinking About Theory 45
Chapter 4—Object Relations 49
Chapter 5—Ego Psychology 57
Chapter 6—Self Psychology 67
Chapter 7—Cognitive Behavioral Therapy 71
Chapter 8—Burning Questions and Case Conceptualization 79
PART 3—PRACTICAL CONSIDERATIONS
Chapter 9—The Settings 103
Chapter 10—Money, Money, Money 117
PART 4—PRACTICE MATTERS
Chapter 11—Making Use of Supervision 135
Chapter 12—If I Had Known Then: Adventures From
the First Years 151
Chapter 13—What If I Love My Clients? 173
PART 5—THINKING AHEAD
Chapter 14—What’s Next? Post-Graduate Options 197
Chapter 15—Your Life’s Work: What Is Enough? 209
About the Author 223
What People Are Saying
[From the Foreword] Picking up where MSW programs leave off, she guides the reader on a wild and wonderful tour of clinical social work practice—everything the conscientious, committed, well trained social worker needs to know.... Using powerful case examples and a series of carefully crafted questions, this book challenges readers to think broadly and deeply about their own social work practice and identity. It is an invaluable companion for beginning social workers and educators alike.
Lina Hartocollis, Ph.D., LCSW
Dean of Students, Director, Doctorate in Clinical Social Work Program
University of Pennsylvania School of Social Policy & Practice
Reading Danna Bodenheimer’s Real World Clinical Social Work: Find Your Voice and Find Your Way is like spending a weekend in a wonderful candid conversation with many of our favorite theorists! While sharing her own perspectives and experiences, Bodenheimer invites us to reflect on topics as far-ranging as the essential components of the different modalities we can use in assessing and addressing client needs to identifying the elements that are critical to both the effectiveness of our professional practice and the sustenance of our personal lives. In language that is accessible, oftentimes metaphoric, and yet not at all simplistic, this book also introduces us to some of the clinical experiences of clients and therapists through an interweaving of their stories and theories. Just prior to presenting us with a thoughtful array of “post graduate options” for further learning and development, Bodenheimer explores the dimensions and dilemmas associated with still-controversial subjects like clients’ transference and clinicians’ countertransference, including feelings of love. Whether just entering the world of a master’s-prepared social worker or having spent decades as an agency-based or private practitioner, an educator, or an administrator in the social services, spending time with Real World Clinical Social Work is a real gift to yourself and everyone you serve.
Darlyne Bailey, Ph.D, ACSW, LISW
Dean, Professor, and MSS Program Director
Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research, Bryn Mawr College
As students graduate from our MSW program, they often express a mix of excitement and anticipation about beginning social work practice. They almost always wonder, “Am I ready to do this work?” Dr. Bodenheimer’s book is a wonderful bridge for new graduates as they move from the support of graduate education and agency supervision to independent practitioners. Using years of teaching and astute practice experience, she provides continued education, support, and clinical insight. While grounded solidly in practice theory, Dr. Bodenheimer guides practitioners to find their own practice wisdom and style that is so essential to the social work profession. No doubt, new social workers will find this an accessible, practical primer...and a life raft for embarking on the profession!
Anne Marcus Weiss, LSW, MSW
Director of Field Education
University of Pennsylvania
School of Social Policy & Practice
Danna Bodenheimer has written an insider’s guide to clinical social work that doesn’t make the reader feel like an outsider. This book is the clinical supervisor you always wanted to have: brilliant yet approachable, professional yet personal, grounded and practical, yet steeped in theory, and challenging you to dig deeper.
Jonathan B. Singer, Ph.D., LCSW
Associate Professor of Social Work
Loyola University Chicago
Founder and Host, Social Work Podcast
It is nearly impossible to begin a career as a budding clinical social worker without the accompaniment of a variably loud inner voice that says, “You have no idea what you are doing.” Dr. Bodenheimer befriends the beginning clinician with this incredibly personable and accessible book and says, “Sure, you do.” Dr. Bodenheimer uses herself as a vehicle for connection with the reader, and she speaks directly to that inner voice with compassion, understanding, and guidance.
Cara Segal, Ph.D.
Smith College School for Social Work, faculty
Private Practitioner, Northampton, MA
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dr. Danna Bodenheimer, LCSW, lives and works in Philadelphia, PA. After leaving New York City in 2004, she had no idea that love for another city was possible. But working and living as a social worker in Philadelphia has demonstrated, for her, the beauty of her city.
Danna graduated from Smith College, earning her bachelor’s degree in Women’s Studies. After wholeheartedly planning on attending a Ph.D. program in psychology, going so far as to get her post-baccalaureate degree in psychology from Columbia University, Danna discovered the intricate beauty and possibility that social work offers. Turning down psychology programs to receive her MSW from Smith College, and returning to her educational roots in Northampton, Danna found her clinical self. After completing two internships in Philadelphia, one in a partial day treatment program and another at a school for psychoanalysis, Danna began her career at the Tuttleman Counseling Center at Temple University.
Three years later, while in the middle of her doctoral studies at the University of Pennsylvania, where she received her DSW, Danna began a teaching career and her own private practice. Having taught at Rutgers, Temple, and the University of Pennsylvania, Danna has settled into teaching at Bryn Mawr’s Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research. She teaches clinical practice and classes on gender and sexuality. Danna is now the head of the Walnut Psychotherapy Center, a trauma-informed outpatient setting that she founded, specializing in the treatment of the LGBTQ population.
Danna spends her time supervising, practicing psychotherapy, teaching, and consulting. She is the mother of two amazing young boys and lives in Philadelphia with her wife. She uses Philadelphia as a landscape to study issues of oppression, intersecting identities, and complex socioeconomic struggle.
Danna received the 2011-2012 Award for Excellence in Teaching from the University of Pennsylvania. She was also selected as a fellow for the American Psychoanalytic Association for 2012-2013. She is a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW) in Pennsylvania.