Dec 10, 2010
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Hello,

This is my first post. I have done a search but didn't see much on Fordham University. I am hoping that someone can share information with me about the program. I also have a few questions about my career goals and the SW profession- in terms of making sure that my goals are appropriate for the field.

I have heard good things about Fordham but I was wondering if anyone could speak to whether or not they have a good clinical focus? My mentor recommended that I apply and I did (my decision should be coming any day now) but I still have some questions before I commit to that school. I am entering the field from a liberal arts undergraduate degree and while I have worked in the 'helping professions' I am not entirely sure what I should be looking for in terms of clinical training. While I understand that case management and administrative work will be unavoidable, I really don't want to end up doing that full time. Ideally, I'd like to be doing therapy as much as possible. It doesn't necessarily have to be totally individual therapy, I'd also like to do group therapy and family therapy as well.

I am also an artist (visual art, creative writing and drama) and would like to gain additional training/ certification to incorporate that into clinical practice. I have enjoyed using art to help domestic violence survivors, abused children and children with ptsd. However, I really felt that while it was beneficial to them, I would have been of more service if I could provide therapeutic interventions as well. I know that art therapy is a field of its own but I don't want to do that to the point that it would be my entire career focus, I imagine it as more of an additional tool in my toolbox if you will. Right now my plan is to complete the MSW (hopefully in a program with a strong clinical focus). Then, once I'm done I plan to seek additional psycho-therapy training but I'm not sure of what that should be or where I could/should get it. I do plan to gain certification in art therapy, which will be an additional 24 credits in that field specifically after I earn the MSW. I am looking at SW as opposed to psychology or the other 2 year practitioner degrees because of its strong social justice focus. I do a lot of social justice work and would like to build a career providing a range of services for disadvantaged populations- including psychotherapy, resource navigation, and coaching to help patients improve their lives. Are those goals aligned well with the profession. Also Fordham seems to offer a great deal of autonomy in selecting internship placements. I would also like ANY suggestions that you guys might have as to what type of placements I should select. There are 2 one year placements (one for the first generalist year and one for the second clinical year). What type of placements (such as hospital, mental health center, etc.) should I be trying to secure?

I realize that this got pretty long, and I appreciate anyone who takes the time to read it and any information that you can provide.

Mari
 
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OP
M
Dec 10, 2010
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Hi,

I see that this thread has gotten lots of views but no responses :(. If no one has any advice or answers about my questions, are there any resources that you would suggest that may be helpful for me to try to find them myself. I have been researching different things on the NASW website and asking around but I am really at a loss for where I should be looking to find the answers to my questions. The thread about clinical programs has been helpful, but there doesn't seem to be any information at all about people's opinions or experience with Fordham. Also, I asked about ways to advance/strengthen therapy skills as well. It is quite surprising that with so many people posting here about doing therapy and wanting to go into private practice that no one has anything to say about what types of training, internships and post grad experiences would be helpful to develop advanced therapy skills. Does that indicate that apart from your programs you guys don't have a need or desire to learn more about therapy?

Mari
 

slinger

5+ Year Member
Jan 5, 2010
73
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Resident [Any Field]
Sorry that no one has responded. I took the below quote form the Fordham SW page. Notice how small the section is on Clinical Focus, now they just might not have elaborated enough. I would call and find the names of the core clinical courses. If it looks something like:
Psychotherapy 600 with individuals
Psychotherapy 601 with families
Psychotherapy 602 with groups
Assessment and Diagnosis using the DSM 603
Psychopharmacology 650
etc etc......

EDIT--The above listed classes would be a strong indication of an excellent clinical program.

I wouldn't consider it to be an extremely strong clinical focus. Shop around and ask for their course structure. Look at the history of the department, how long has the MSW program been in place. Read the bio's of the professors, where did they come from? Ultimately they create and influence the program greatly. Since you are entering the field without a BSW, you will do a 2 year (assuming you go full-time) Masters program. Bear in mind, all CSWE approved MSW programs have 2 internships.

The first is considered your generalist, and your first year of study has all the macro generalist stuff (policy, ethics, advocacy, diversity, etc, etc). Generally, the 2nd year is more clinical in focus (assuming they have a strong clinical program). The program I attended is purely clinical, and they do nothing else.

You need to realize that case management will be a part of your job (unless you do nothing but private practice later on in life). You may do psychotherapy, but if there is case management to be done, the SW will be the one doing it (call it, supportive therapy :) I recommend you do your 2nd year (clinical) year MSW placement at a VA hospital. Not because that is what I am doing, but because that the VA does not operate like managed care with typical billing practices. This gives you, the student, free roaming capabilities. You are able to form your own therapy groups (including art therapy). Test your methods, and develop your practice, without some business manager coming down saying that "we can't have a student doing this, because we can't bill for it".

I am not too privy on art therapy certifications. You might consider joining the NASW (through their website), once you get into the program. They offer free consultation for SW.

"Concentration and Specialization:
At the Advanced level, students choose an area of practice in which to concentrate and a field placement that coincides with that concentration. Clinical track students learn advanced theories of practice with individuals, families and small groups. Students in the Macro Practice (Administration) concentration study organizational aspects of social work institutions, policy planning and implementation and supervision. Client Centered Management, part of the Macro practice area, provides students with knowledge of and practice in both Clinical and Administrative social work. Students in the Research concentration learn how to conduct social work research on projects that advance professional knowledge. At the Advanced level students choose electives that fit their interests and special skills. Fordham also offers specializations in specific fields of practice: Children & Families; Substance Abuse; Social Work and Law; Older Persons and their Families and Global Service. These offer the opportunity for Advanced students, no matter what their concentrations, to build knowledge and practice skills in an area in which they may be developing their careers."


 
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OP
M
Dec 10, 2010
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Slinger, I truly appreciate you taking the time to respond to my questions! Your feedback was invaluable and has definitely assisted me on what steps I should take to research the program. I also appreciate your recommendation for my second internship to be at a VA hospital. The experience that you described is precisely that which I am hoping for in my training. I will call Fordham on Monday to find out the names of the clinical courses.

Thank you again for your time and assistance.

Mari
 

JP West

7+ Year Member
Jul 26, 2009
58
1
Status
Psychology Student
Mari,

I suggest you call the program and ask to speak with some current students about how many hours per week they spend in the field providing direct, mental health interventions with clients before internship, and what sites accept them.

Whatever the program's requirements, NYC has tons of opportunities for field experience. Some programs have a course called "externship" or something similar that can be taken more than once, for a small fee. This lets you have a field placement of your choice on your own time, while officially linking it to your educational program, for accountability and insurance reasons.
 
Dec 8, 2009
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NYU and Hunter are the two most clinical programs in NYC. If you are in-state, Hunter is 3-4x cheaper.
 
Apr 12, 2010
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Non-Student
I'm not sure if you are still looking for advice at this point but I’ll give what i can. This is my experience and opinion so you can take it for what it’s worth. Please excuse the grammar and spelling. I’m a tired grad student.

I am a current first year student in Fordham's MSW program. I came into social work after years of working in a totally different industry for about 10 years so I am older than you and career-changers.

As a previous poster mentioned, NYU and Hunter have reputations for being "clinical". Hunter is cheap for in state and still reasonable for out-of-state and is very competitive.

It came down to NYU and Fordham for me. I was really attracted to the name of NYU and their clinical focus. I really liked Fordham's size, price (compared to other private schools and out-of-state tuition) and their very flexible schedule. I talked with staff and MSW graduates of the local NJ and NY schools for more info.

NYU was very serious about their clinical focus when I attended their information session and they repeated it many times. I knew two people who attended NYU. One person loved it but he attended about 40 years ago. The other person who attended more recently thought NYU was too focused on clinical SW (psychoanalysis specifically) and produced very one-dimensional and therefore unprepared social workers.

I chose Fordham because they have clinical SW in addition to policy, research and advocacy. They have a big program with lots of classes on two campuses which offers me nice flexibility. Everyone I talked to had great things to say about the program. I really felt that Fordham's staff took their role in shaping the future of social work through MSW education seriously and were extremely open for questions at any time.

I am in my first year with a clinical focus. As mentioned by a previous poster, the first year requirements in any MSW program are very general and standardized across accredited schools. The majority of my classmates are clinical and the professors know it. Three fourths of my professors this and last semester came from clinical practice. My adviser is a Fordham MSW grad and has a full time private practice.

My placement is in a homeless advocacy center and is primarily case management. My supervisor, however, came from private practice and she brings this to my supervision because she knows i want to do clinical SW. The first year placement is a totally crap shoot while the 2nd year is specialized toward your focus. I work with students from Hunter and Rutgers they like their respective schools. I know at NYU you have a bit of choice in your first yr placements.

If you can't tell, I love Fordham and I am very happy with my choice, especially after talking with students from other schools. Not that I think other schools are great, I just know that Fordham is the best fit for me personally. And by the way, despite their clinical designation, the two students i know at Hunter consider it to be very policy focused.