Denver Family Institute and GSSW

As many of you may have noticed, GSSW offers tons of ways for you to customize your MSW degree. These offerings are there in conjunction to the multitude of internship opportunities to give you specialized knowledge in areas that you are interested in practicing once you have graduated.

A list of certificates can be found at:

I specifically have been interested in the Animal Assisted Social Work Certificate. That is what I came to DU to pursue. Little did I know that I could also go after another certificate (not all will allow you to do two, so please check to see if your interest allows you to go after two certificates). After spending a lot of time in the classroom and time in the field I have decided that Families and Couples are my favorite population. They are who I want to work with in a clinical setting after graduation. DU’s joint program with Denver Family Institute (DFI)  is a great way to get additional specialized training and intense supervision in that particular area. This last weekend I spent 6 hours on Saturday interviewing for the few slots they hold open for GSSW students. Luckily, I got one!!

This means that during my concentration year I will be taking classes at DU and at DFI. I will have two sets of supervision each week and will be working directly with clients, honing my skills as a couples and family therapist. When I am done with my classes at DFI (one day a week for an additional year after GSSW graduation). I will have all the classes required to take the LMFT exam (Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist) along with hours clocked toward my LCSW (Licensed Clinical Social Worker). Talk about kill two birds with one stone. I am beyond thrilled!

If you have an interest in working with couples and families, I urge you to look into the DFI/DU program offered here at GSSW. It is a unique learning experience that adds focus and richness to your educational experience at GSSW!

Visit DFI’s Website here:

Happy Trails!



DU Health and Counseling Center

For the past 2 weeks I have, unfortunately, been battling with a nasty cold.  Lucky for me, the DU Health and Counseling Center (HCC) has been extremely helpful in getting me back to my normal, healthy self.

As a graduate student, you have four options in regards to health care (you can check them out at the following link:  I have chosen “Option 1” which includes the Health & Counseling Fee (HCF) as well as the Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP).  By choosing this option, I have been able to go to the HCC as many times as I have needed to, free of charge.  I also have not had to pay out of pocket for any medications or lab testing.  Depending on the health care option you choose, the cost to see a medical provider or counselor will be different (it is very inexpensive if you do have HCF or SHIP though).

The HCC is also very convenient–it is located on campus and they offer same day appointments.  So if you wake up feeling extremely sick and need to see a doctor, you are able to call or go online and make an appointment for that day.  They also offer counseling services, including individual psychiatric services, substance abuse assessments, and group counseling.  I would strongly urge you, as prospective and admitted students, to consider signing up for either the HCF, SHIP, or both and to make use of them as much as you can while you are a student here.  For more information, visit their webpage at

Track / Certificate / Program Information Sessions 2011 part 2 (VIDEO)

The following track / certificate / program information sessions are intended for students as they plan their concentration for the academic year 2011-2012.  Requirements and specific offerings change from year to year, so always check your student handbook for accurate information.
Continue reading “Track / Certificate / Program Information Sessions 2011 part 2 (VIDEO)”

2nd Quarter Internship

My field placement experience has changed drastically since first quarter.  The work I did at my adoption agency during my first quarter seemed mundane and pointless.  I rarely felt like the was contributing to the agency or being of value.  That’s now all changed!

After receiving training in early December to complete SAFE Home Studies, Continue reading “2nd Quarter Internship”

Self Care

Self care may be the most important and hardest thing you MUST learn to do as a social worker.  Personally, I learned to do it while holding down a full time job; however, doing it as a student has been rather challenging.  Each quarter I’ve set the goal to work out 4-5 days per week for at least one hour per day.  The first quarter I did well for 6 weeks before the pressure of schoolwork overcame my motivation to get up and to the gym at 5 am.  As the second quarter starts, I’ve recruited a fellow student who also has made a commitment to herself to stay in the gym.  Together, we’ve set a work out schedule and have promised to motivate each other to keep going.

Self care doesn’t have to come in the form of working out or physical activity.  Self care means different things for each person.  Other students practice yoga, walk, have dinner/drinks with friends, go to movies, visit the mountains (perfect time of year for snow shoeing, skiing and snowboarding), museums, concerts, etc.

Self care is instrumental in your success as a social worker.  As “helpers” we sometimes forget to care for ourselves–learn to be your top priority!  Caring for yourself allows you to care for others in a more meaningful and energized way, creates balance in your life and renews your spirit.

Behind the Mirror

One of my favorite aspects of the academic experience at GSSW is the opportunities for pragmatic practice that our professors incorporate into the classroom.  Theories and frameworks for social work are of course integral and necessary, but at the end of the day, I believe I take more away from practice than theory.  Many of my professors feel the same way.  For example, as the culminating project of my Family Systems Theories class last quarter, we were divided into groups and had to demonstrate a particular style of therapy.  The four therapeutic styles we demonstrated were Solution Focused, Brief Strategic, Structural, and Bowenian.  Each group spent roughly 30 minutes behind our one-way mirror system in the classroom, engaging in a mock therapy session.  Each group attempted to demonstrate the specific skills of their assigned therapeutic style for the rest of the class to observe – such as the use of exception questions for Solution Focused therapy.  The one-way mirror system allowed observing students to discuss the mock session in real time as well as take notes.  It was a fantastic way to put our knowledge of theory into action and I am looking forward to similar experiences in the subsequent quarters.