Clinical Social Work Journal

, Volume 43, Issue 3, pp 263–273 | Cite as

What Clinical Social Workers Need to Know: Bio-psycho-social Knowledge and Skills for the Twenty First Century

  • Joan BerzoffEmail author
  • James Drisko
Original Paper


In this paper, we define clinical social work and the current context of practice. We then discuss social work education, the changes we have noted in the last 10–15 years, including those that have been detrimental to clinical social work training. Most prominent are the de-emphasis of supervision and of psychodynamic theories and practice. Next, we define what we see as essential knowledge and skills for training future clinical social workers. We speculate on what future mental health service needs may be and argue for maintaining a biopsychosocial, and psychodynamic perspective in training and in the practice of clinical social work.


Future of clinical social work Psychodynamic theory Biopsychosocial knowledge and skills Social work education 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Smith College School for Social WorkNorthamptonUSA

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