Clinical Social Work Journal

, Volume 20, Issue 1, pp 89–98 | Cite as

The social worker as psychoanalyst

  • Richard M. Alperin
  • Barbara C. Hollman


This paper examines the development of social workers as psychoanalysts to determine whether psychoanalysis is a legitimate function of social work. Historically, social work has found psychoanalytic theory helpful. However, it is generally understood that for the caseworker to competently practice psychoanalytic psychotherapy, advanced training is necessary. Although many social workers have availed themselves of this opportunity, the profession continues to believe that the practice of psychoanalysis is incompatible with social work. This is based upon an inaccurate conception of psychoanalysis. Since the social work psychoanalyst is concerned with the client's adaptation to the environment, his or her practice can easily be defined as clinical social work.


Social Work Advanced Training Clinical Social Work Psychoanalytic Theory Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Alperin, R.M. (1977). Social work has a problem: A psychosocial study.Clinical Social Work Journal 5(2), 149–159.Google Scholar
  2. American Board of Examiners (1989).1989/90 diplomate directory. Silver Springs, MD: American Board of Examiners in Clinical Social Work.Google Scholar
  3. Austin, L. (1948). Trends in differential treatment in social casework.Journal of Social Casework, 29, 203–211.Google Scholar
  4. Austin, L. (1956). Qualifications for psychotherapists, social caseworkers.American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 26, 47–57.Google Scholar
  5. Borenzweig, H. (1974). Social work and psychoanalytic theory: A historical analysis. In P.E. Weinberger (Ed.),Perspectives on social welfare, an introductory anthology (2nd ed., pp. 97–109), New York: Macmillan Publishing Co.Google Scholar
  6. Chrzanowski, G. (1977).Interpersonal approach to psychoanalysis. New York: Gardner Press.Google Scholar
  7. Committee on Psychoanalysis, National Federation of Societies for Clinical Social Work (1984). Psychoanalytic training for clinical social workers: A position paper.Clinical Social Work Journal, 12(1), 85–88.Google Scholar
  8. Fine, R. (1979).The history of psychoanalysis. New Jersey. Jason Aronson, Inc.Google Scholar
  9. Freud, S. (1961). Formulations on the two principles of mental functioning. In J. Strachey (Ed. and Trans.),The standard edition of the complete psychological works of Sigmund Freud (Vol. 12, pp. 218–226), London: Hogarth Press, (Original work published 1911.)Google Scholar
  10. Freud, S. (1961). Lines of advance in psycho-analytic therapy. In J. Strachey (Ed. and Trans),The standard edition of the complete psychological works of Sigmund Freud (Vol. 17, pp. 159–168). London. Hogarth Press. (Original work published 1918.)Google Scholar
  11. Germain, C. (December 1978). General-systems theory and ego psychology: An ecological perspective.Social Service Review, 536–549.Google Scholar
  12. Germain, C. (1979).Social work practice: People and environment. New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  13. Germain, C. & Gitterman, A. (1980).The life model of social work practice. New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  14. Goldstein, E. (1984).Ego psychology and social work practice. New York: The Free Press.Google Scholar
  15. Greenberg, J., & Mitchell, S. (1983),Objects relations in psychoanalytic theory Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  16. Hamilton G. (1949). Psychoanalytically oriented casework and its relation to psychotherapy.American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 19, 209–223.Google Scholar
  17. Hellenbrand, S.C. (1972). Freud's influence on social casework.Bulletin of the Menninger Clinic, 36(4), 407–418.Google Scholar
  18. Hollis, F., & Woods, M. (1981).Casework: A psychosocial therapy, New York: Random House.Google Scholar
  19. Holt, R. (1971). Summary and prospect: The dawn of a new profession. In R.R. Holt (Ed.),New horizon for psychotherapy: Autonomy as a profession (pp. 312–411). New York: International Universities Press, Inc.Google Scholar
  20. Lubove, R. (1969).The professional altruist. New York: Harvard Press.Google Scholar
  21. Meyer, C. (1976).Social work practice, New York: Free Press.Google Scholar
  22. Perlman, H.H. (1957).Social casework: A problem solving process, Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  23. Phillips, D. (1975). The swing toward clinical practice.Social Work, 61–63.Google Scholar
  24. Richmond, M. (1922),What is social casework? New York: Russell Sage Foundation.Google Scholar
  25. Rowe, C. (1975). Report of an evaluation of advanced training institutes and programs by members of the New York State Society of Clinical Social Workers, Newsletter of the New York State Society of Clinical Social Workers (also abstracted in “News of the Societies, New York State Society”).Clinical Social Work Journal, 3, 230–231.Google Scholar
  26. Shaffer, J. (1968). Paradigmatic psychotherapy and the low-income patient. In M. Nelson, B. Nelson, M. Sherman & H. Strean (Eds.),Roles and paradigms in psychotherapy (pp. 249–263). New York. Grune & Stratton.Google Scholar
  27. Spezzano, C. (1990). A history of psychoanalytic training for psychologists in the United States. In M. Meisels, & E. Shapiro (Eds.),Trandition and innovation in psychoanalytic education (pp. 63–76). Hillside, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Assoc.Google Scholar
  28. Strean, H. (1978).Clinical social work: Theory and practice. New York: Free Press.Google Scholar
  29. Strean, H. (1979).Psychoanalytic theory and social work practice. New York: Free Press.Google Scholar
  30. Strean, H. (1990). Personal communication.Google Scholar
  31. Wineburgh, M. (1990). Personal communication.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Human Sciences Press, Inc 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard M. Alperin
    • 1
  • Barbara C. Hollman
    • 1
  1. 1.Teaneck

Personalised recommendations