Friday, February 27, 2015

DSM-5 and the Social Work Exam

It's 2015, the year that exam preppers bid adieu to DSM-IV-TR. Which version of the DSM should you be studying? Depends upon when you're taking the exam. The BBS in California has already switched to DSM-5. Everyone else, taking the ASWB exam, waits till July for the big switch. After July, it's all DSM-5 all the time for social work licensing test takers.

So, if you're going to be ready soon to take the big test, how to proceed? Should you get the exam over with using DSM-IV-TR, which you may already have a decent handle on from putting it to use in practice? Or should you delay your exam till July, learn DSM-5, and move forward, licensed and versed in the latest manual.


It's a question you'll have to answer for yourself. Seems it would depend upon your particular time pressure, planned study duration, and other personal details. It's not a one-size-fits-all situation. It may help you to browse DSM-5 changes--what really is are the differences?

Here are some good places to begin to get a sense of what's what:
Whatever you choose, good luck studying, and good luck with the exam!

Monday, January 26, 2015

The Stages of Change and the Social Work Exam

The Stages of Change are pretty likely to show up on the social work licensing exam. They're probably already turning up in your licensing exam prep. Where are you in your quest for licensure? Here are the Stages of Change applied to the exam-prep process.

--Precontemplation (Not ready for change): Not thinking about the social work exam. Can't be, you're reading this!

--Contemplation (Getting ready for change): Poking around the edges of exam prep, unsure. Could be you!

--Preparation (Ready for change; sometimes called "Determination"): Change is coming soon. Reading a blog or two, checking out different social work exam programs, etc.

--Action (Like it sounds): Underway studying, taking practice exams...on it.

--Maintenance (Sustained action): Continuing action as test day approaches. If that's you, congratulations! It's only a matter of time...

For more on the Stages of Change, here's some reading and listening.
 Good luck on progressing through your exam-prep stages and good luck on the exam!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Social Media and Social Work

Imagine you're an exam item writer. You've got to generate a certain number of questions and answers on a deadline. You take a break and check your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. You return to your work and think, what should I write this next question about? Maybe social work and social media!

This scenario doesn't have to ring true for it to be worth your time to give some thought to the intersection of social media and social work. How can social workers best navigate all the newish decisions regarding relationships with client outside of the professional space. What information is okay to include in email? How do you respond if a client asks to be friends on Facebook? Or a former client wants to connect on LinkedIn? What if that former client regularly refers people to the social worker's practice? What if a client writes a review on Yelp that includes criticism of the social worker never mentioned in session?

Knowing how to respond to these questions is tricky, whether they come up in real life or on the social work licensing exam. Happily--though the NASW Code of Ethics hasn't directly addressed social media issues as of this writing--there is reading and listening to do that will help you figure out BEST answers for the exam and for your social work career.

Here, two articles and a podcast on the topic worth checking out:
Get those skimmed and you're well on your way to being an ethical social work social media user and exam passer! Here's a really quick summary: Don't engage with clients on social media. Avoid dual relationships. Respect privacy. Got it? Great! Good luck!

Monday, January 12, 2015

Social Work Exam Quiz: Name That Psychotherapy

Here's another in our series of quizzes designed to help you get prepped for the social work licensing exam. Here, we've listed several entries from Wikipedia's long list of psychotherapies and the descriptions linked there.Your job: Name that psychotherapy!

Good luck. Answers are in comments.

1.__________________ is a philosophical method of therapy that operates on the belief that inner conflict within a person is due to that individual's confrontation with the givens of existence.

2.__________________ is an existential/experiential form of psychotherapy that emphasizes personal responsibility, and that focuses upon the individual's experience in the present moment, the therapist-client relationship, the environmental and social contexts of a person's life, and the self-regulating adjustments people make as a result of their overall situation.

3.__________________ is a structured, short-term, present-oriented psychotherapy for depression, directed toward solving current problems and modifying dysfunctional thinking and behavior.[

4.__________________ is a goal-directed collaborative approach to psychotherapeutic change that is conducted through direct observation of clients' responses to a series of precisely constructed questions. [This therapy] focuses on addressing what clients want to achieve exploring the history and provenance of problem(s).

5.__________________ (known by several names)  provides clients with an opportunity to develop a sense of self where they can realize how their attitudes, feelings and behavior are being negatively affected. [This therapy] maintains that there are several necessary and sufficient conditions required for therapeutic change. Among these are therapist genuineness, unconditional positive regard, and empathic understanding

How'd you do? Answers in comments. Stay tuned for more exam-prep friendly quizzes. Good luck on the exam!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Season's Greetings from Pass the ASWB Exam

Happy Holidays from Pass the ASWB Exam! Wishing you a fast path to licensing in 2015! Thanks, social workers, for all that you do.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Social Work Exam Quiz: Name the SSRI

Here's another social work licensing exam prep quiz: Name the SSRI! (Cue theme music.) The rules are simple. From the list of medications below, identify which are Selective Sertonin Reuptake Inhibitors and which are not. Extra points for identifying what the non-SSRIs do!

Here's the list:
  1. Ativan
  2. Celexa
  3. Depakote
  4. Fluoxetine
  5. Fluvoxamine
  6. Klonopin
  7. Mellaril
  8. Restoril
  9. Zoloft
  10. Zyprexa 
Answers, from Wikipedia's list of psychotropic medications, are in comments. Good luck. And good luck on the big exam!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Medication Match Game

Here's another quick quiz based upon the psychotropic medications page at Wikipedia. Test your medication knowledge, prepare for the social work exam, have fun.

Match the medication with its description.


1. Fluoxetine
2. Lithium

A. A mood stabilizer used in treating bipolar disorder.
B. Used to treat major depressive disorder, bulimia nervosa (an eating disorder) obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder, and premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD).

Answers: 1B, 2A

Got it? Go for it.

Match each medication with the correct description.

The medications:

1. BuSpar
2. Benzodiazepines
3. Celexa
4. Clozaril 
5. Concerta 
6. Cymbalta 

The descriptions:

A. An antidepressant of the SSRI class
B. An atypical antipsychotic
C.  An anti-anxiety medication
D. An antidepressant of the SSNRI class, similar to Effexor (venlafaxine)
E.  A class of sedatives
F.  Used to treat ADD/ADHD

Answers in comments. How'd you do?