Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Farewell, DSM-IV-TR

This day in history, the last time DSM-IV-TR appears on the social work licensing exam. Will you miss it?

Mark the moment with a song, or a drink, or just ignore it. Any of those will do. Love it or hate it, if you prepared for the ASWB exam using the big, gray DSM, you're not likely to forget it. Farewell, DSM-IV-TR.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Countdown to DSM-5

Here it comes. The moment DSM-5 becomes the book of record on the ASWB exam is upon us (July 1st, 2015). This is years in the making (if you count all the endless meetings and negotiations over at the APA). Finally, grey cedes to purple, Roman numerals (I, II, III, IV) give way to Hindu-Arabic ones (5, 6, 7, 8...), and, of course, there's what's inside. That's the stuff you have to know for the social work exam. The disappearance of the five axis system...of the NOS specifier...the appearance of autism sprectrum disorder and others.

Have a couple of hours to spare? Here's part one of a lecture summarizing the changes Aaron Norton at University of South Florida:


Faster to just read up? Probably. Here are some starter links:


Tuesday, June 16, 2015

How to Pass the LMSW Exam

How do you pass the LMSW exam? Here's one, good, thorough answer from Nicole Clark on her blog. The post is called, fittingly enough, "Ask Nicole: How Did You Pass the LMSW Exam on Your First Try?" Here are the bullet points--do's and don'ts--which echo much of what we've been saying here. Our quick reaction/summary follows each:
  • Do know the NASW Code of Ethics (yes!)
  • Do take practice exams (she likes SWTP)
  • Do figure out how you like to retain information (she used a brainwave app)
  • Do take study breaks (research says so)
  • Do a trial run (if you've got the time and some anxiety to burn off, can help)
  • Do find ways to relieve stress (please do!)
  • Do know your acronyms (she means FAREAFI and AASPIRINS--sometimes helpful, sometimes not)
  • Don’t tell (many) people you’re taking the exam (good idea to reduce felt pressure)
  • Don’t pull out your class books (depends upon the class books, though, doesn't it? what about a textbooky textbook like Hepworth, Rooney, and Larson?)
  • Don’t answer exam questions based on what you’d do at your agency (yes! be the ideal, in-a-vacuum, textbook social worker)
All of the above applies to the LCSW exam and other ASWB exams, of course. More details within the post. Have at it!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Free ASWB Exam Help

If there's one major theme on these pages, it's that you can prepare for the social work licensing exam without spending an amount of money you're going to regret. It used to be exam prep could cost hundreds of dollars. That paid for audio CDs, for thick volumes of materials, and for practice exams. Now, with all the free resources on the web, that's just not the case. Audio comes free via a variety of amazing podcasts. Books full of info are made more-or-less obsolete by sites you know well, such as Wikipedia. There are lots of free practice exam questions scattered around the web, and if you want to take full-length real-time practice exams (recommended), it can cost as little as twenty-something dollars per complete exam (that's the case, at least, with SWTP's exams purchased with the bundle discount or with a coupon code).

Here are some of the sites mentioned above--and a couple of others for your clicking, studying, passing pleasure:

The Social Work Podcast

Social Work Test Prep

Portal:Psychology - Wikipedia

inSocialWork Podcast Series - UB Social Work

Psychology Basics 101

Social Work Today - Eye on Ethics:

Code of Ethics - National Association of Social Workers

Good luck with the exam!

Monday, April 6, 2015

Social Work Exam and Culture: Maladi Moun

Continuing with DSM-5's culture-bound syndromes, here's maladi moun.

Here's a definition from Medscape:
Aka "humanly caused illness" found in Haitian communities, is seen as an explanation for a number of medical and psychiatric symptoms. It is thought that illness is literally "sent" by others out of envy and hatred and can describe psychosis, depressive symptoms, and even academic or social problems.
There are other, similar conditions, per the World Health Org:
Haitians divide illnesses into several broad categories, including: maladi Bondye (God’s disease, or those of “natural” origin), maladi peyi (“country”, or common, short-term ailments), maladi moun fè mal (magic spells sent because of human greed), and those of supernatural origin, maladi lwa (‘disease of God’) and maladi Satan (Satan’s or “sent” sicknesses)  
The Dictionary of Psychology entry on the topic is here. As of this writing, that about does it for what the web has to offer. But it should be more than enough to field a question about maladi moun on the social work licensing exam. Good luck!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Social Work Exam and Culture: Kufungisisa

Continuing our series profiling the cultural concepts of distress included in DSM-5. Next up, Kufungisisa. Here's a quick summary, helpfully posted on Facebook:
Kufungisisa, or "thinking too much," a disorder of distress reported by the Shona people of Zimbabwe. The term represents both a cause of conditions akin to anxiety and depression (eg, "my heart is painful because I think too much") as well as an idiom of psychosocial stressors, such as financial or marital problems. Symptoms can overlap with several DSM diagnoses, including anxiety, panic disorders, and depression. Ruminations and somatic symptoms may be addressed with cognitive-behavioral psychotherapeutic approaches; otherwise, standard treatments for anxiety or depression can be tried.
 More from details around the web:

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Social Work Exam and Culture: Khyâl Cap

Continuing to survey the nine cultural concepts of distress listed in DSM-5. Here's Khyâl cup (or Khyâl Attack). Here's a quick definition adapted from the slideshow below.
A syndrome found among Cambodians in the U.S. and Cambodia. Common symptoms include those of panic attacks, such as dizziness, palpitations, shortness of breath, and cold extremities. Catastrophic cognitions center on the concern that kyaal (a wind-like substance) may rise in the body and cause dangerous effects (eg lung compression, asphyxia).
Here's the full definition and a the complete list of nine via kyalattack.com:

More about Khyâl cap at these links (but not, for the moment, at Wikipedia):