Tuesday, April 26, 2016

KSA of the Day: The Concept of Attachment and Bonding

Attachment and bonding may or may not come up on the social work licensing exam. But they'll come up every day you're a living and breathing social worker (and person). Preparing for the exam is a good excuse to gain a better, deeper understanding of the thinking and theorizing on the subject.

What springs to mind when you hear "attachment and bonding"? How about John Bowlby? How about Mary Ainsworth? How about Harlow's monkey?

Let's start with the monkey.

Harlow's monkey gets milk from a fake wire monkey, but clings to the cozier fake cloth monkey. Attachment and bonding!

Attachment theory can't be summed up quite as quickly. But how's this: Attachment theory posits that attachment isn't a byproduct of other psychological drives, but an essential drive in and of itself. Attachment is so crucial that the quality of early attachments affects the way a person relates to others for their entire lifetime. Attachment researchers have identified several typical patterns of attachment between infants and caregivers--some secure and some insecure--and witnessed their longterm stickiness. Young children with a certain attachment pattern grow into adults with that same attachment pattern.

But don't just take it from this blog. Read up. Here are some places to get smart and smarter about attachment:
That should do it to get your prepared for attachment and bonding questions on the ASWB exam.
Stay cozy and good luck!

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Motivational Interviewing and the ASWB Exam

Motivational interviewing comes up in regular social work practice all the time, even if people don't always refer to what they're doing as motivational interview. Same goes for the ASWB exam. Knowing motivational interviewing basics will help you in your practice and help you pass the test. So get learning!. Here are some basics via Wikipedia:

Motivational interviewing (MI) refers to a counseling approach in part developed by clinical psychologists Professor William R Miller, Ph.D. and Professor Stephen Rollnick, Ph.D. Motivational Interviewing is a method that works on facilitating and engaging intrinsic motivation within the client in order to change behavior.[2] MI is a goal-oriented, client-centered counseling style for eliciting behavior change by helping clients to explore and resolve ambivalence. Compared with non-directive counseling, it's more focused and goal-directed. It departs from traditional Rogerian client-centered therapy through this use of direction, in which therapists attempt to influence clients to consider making changes, rather than non-directively explore themselves. The examination and resolution of ambivalence is a central purpose, and the counselor is intentionally directive in pursuing this goal.

A few key points in MI (also via Wikipedia):
  1. Motivation to change is elicited from the client, and is not imposed from outside forces.
  2. It is the client's task, not the counselor's, to articulate and resolve the client's ambivalence.
  3. Direct persuasion is not an effective method for resolving ambivalence.
  4. The counseling style is generally quiet and elicits information from the client.
  5. The counselor is directive, in that they help the client to examine and resolve ambivalence.
  6. Readiness to change is not a trait of the client, but a fluctuating result of interpersonal interaction.
  7. The therapeutic relationship resembles a partnership or companionship.
Sound familiar?

Here's MI summed up in a 17 minute video:

For more motivational interviewing wisdom from around the web, try:
Happy studying. Happy exam-passing!

Social Work Exam Practice...Books

We've linked almost exclusively to online practice exams. You take the real exam on a computer, so prepping on a computer makes good sense. But for some, being able to grip a practice exam, scribble on it, and, if necessary, tear it, stomp on it, and/or throw it across the room are deeply desired qualities.

Great for all of these reasons: SWTP's newly published pair of practice tests, now available on Amazon and elsewhere. The exams are the same as SWTP's ASWB Exams #1 & #2. If you already have those, move on. If you don't and order the books, you get access to the online versions of those exam as part of your purchase. Do that and you're studying every which way.

However you're prepping, do some practice tests. They help. Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Name That Disorder

Here's a quick DSM-5 matching game. Your task, should you accept it: See if you can name the disorder based upon the single criterion listed.

Simple as that.



1. Recurrent pulling out of one's hair, resulting in hair loss.

2. Recurrent skin picking resulting in skin lesions.

3. Marked fear or anxiety about one or more social situations in which the individual is exposed to possible scrutiny by others.

4. Preoccupation with having or acquiring a serious illness.

5. Preoccupation with one or more perceived defects or flaws in physical appearance that are not observable or appear slight to others.

Bonus: An inability to recall important autobiographical information, usually of a traumatic or stressful nature, that is inconsistent with ordinary forgetting.

Answers are in comments.

Not an easy quiz! How'd you do?

Thursday, March 17, 2016

KSA of the Day: Personality Theories

Paying a visit again to the Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities list (available at ASWB.org)--the Ks, Ss, and As you might need to grasp in order to correctly answer questions on the social work licensing exam. Up next: personality theories.

Here again, you at some point have probably learned everything you need to know on the topic that you need to know to get through the exam. What you probably need is a refresher--to dig the info out of deep long term memory and get it somewhere more accessible for exam day.

Wikipedia is so very ready to help you with this, we end up with not so much to say about the subject. Only this: as you go through Wikipedia's personality theories list, remember this: if you haven't ever heard of it,  you probably don't really need to know it. Freud rings a bell, right? Worth reviewing. Allport, Catell, Gittinger? They may not have come up in that HBSE class. It may be safe to move on.

For your clicking and browsing ease, here's Wikipedia:
 For more about personality theory elsewhere on the web, try:
A web search will bring up more and more and more.
Happy learning, happy studying, and good luck on the exam!

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Licensing Exam Quiz: Which Came First?

Here's a new quiz to test your knowledge about social work-related federal statutes. Does this stuff show up on the social work exam? Answer: sometimes!

Place the following federal laws in chronological order:
  • Americans with Disabilities Act
  • Affordable Care Act
  • Patient Self Determination Act
  • Civil Rights Act
  • Voting Rights Act
  • Indian Child Welfare Act
Which came first, which came last? Give yourself bonus points for knowing what each set out to achieve!

Answers in comments.

Some places to read up:

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Social Work Exam Matching Game

Inspired by SWTP's recent free practice question about paraphilic disorders, here's a matching game--paraphilias and their definitions. What's a paraphilia? Wikipedia answers:
Paraphilias are sexual interests in objects, situations, or individuals that are atypical. The American Psychiatric Association, in its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, Fifth Edition, draws a distinction between paraphilias (which it describes as atypical sexual interests) and paraphilic disorders (which additionally require the experience of distress or impairment in functioning).

Can you match the paraphilia with its definition? Give it a shot.


1. Exhibitionism

2. Frotteurism

3. Nasophilia

4. Pedovestism

5. Pedophilia

6. Podophilia

7. Sadism

8. Masochism

9. Macrophilia



Definitions (Sexual arousal from...)

a. Breast milk
b. Suffering; being beaten, bound or otherwise humiliated
c. Inflicting pain on others
d. Exposing one's genitals to unsuspecting and nonconsenting others
e. Dressing like a child
f. Prepubescent children
g. Giants

h. Feet
i. Rubbing against a non-consenting person
j. Noses

Definitions come from Wikipedia's big list of paraphilias. There are lots more than just these 10.

Our answers in comments.

Thanks for playing and good luck with the exam!