Monday, August 7, 2017

Quick Quiz: Name That Ego Function

For this quick quiz, we turn to ego psychology. Below, the section about ego functions from Wikipedia's ego psychology page. Only, the names of each ego function have been removed. Your job: fill in the blank. Name each ego function. (Hint: All are two-word phrases unless otherwise specified.) We've answered the first one for you.

This one's hard! If you can get a few of these right, you're way ahead of the game.

Good luck!

Reality Testing: The ego's capacity to distinguish what is occurring in one's own mind from what is occurring in the external world. It is perhaps the single most important ego function because negotiating with the outside world requires accurately perceiving and understanding stimuli.

_____________ : The ability to manage aggressive and/or libidinal wishes without immediate discharge through behavior or symptoms. Problems with [this ego function] are common; for example: road rage; sexual promiscuity; excessive drug and alcohol use; and binge eating.
_____________ : The ability to modulate feelings without being overwhelmed.
_________ (1 word): The capacity to act responsibly. This process includes identifying possible courses of action, anticipating and evaluating likely consequences, and making decisions as to what is appropriate in certain circumstances.
_____________ : The capacity for mutually satisfying relationship. The individual can perceive himself and others as whole objects with three dimensional qualities.

_____________ : The ability to have logical, coherent, and abstract thoughts. In stressful situations, [this ego function] can become disorganized. The presence of chronic or severe problems in conceptual thinking is frequently associated with schizophrenia and manic episodes.
_____________ : A __________  is an unconscious attempt to protect the individual from some powerful, identity-threatening feeling. Initial __________ develop in infancy and involve the boundary between the self and the outer world; they are considered primitive _________ and include projection, denial, and splitting. As the child grows up, more sophisticated __________ that deal with internal boundaries such as those between ego and super ego or the id develop; these _________ include repression, regression, displacement, and reaction formation. All adults have, and use, primitive ________, but most people also have more mature ways of coping with reality and anxiety. (Blanks in paragraph all the same word, sometimes singular, sometimes plural.)
_________ (1 word): The __________ function is the ego's capacity to organize and unify other functions within the personality. It enables the individual to think, feel, and act in a coherent manner. It includes the capacity to integrate potentially contradictory experiences, ideas, and feelings; for example, a child loves his or her mother yet also has angry feelings toward her at times. The ability to _________ these feelings is a pivotal developmental achievement. (Blanks in paragraphs are different forms of the same word.)

How'd you do?

Check your answers on the source page. Read up on ego psychology while you're there, if you feel like it.

This isn't bread-and-butter ASWB exam content, but not a complete waste of time to review. For realistic exam-style questions based directly upon the ASWB content outline, check out SWTP.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Quick Quiz: Psychoanalysis Mad Lib

Hello, exam prepper! A question: How well do you have psychoanalysis understood? Here's a way to find out. Wikipedia lists seven basic tenets of psychoanalysis. We've cut and pasted them and removed key words and phrases. Your job, should you choose to accept it: fill in the blanks below. 

1.a person's development is determined by often forgotten events in [time of life], rather than by inherited traits alone;
2.human behavior and cognition is largely determined by irrational drives that are rooted in the [psychic location];
3.attempts to bring those drives into awareness triggers resistance in the form of [two-word phrase], particularly repression;
4.conflicts between [type of thought] and unconscious material can result in mental disturbances such as neurosis, neurotic traits, anxiety and depression;
5.unconscious material can be found in dreams and [two-word phrase], including mannerisms and slips of the tongue;
6.liberation from the effects of the unconscious is achieved by bringing this material into the [psychic location] through therapeutic intervention;
7.the "centerpiece of the psychoanalytic process" is the [single word], whereby patients relive their infantile conflicts by projecting onto the analyst feelings of love, dependence and anger.

How'd you do?

Check your answers via the original text on the Wikipedia psychoanalysis page.

For questions about psychoanalysis and much, much more--and for exposure to exam-style questions (there aren't mad libs on the ASWB exam), try SWTP practice tests. Tell 'em Pass the ASWB Exam sent you!

Happy studying and good luck!

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

"I truly believe it helped me pass the exam!"

A great note in comments from Bridget:

I wanted to write a note of thanks for this blog and your tips! I instantly related to the overwhelmed feeling and as soon as it was normalized my fear of failing left and I became more positive. It flipped a switch in me and I truly believe it helped me pass the exam. That and the FAREAFI/AASPIRINS tips were literally what got me through! Thank you!! 

Congratulations, Bridget!!!

FAREAFI/AASPIRINS, you ask? She means these.

Share your exam success and what got you there by writing us: passtheaswbexam [at]

Good luck! Go get 'em!

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Quick Quiz: Person-Centered Therapy Mad Lib

Another day, another social work licensing exam prep mad lib. Here's a paragraph pulled from Wikipedia's entry about person-centered therapy. Your task, should you accept it, is to fill in the blanks. And...go!

Person-centered therapy is a form of psychotherapy developed by psychologist [Name] beginning in the [Decade]. Person-centered therapy seeks to facilitate a client's self-actualizing tendency, "an inbuilt proclivity toward growth and fulfillment", via [Condition #1], [Condition #2], and [Condition #3].

This is slightly more lively way of asking, who developed person-centered therapy, when, and what are the three primary conditions of the therapist-client relationship suggested by the theory?

Do you know? Check your answers--and get lots more info about the approach--via Wikipedia.

For questions about person-centered therapy and lots, lots, lots more, try SWTP's practice tests.

Happy studying and good luck on the exam!

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Quick Quiz: Motivational Interviewing Mad Lib

Motivational Interviewing lines up with general social work practice nicely. If you're doing clinical social work, you're probably using some MI tools (whether you've read up or not). So, if you're preparing for the social work licensing exam, it's wise to get familiar with the basics about the approach. It may show up on an exam item or two!

To help you prep, we've taken a paragraph about MI from Wikipedia and excised words and phrases here and there. You can either do this as a Mad Lib and fill in the blanks with words that make the paragraph funny (if a kids' go-to "boogers" doesn't work, try something more sophisticated!). Or, in prep mode, try to fill in the blanks with what was actually there in the first place. Reconstruct the paragraph. Good luck! The unredacted paragraph is on Wikipedia.

Motivational Interviewing is a [adjective] [adjective] counseling style for eliciting [noun] by helping clients to explore and resolve [noun]. Compared with non-directive [noun], it's more focused and goal-directed. It departs from traditional [type of therapy] 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 [noun] is a central purpose, and the counselor is intentionally directive in pursuing this goal.

How'd you do? The unfunny answers are on Wikipedia's MI page.

For practice questions (not just quick quizzes) about Motivational Interviewing and lots more, check out SWTP.

Good luck with the exam!

Friday, June 30, 2017

Spirit of '76

Happy 4th, everybody!

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Confidentiality and its Limits

We've touched briefly upon this ASWB exam outline item before and offered this simple guidance:

Suggested reading (and rereading): NASW Code of Ethics sections 1.07, Privacy and Confidentiality, and 2.02 Confidentiality with Colleagues. Also, as a bonus, here's NASW's helpful HIPAA Highlights for Social Workers

Let's dig in a little further here. This is a ripe area for exam writers; expect to see privacy, confidentiality, and/or reporting questions on the social work licensing exam--more than once in a 170-question test. May as well be prepared!

In addition to the above reading, consider these confidentiality-themed columns from Eye on Ethics, Fredric Reamer's column at Social Work Today:
Each column contains material for a bunch of different licensing exam questions. Take a moment to imagine that you're an exam writer charged with generating new exam material. What would you ask?

From the subpoena article, you might picture something like this:

A social worker receives a subpoena for client records. How should she respond?

Some possible answers:

Refuse to comply with the subpoena.

Comply with the records request.

Comply with the records request, withholding information about drug or alcohol use.

Comply partially with the records request.

Comply partially with the records request, per the client's wishes.

Consult with an attorney.

Consult with a supervisor.

Consult with the client.

Consult with a colleague who has recently been through the same situation.

On the real exam, you'll just face four answers, A-D. The best answer will depend upon the group. Here's Reamer on the basic ethical principles social workers ought to consider when facing this legal request:

To protect clients and adhere to the Code of Ethics, social workers should understand their obligation to challenge subpoenas in the absence of client consent or a court order. Usually with the benefit of legal consultation (which may include consulting the client's attorney, with the client's consent), social workers may object to the subpoena or file a motion to quash the subpoena. Depending on the circumstances, social workers may challenge the subpoena on the grounds that it requests confidential or privileged information that the social worker is not authorized to release (for example, because the client did not consent to disclosure or disclosure would violate relevant laws) or that the scope of information requested by the subpoena is overly broad and needs to be narrowed. The law recognizes the importance of protecting certain communications between professionals and clients and grants them a privileged status during legal proceedings. For example, both state and federal laws prevent certain professionals, such as social workers, from being forced to testify or submit documents about their clients (although there are some narrow exceptions).

Happy reading and preparing. Remember that you're not alone--practice tests are very helpful for this topic and many others.

Good luck on the exam. Congratulations in advance!