Loyola University Chicago

School of Social Work

Graduate Courses

SOWK 631: Clinical Social Work Practice with Family Violence

Credit Hours



Violence is endemic in our society. This course will focus primarily on interpersonal and family violence between partners and the impact of violence on the family. The content of the course will examine the various epistemological conceptualizations of violence and the treatment of violence as it is experienced by and from various family members within an ecological framework with consideration of micro, mezzo, and macro areas of practice. This is an advanced clinical social work elective that builds on foundation social work courses. As such, it looks at violence as both a systemic and relational issue. Hence, the impact of interpersonal violence on client systems occurs within a context that also must be examined. As a practice course, the content will focus on the reciprocal nature between social systems and violence while also learning how to identify and apply clinical social work assessment and interventions relevant to violence within partners and families.

Relevant theoretical orientations (e.g., feminist, family systems, psychosocial, cognitive-behavioral, intersectionality), developmental theories, and life cycle issues will form the foundation for clinical social work practice. All issues and topics are considered within a historical and contemporary socio-cultural and political context. Sexism, racism, ageism, and the stereotyping of various ethnic and cultural groups are identified and discussed as they form and influence the context of family life. The myths of family violence will be identified and demystified. Issues of social and economic justice for clients will be addressed. The efficacy of different models and modalities of practice will be discussed, including the recent impetus toward theoretical integration. Relevant research will be reviewed and assessed for biases as it informs clinical social work practice.

Students are expected to become aware of their own biases toward violence and those that experience it as well as the potential impact on their practice. The course will examine the social construction of violence and the socio-cultural maintenance of violence as it informs treatment. Practitioners who commonly work with individuals impacted by violence are more likely to experience vicarious traumatization or secondary trauma. Efforts of self-care and self-awareness for the clinician will be considered and discussed.

Sample Syllabus