Becoming a Social Worker: Real Students, Real Clients, Real Growth
by Judith R. Smith
Follow several first-year social work students as they experience field placements, clients, and supervision, while learning about themselves along the way.
Clinical social worker, hospital social worker, and school social worker are just some of the positions available to those with a Master's of Social Work (MSW) degree. With a wide range of specialties and employment opportunities, year after year the social work field attracts new students eager to enter this diverse helping profession. But what does it take to be a social work student?

Judith Smith's Becoming a Social Worker: Real Students, Real Clients, Real Growth presents an engaging and comprehensive look at the field through the eyes of several new social work students.

The students share their reasons for entering the field, their first experiences with clients, and their reactions to the sometimes overwhelming responsibilities of the social work profession. Though juggling their intern caseloads and dealing with emotional experiences often leads to stress, it is balanced by intrigue and excitement about their dynamic new field.

Key lessons of the social work master's program are covered in this video, including managing caseloads, running groups, and working toward termination with clients. The students are also seen struggling with boundaries—a common lesson for those new to the social work field. In addition, the video illustrates the importance of using the supervision experience to its fullest potential. The coverage of students' meetings with their seasoned supervisors offers a candid look at their own personal journeys of self-discovery.

With the help of his supervisor, one student, Kevin, realizes his innate desire to "fix" every client he meets. He soon learns to slow down and guide his clients to help themselves. A talkative student, Leora, gains valuable insight from her supervisor when she recognizes the power of "just listening" to her clients. And another student, Anicka, is helped by her honest supervisor when she faces racial discrimination in her internship and is forced to work through her personal anger. These enlightening clips of the students' supervision meetings illustrate how important it is for social workers to examine their own thoughts and feelings in order to help their clients do so.

Straightforward and all-encompassing, this video presents an accurate example of the first year of social work school and a sample of the skills later mastered by professionals in the field.
In Depth
Whether you're considering pursuing an MSW or you want to understand more about the social work profession, this video is an invaluable example of the fundamentals of the social work field. It illustrates the ins and outs of social work training from the very beginning, following social work students' first days of school. It depicts students who are humble and easy to relate to, which piques your interest to follow their journey. Over just a short period of time, the progress the students make in their understanding of their clients as well as themselves is quite remarkable.

From watching this video, you will:
  • Learn some of the foundations of social work training, including managing clients, establishing boundaries, and handling termination.
  • Understand the importance of supervision for social work students, and the ways to maximize this learning experience to its fullest potential.
  • Understand the relationship between a social worker's personal thoughts and experiences and the effect they have on his/her work with clients.

Length of video: 00:47:44

English subtitles available

Group ISBN-10 #: 1-60124-479-7

Group ISBN-13 #: 978-1-60124-479-6

Judith R. Smith, LCSW, is an Associate Professor at Graduate School of Social Services at Fordham University. Her filmmaking is informed by her clinical experience as a psychotherapist, a social work researcher and professor. During her forty-year career as a clinical social worker and academic, she has produced many educational films which have grown out of her direct practice and teaching. In addition to the videos sold here, Smith’s film credits include “The separation-individuation process: The psychological birth of the human infant” produced by the Margaret Mahler Foundation; and “The Woman’s Film” produced by San Francisco Newsreel.

See all Judith Smith videos.
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