242640 Educating Social Workers in CBT for Anxiety Disorders

Wednesday, November 2, 2011: 1:15 PM

Betty J. Ruth, MSW, MPH , School of Social Work, Boston University, Boston, MA
Gail Steketee, PhD , Boston University School of Social Work, Boston, MA
Jennifer Gehnrich, BA , Boston University School of Social Work, Boston, MA
Ellen Kreida, MSW , Boston University School of Social Work, Boston, MA
Anxiety and related disorders are among the most prevalent mental health disorders with approximately 18% of adults and 25% of children affected nationally. Despite improvements in effective anxiety treatments, the National Institute of Mental Health estimates that fewer than 15% of those with anxiety and related disorders receive minimally acceptable treatment. Since social workers provide the bulk of psychotherapeutic interventions for those with mental disorders nationwide, it is critical that social work students and professionals be trained in general evidence-supported interventions for mental disorders, and specifically for anxiety. While interest in EBP in social work has increased, it is unclear whether, where, and how much evidence-supported intervention for mental health is included in MSW curricula or social work continuing education.

To better understand the training of social workers on these issues, a short 4-question survey was developed and administered to a national listserv of deans/directors of 199 schools of social work (SSWs). Questions focused on general MSW education in CBT and EBPs, anxiety-specific education, and continuing education related to CBT, EBPs, and anxiety. To strengthen findings, websites of top-ranked SSWs were also reviewed for MSW curriculum content and continuing education offerings on CBT, EBPs, and anxiety. While data are still being collected, initial findings suggest that while some SSWs include content on CBT and related EBPs, specific training on anxiety treatment is rare. Recommendations for how to improve training on anxiety and related disorders will be covered, and implications for the social work's growing role in community mental health discussed.

Learning Areas:
Other professions or practice related to public health
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
1. Analyze the current training of MSW students and practicing professionals in evidence supported mental health interventions, with a particular focus on anxiety; 2. Discuss methods for improving education of social workers nationally in anxiety and related disorders intervention; 3. Identify actions schools of social work can take to promote EBP literacy among practicing social workers via professional development and continuing education.

Keywords: Mental Health, Social Work

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am Director of the MSW/MPH program at Boston University. I have studied public health social work for over 20 years. I am currently Director of Professional Education at Boston University School of Social Work where I develop programs on anxiety education for social workers.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.