Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Social Work (M.S.W.)


School of Social Work


Social work practice often demonstrates ambivalence about emotions and emotional expression. Forced by managed care to keep clinical work short-term, and having removed the depth of psychoanalytic and other psychodynamic approaches, social workers have retreated from attending to the emotional life of clients, and now focus mainly in the realm of thoughts and behaviors. By integrating literature from other disciplines with social work, and incorporating contemporary thought on the topic, this paper addresses the importance, challenges and rewards of utilizing emotional expression in clinical social work practice. We find that, by addressing the emotions of our clients, we begin to shift our approach from one resembling mechanistic parenting, to a practice which embodies holistic social work and addresses the whole person.


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