Monday, August 23, 2010

Some good advice from examinees who passed!

Most of my questions were what to do "first" and "next". I would venture to say these questions were 75% of the exam. I learned two mnemonic devices that really helped me. They were: 1. ASPIRINS: Assess, Start where the client is, Protect life, Informed consent, Rule out medical, Intoxicated - do not treat, Nonjudgmental, and Support self determination. 2. AREA-FI: Acknowledge, Refer, Educate, Advocate, Facilitate, and Intervene. The helped me to stay focused and help me choose an answer. Don't over study (easier said than done, I know) and don't over think the questions or the answers. The questions are based on the "perfect world and endless resources", so you really have to think what would I do in a perfect setting. You only have the answers there...just try not to read to much into it. And go with your gut. I didn't flag a lot of questions (maybe 10-15 at the most) and I didn't go back and change any answers that I didn't flag. After going through all 170 questions you will be mentally tired. And try to take a break half way through even if you don't think you need it! Just go in the bathroom, wet your face, and take a deep breath. I hope this helps and feel free to ask me any questions. I hope I haven't confused you too much.
  Reply by Nicola Harper on March 5, 2010 at 5:08pm
I can't think of specifics. I had the ASWB study guide and I retook those questions just to keep my mind around what they were looking for. Another thing is to remember that you only have the options on the test and that this test is not what you would do at work, but what you would do in a "perfect" setting. Again alot of the questions were to figure out what you would do "First" or "Next".
I used Dr. Dziegielewski study book and this website's free practice exam. I also used the DSM-IV and Social Work Dictionay to refresh on terms I wasn't familiar with or had forgotten.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Where to find practice exams?

Social Work Test Prep
Dr. Hutchison's Social Work Exam Prep
Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) Online Practice Test
Licensing Exam Prep Service
and for quick reviews, there are tons of flashcards for all the content areas covered in the social work licensure exams available free at

and a whole page more of practice tests on

Last Post on Theory & Podcasts

Another LCSW blogger did an excellent summary on theories, so I will just link that and post other portions of the exam!

LCSW Theory Blog Post

I will however mention some helpful free podcast sites that cover theory and diagnosis! I listen to this while running errands, working out or just walking my dog! It has been a great way to review when I can't be in front of my books!
Psychology Lectures
Social Work Podcast
Clinical Psychology

Carl Jung

I still think he is the most fascinating of all the theorists! There is a 3 hour long series that PBS did of all of his work. I think it's well worth the watch. Here is just a little clip of it. It's called Wisdom of a Dream.

Carl Jung (3 of 17)

Jung vs. Freud
Jung has a vastly different view from his predecessors. First of all, he incorporated Eastern philosophy ( mainly from Hinduism and Buddhism) into the ideas of psychology.

Comparing Freud's Id, Ego and Superego, Jung believed in a collective subconscious the connects us all.
Although, I have a feeling it's going to be mostly, INFJ's, or counselelors!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Ego Defense Mechanisms and FRIENDS TV Show

Sigmund and Anna (his daughter) Freud identified several ego defense mechanisms in human behavior. Some have trouble memorizing, so I thought it would be great to at least have a good laugh by incorporating this with my favorite TV show, FRIENDS!

Just to note: You never take away a client's defense. You build them up so they drop the defense behavior; so that defense is no longer needed.

Also, behavior fundamentals states that you must always have a replacement behavior. Choose this behavior with your client to get the desired behavior, as opposed to having another unhealthy behavior replace the original unwanted behavior.

Thanks to Unfloopy's LiveJournal and for the Friends photos!
You can find a list at  Psyche Page Defense Mechanism Summary

Defenses - our behavior to protect us from pain.

Displacement -- Displacing one feeling for another. Chandler is a pro at this, always displacing his fears with humor! Here we have him trying to say good bye to Rachel, but instead, he emits a fart joke!

Sublimation --  Like displacement, but a healthy redirection of emotion. There are numerous heartbreaks but here we've got Monica allowing Phoebe to help her get over Monica through counsel with a trusting friend and relaxation.

Projection --  Projection is the act of taking something of ourselves and placing it outside of us, onto others; sometimes we project positive and sometimes negative aspects of ourselves. Sometimes we project things we don't want to acknowledge about ourselves, and so we turn it around and put it on others. The problem with projecting negative aspects of ourselves is that we still suffer under them. This is the main defense mechanism of paranoid and anti-social personalities.
When Winona Ryder guest stars as Rachel's old sorority sister, she has repressed her long love for Rachel and, instead, denies they even kissed. She projects her homosexuality onto Rachel by rejecting her and saying that she won't contact her ever again because, "You've gotten kind of weird." She later confesses her hidden love after Rachel gives her one last good bye kiss!

Rationalization --  Rationalization is making up a "logical" argument to avoid guilt. My favorite is Rachel and Chandler stealing their neighbor's delicious cheesecake!

Intellectualization --  Related to rationalization, intellectualization involves removing the emotion from emotional experiences, and discussing painful events in detached, uncaring, sterile ways. Someone who intellectualizes becomes very distant from their feelings, and when asked to describe their feelings may find it difficult. They may understand all the words that describe feelings, but have no idea what they really feel.

A good example is when Rachel dates Bruce Willis and tries to get to know him. He intellectualizes past painful relationships, without emotion. When he finally realizes his pain, of course, he can't stop crying, which effectively, ends their relationship!

Repression/Suppression  --  Repression is often thought of as the parent of all defenses. Repression involves putting painful thoughts and memories out of our minds and forgetting them. All defenses do this to some extent. Traditionally, repression is unconsciously "forgetting," that is, forgetting and not even realizing that you are doing it. You have no conscious memory or knowledge of that which is repressed. Suppression is when you consciously forget something, or make the choice to avoid thinking about it.

The problem with repression is that the memory, feeling, or insight repressed doesn't go away. It continues to effect us because our unconscious gives it a life of its own. It becomes all the more powerful because we repress it, and it can effect our decisions, reactions, etc… in ways that we don't see but others may.

Rachel teaches Joey to sail, and ends up turning into her father. She suppressed all those memories that she didn't even realize it when she snapped at Joey, "Greens don't quit!"

Fantasy --  Fantasy can be a good or a pathological defense. Fantasizing involves creating an inner world when the real world becomes too painful, difficult, or stressful. Phoebe fantasizes that her mom's spirit is trapped inside a cat.

Denial --  Denial is the simplest defense to understand. It is simply the refusal to acknowledge what has, is, or will happen. There are so many examples, but one is Ross's denial of how uncomfortable he is about the thought of Joey and Rachel being together. He even invites them to a double date. "I'm okay with it." He keeps saying over and over, even though, clearly, he is in denial!

Withdrawal --  Withdrawal is a more severe form of defense. It entails removing yourself from events, stimuli, interactions, etc… that could remind you of painful thoughts and feelings. Withdrawal inevitably leads to strong feelings of loneliness and alienation, however, which generally means you feel more pain.

Reaction-Formation --  This is one of the most difficult defenses for some people to understand. When we have a reaction that is too painful or threatening to feel (such as intense hate for someone with power over us), we turn it into the opposite (intense liking for that person). That way, we aren't threatened by the feeling, or even the awareness of the feeling. Like denial and repression, you can begin to do this automatically and as a result never know what your true feelings are.

Rachel ends up kissing and falling for a co-worker she hated when she returned from her maternity leave.

Introjection - turning the outward in. So taking on personality and habits of others onto yourself to cope with more difficult issues. One example is Monica wearing Richard's clothes and smoking his cigars after their break up.

Erikson: More than you wanted to know

Did you know?
He was an illigitimate child?
He grew up during WWII?
Was the biggest "observer" and was curious as...curious george?
AND he was a famous hypnotherapist, coining the term Eriksonian Hypnosis?

But we know him for all those lovely stages. How will we remember them? I found an awesome mnemonic device video. It's 17 minutes long, but you won't ever forget the stages!
Erikson Mnemonic Device
After you have watched this, just remember:
1. Rusted Bun,
2. Shane driving an "auto" into a shoe
3. Shia Lebow, in a tree with a quilt
4. Dusty Dinosaur in "fear"
5. Skydiver falls, dents a car, wakes up confused
                                                                6. Two sticks in love, but the third one feels isolated.
                                                                7. In Heaven, a dead generator, being pulled by a stag (male     deer) and lastly, 8. Grits and a pear on a plate. Yum!

And there is a chart to remember which stage goes where, but here are the numbers:
0-1, 1-3, 3-6, 6-12
12-19, 20-25, 26-64, 65+

This particular chart incorporates Freud's stages, which is a nice tie in to the psychoanalytic theory review. It's important to note that Erikson's stages are based on behavior whereas Freud is pyschoanalytical.
Lastly, if you prefer charts and diagrams, here is a good one that also lists the "succeeded" stage or goal once you've completed the stage.

Take a break but hitting the gym or taking a walk whilst listening to this Erikson Podcast

ALRIGHT! Time for review! Flashcards, baby!
Register at Flashcard Exchange at
and use the Erikson Review Flashcards

How to use LCSW study buddy

This is a forum for everyone to share! up your tips, feedback and anything useful. Please be positive...we ALL need encouragement here and this blog is here to HELP, MOTIVATE and inspire!

I am quite the weirdo so you will see odd mnemonic devices, songs, videos and diagrams that may prove useful.

Just stick to the plan!

God Speed! Go! Go! Super Social Workers!