Advocating the Clinical Social Work Professional Identity: A Biographical Study

George Karpetis

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    21 Citations (Scopus)


    Aiming to portray the clinical social work (CSW) professional identity, the present biographical study examines the CSW knowledge and practice domain boundaries as they appear from the perspectives of three Greek mental health social workers who have advocated for the professionalization of CSW. The practitioners' perspectives are studied in relation to their demographic characteristics, education and training, and multidisciplinary relationships. A thematic analysis of the in-depth interviews revealed that these practitioners retained their nuclear social work identity and felt their skills and interests to be different from those endorsed by the present generic social work education and practice system. The study also revealed differences in the educational qualifications and routes that each of the three practitioners followed in order to be able to identify themselves as 'clinical social workers'. Although the common denominator in the practitioners' perspectives was their training in psychotherapy, the type of psychotherapy training pursued and the experience of personal psychotherapy differentiated each practitioner's ability to theorize on the CSW practice identity. The research data were filtered through a psychodynamic lens to reveal the dynamics of the unconscious processes within the relationships formed between individuals and organizations.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)23-41
    Number of pages19
    JournalJournal of Social Work Practice
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2014


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