Master of Social Work (MSW)

Are you interested in working with families and diverse clients in a variety of direct-service, private- practice and family-policy settings? A master’s degree in social work with a concentration in Family Systems Practice will give you the preparation you need for a career in family systems and family therapy.

We’ll prepare you to work with individuals, couples, families, organizations, constituencies and communities, and to evaluate social systems for bias and cultural responsiveness in a wide variety of settings, including mental health and family services agencies, child welfare, legal systems, schools, treatment centers, private practice and community social service agencies. You also will learn to use multisystemic assessments and interventions to alleviate client distress. As you develop an awareness of the systems that create power imbalances and oppression, you’ll reflect on your personal bias and positionality, cultural bias, assumptions, values and affective reactions that may influence your relationship with families.

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Your Career Options

Family Systems Practice offers employment opportunities in a wide variety of fields, including clinical, administrative and academic settings. Family therapy is a field that’s projected to grow by nearly 20 percent in less than a decade. With an MSW concentration in Family Systems Practice, your social work career could include:

  • Providing individual psychotherapy and couples, family and group therapy
  • Diagnosing and treating mental and emotional disorders and creating treatment plans
  • Developing and leading community programs that help families build resources and address challenges
  • Developing culturally responsive social work practice skills with families
  • Providing recovery-based services and medical family therapy
  • Providing family therapy in schools, communities, family court, home-based and medical settings in both urban and rural areas
  • Working as a parenting or life coach

Because the U.S. government recognizes family therapists as qualified mental health providers, and family therapists are eligible to participate in a number of federal compensation and grant programs.

Learn more about the Family Systems Practice curriculum.

Explore

Explore some of our field education locations with a focus on Family Systems

  • Judi's House

    Judi’s House is a comprehensive grief center serving children, young adults and their parents or caregivers. The center serves individuals who are grieving a death loss of any kind — including illness, suicide, homicide and accidental death — through group counseling facilitated by licensed mental health professionals and graduate-level interns.

  • Denver Family Therapy Center

    The Denver Family Therapy Center hosts the Adolescent Substance Abuse Program — an intensive outpatient substance-use program for adolescents. The center takes a systemic family systems therapy approach to treating adolescents who are experiencing issues related to substance use. Interns gain experience in family, individual and group therapy, as well as substance-use treatment. Interns also learn and participate in administrative duties, including billing, managed care and marketing.

  • Warren Village

    Warren Village is a transitional housing program designed to promote personal and economic self-sufficiency for low-income, single-parent families. It integrates affordable housing, supportive family services, life-skills classes, college-to-career development, housing and financial coaching, and onsite child care. Interns participate in case management and family advocacy, conduct biopsychosocial assessment interviews, gain knowledge about community resources and lead life-skills classes.

  • Denver Indian Family Resource Center

    The Denver Indian Family Resource Center strengthens vulnerable American Indian and Alaska Native children and families through collaborative and culturally responsive services. Interns work with families with histories of trauma exposure.

  • Jefferson County Head Start

    Head Start is a no-cost, comprehensive, child-focused and family-centered preschool program for children ages 3–5. It adheres to trauma-informed practices and provides a range of individualized services in the areas of education, early childhood development, medical, dental, mental health, nutrition, family support and parent education. Interns provide mental health services to children in Head Start and consult with parents and teachers to support the social-emotional development of children.

Key Faculty

 
Stephen von Merz

Stephen von Merz

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Jennifer Bellamy

Jennifer Bellamy

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Debora Ortega

Debora Ortega

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Application Information

2019 Denver Campus Two-Year Program Final Admission Deadline