The Institute for Clinical Social Work

Letter from the President and Dean

Welcome to the website of The Institute for Clinical Social Work (ICSW), one of the most highly specialized — and unique — graduate institutions in the United States.

As a fully accredited, independent graduate school, we have one overarching mission: to train and develop clinician-scholars in the theory and practice of contemporary psychodynamic psychotherapy, at both the master’s and doctoral levels.

Our master’s students are immersed in an academically rigorous and experientially rich program that stands alone in the U.S. in paving an exclusively clinical path to becoming psychotherapists in the tradition of depth psychotherapy. And our doctoral students deepen, refine, and extend their conceptual, clinical, and research skills in a demanding academic environment that was created more than 30 years ago by master clinicians for the sole purpose of developing the next generation of clinician-scholars.

What do I mean by “depth psychotherapy” and “psychodynamic”? We use those terms to describe the intellectual underpinnings of our programs, the heart of which descends from the ideas of Sigmund Freud and through the 100 years of brilliant psychoanalytic thinkers who have followed him, both refining and challenging his ideas.

We assume that each person is complicated and entirely unique, and that it’s our role as psychotherapists to try to help each person understand herself or himself fully and profoundly, and to appreciate that complexity as the outcome of multiple factors from both the past and present. In particular, we emphasize the need to use the psychotherapeutic relationship itself as a tool for not just understanding, but also for healing.

This way of working represents a deeply humane and humanistic endeavor, one that’s not easy, one that’s unique from person to person, session to session; and one that emerges from the deep understanding that develops between two people trying to write, then re-write, the story of how one person has come to be in the world.

We offer two academic programs: an onsite Master’s Degree in Clinical Counseling and Psychotherapy and a Doctoral Degree in Clinical Social Work, which has both Onsite and Distance Learning versions (our Distance Learning version is not an online program — there is an important difference, explained here.) We promise small classes and an unparalleled amount of one-to-one consultation with our expert faculty of master clinicians. In addition to our degree programs, ICSW offers Professional Enrichment, including Continuing Education Credits, to professionals already working in the field.

I invite you to give yourself the time to explore our site and the programs we offer. You can apply online, ask questions online, or call to speak to one of us in the academic leadership about who we are, what we do, and whether you can find at ICSW something of what you’re looking for. We’ll be happy to talk with you.

Thank you for your time and interest. I look forward to talking with you soon.

Amy Eldridge
President and Dean