Date of Paper


Type of Paper

Clinical research paper

Degree Name

Master of Social Work (M.S.W.)


Social Work

First Advisor

Kendra J. Garrett


Social Work


Social workers are as vulnerable as any human being to life’s challenges and must sometimes seek professional therapy services to process. This study quantitatively investigates Licensed Independent Clinical Social Workers’ (LICSWs) experiences with personal therapy on a personal and professional level. Qualitatively examined in this study are the following research questions: “How do LICSWs define “use of self” in clinical practice?” and “How do LICSWs’ experiences in personal therapy relate to their “use of self” in clinical practice?” Data was gathered from 57 participants through an anonymous online survey. Quantitative data analysis revealed themes that mirrored findings present in the literature on the use of personal therapy, such as a high rate of utilization and positive perceived impact on personal and professional development. Qualitative data analysis revealed the following main themes: “’Use of self’ means sharing myself with my clients through skillful self disclosure and empathy” and “’Use of self’ means authentically bringing all I’m made of into the therapeutic relationship for use as a therapeutic tool,” “Modeling of therapeutic behavior,” “Greater self-awareness and personal growth/Awareness of issues related to countertransference,” and “Having the experience of being a client.”

Included in

Social Work Commons