Document Type


Date of Degree


Degree Name

MSW (Master of Social Work)

Degree In

Social Work

First Advisor

Susan Murty

Second Advisor

Julia Kleinschmit Rembert

First Committee Member

Julia Kleinschmit Rembert

Second Committee Member

Mercedes Bern-Klug

Third Committee Member

Yvonne Farley


This thesis addresses how personal therapy for therapists, with specific focus on social workers, is personally and professionally beneficial. A thorough review of the literature highlights the efficacy of psychotherapy, risks facing mental health professionals, and an examination of the relationships between personal improvement and professional development. My own research into the attitudes toward and experiences with personal therapy among MSW's in South Dakota expands upon the existing literature, further discussing the association between personal and professional as shown in the quantitative and qualitative data that emerged from my study. Finally, this paper explores the ways in which the personal value of self-care and the professional value of care-for-clients interact vis-à-vis ethical obligations to self, client, and colleagues, and competent social work practice.


Personal therapy, self-care, competence


vii, 76 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 64-70).


Copyright 2008 Brian Reed Smith

Included in

Social Work Commons