Higher Education

Learning from Mistakes in Clinical Practice, 1st Edition

  • Carolyn Dillon Boston University School of Social Work
  • ISBN-10: 053452401X  |  ISBN-13: 9780534524012
  • 240 Pages
  • © 2003 | Published
  • College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $102.75



This text is a virtual handbook of classic mistakes to anticipate, work through, and grow from. It identifies, discusses and re-frames classic mistakes that beginning interviewers and clinicians are likely to make in practice by illuminating a myriad of mistakes through the use of first-hand vignettes, in-text exercises, and a systems framework. This book uses a strengths-perspective, and can serve as a companion text or as a stand-alone primer because of its elaboration of the phases, principles, strategies and methods used in the helping process.

Table of Contents

1. Becoming a Professional.
2. Early Successes and Derailments.
3. Engaging with Clients and Getting Started.
4. Professional Relationships: Steps and Missteps.
5. Assessment and Contracting: Skills and Pitfalls.
6. The Middle Phase of Work: Prospects and Problems.
7. When the Work Doesn't Work.
8. Common Mistakes in Ending.
9. Epilogue: Developing Important Capacities, Allaying Common Concerns.
10. References.
11. Index.

Efficacy and Outcomes


"... comprehensive primer designed to help students appreciate continued personal development in the pursuit of high quality professional work practice. The materials fills an important gap in social work education by uncovering valuable learning opportunities through the mistakes that we make as helping professionals."

— Robin Ersing, University of Kentucky

"... an excellent description of the trials and tribulations of graduate students as they progress towards becoming professional counselors. Students will feel more accepting of the mistakes they make because they will see examples of others mistakes and realize it is part of the process, not something to avoid and be afraid of. It will help alleviate some of the anxiety that often gets in the way of the student’s ability to respond to clients in a genuine manner."

— Jackie Leibsohn, Seattle University

Meet the Author

Author Bio

Carolyn Dillon

Carolyn Dillon is Clinical Professor Emerita, Boston University School of Social Work, where she has won teaching excellence awards from both the Alumni Association and the student body. She received the Metcalf Award for teaching excellence and was the recipient of the “Greatest Contribution to Social Work Education” award from the Massachusetts Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers. She has published and spoken widely about the need for professional self-care and stress management and has consulted with social workers in health and mental health settings.