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Social Work Exam Practice: When You Don’t Know the Content

harville-and-helen-home-hero-mobileHere's one from the discard pile, an exam question that requires some knowledge of Imago Therapy. Imago Therapy will not be on the exam. Even so, try the practice question and see if you can use your deduction techniques to get the right answer. Sometimes it's the how-to process, not content knowledge, that plays the essential part in reaching a correct answer. Here's the question:

In a an intake with a social worker, a couple reports experiencing high conflict and difficulty communicating. The social worker plans to use Imago therapy with the couple. What are techniques the social worker would MOST likely use?

A. Recommend each person attend individual therapy to help them discover what they are gaining from participating in the conflict.

B. Teach the couple techniques to improve their communication and identify productive conflict-resolution strategies.

C. Use a variety of techniques to help the couple uncover the unconscious reasons they became attracted to one another.

D. Help the couple learn how their thoughts contribute to their maladaptive behaviors and negative feelings toward one another.

What do you think?

So here's the how-to: You don't have to know Imago Therapy. You just have to know what isn't Imago Therapy. That is, can you identify what theory or technique each answer identifies. Let's take 'em one at a time:

A. Individual therapy instead. This doesn't sound like any theory in particular (though it may not be a bad idea). Imago therapy doesn't explicitly recommend separate individual therapy in place of couples counseling.

B. Teach conflict resolution. A very practical answer. And therefore probably not the right one. The word "Imago" evokes internal images, object relations, etc.  Something more psychodynamic. Pass on this for the time being.

C. Uncover unconscious motivations. Ah-ah, now we're getting somewhere. Mark this as a possibility and power through.

D. Address thoughts. You know what that is, right? CBT. So scratch that answer.

Really just one good answer is left standing. The correct answer: C. And, sure enough (if you want to look it up), Imago Therapy views conflict as a symptom of deeper relationship issues originating in childhood wounds, and uses a variety of behavioral and spiritual techniques to help people address those unmet needs.

Hope that helps. The moral of the story is that you can learn more from each practice ASWB exam question than just the content covered in the question stem.  That's why we've got thorough rationales for each answer of each question of the full-length SWTP practice tests. If you haven't already, check 'em out.

Happy studying, stay safe, and good luck with the exam!

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