Chair: Michelle Tuten, PhD, MSW 

The behavioral health specialization provides students with an understanding of mental health and substance abuse that recognizes the ongoing integration of mental health, substance abuse and somatic health taking place at multiple levels from clinical practice to social policy. Students will develop competencies in evidence-based practices in behavioral health as well as knowledge of current and emerging policies that impact the behavioral health of communities. This specialization places emphasis in training students macro and clinical practice competencies to carry out and support emerging best practices combined with a solid foundation in core social work prevention, intervention and policy. Specifically, students will be trained on core mental health approaches common in social work including, cognitive-behavioral treatments, interpersonal therapies, motivational interviewing, and other techniques. Students in the behavioral health specialization will explore the national, state and local policies that impact mental health such as the Affordable Care Act and the recent merger of mental health and addictions administrations in the State of Maryland. Importantly, students will understand behavioral health practice within a social justice perspective.

The specialization is available to students in both the Clinical and Macro concentrations.

A unique track offered within the Behavioral Health specialization, for Clinical or Macro concentrating students is the Social Work in the Workplace and Employee Assistance (SWW/EA) Sub-specialization. The SWW/EA sub-specialization prepares graduates for direct service or program management roles in the workplace focusing on employee mental health and well-being, substance use and recovery, stress, relationships, dependent care, financial and/or legal concerns and anything else that has the potential to impact work. SWW/EA sub-specialization also prepares social workers to assess and respond to behavioral health needs in the workplace through an equity lens, consult with managers and create and implement responsive workplace-based programs. The world of work and behavioral health are ever-changing.


Social Work in the Workplace and Employee Assistance Sub-Specialization

The SWW-EA Sub-specialization within Behavioral Health offers students the opportunity to select either a Clinical (or Clinical/macro) or MACRO (or MACRO/clinical) concentration. Classroom learning and field placements focus on employee assistance programs (EAPs), work/life integration, mental health, and substance use in the workplace. Faculty members and field instructors are recognized experts in the EA and related social work in the workplace fields. Our graduates join a rapidly expanding group of social workers in the workplace and EA professionals who are well qualified to develop and manage programs in private and public settings. Employment opportunities exist at all corporate and government levels, as well as internationally.  

Coursework for Students Taking Sub-specialization within Behavioral Health 

Completing the sub-specialization does not add any time to a student’s academic plan and can easily be accomplished within the two years of the MSW program. To graduate with the sub-specialization, students must complete all coursework required for the Behavioral Health specialization for their chosen concentration (MACRO or CLINICAL). All SWW-EA students take SOWK 725, “Work, Well-Being and Social Policy” for their advanced policy course in place of Behavioral Health and Social Policy. Students will also take SWOA 736, “Administering Employee Assistance Programs” as one of their advanced methods courses in the fall semester. Students who pursue a primary or secondary CLINICAL (CLINICAL, CLINICAL/macro, or MACRO/clinical) concentration also take SWCL 705, “Clinical Social Work with Addictive Behavior Patterns”. While SWCL 705 is not required for MACRO students, it is strongly recommended. Advising with Dr. Frey is available to discuss course plans. 

Social Work in the Workplace and Employee Assistance Alumni & Networking Group

Do you work in Employee Assistance or related social work in the workplace field? 

Are you an alumnus of the University of Maryland School of Social Work? 

Do you value the importance of Networking with other Employee Assistance Social Workers in the Workplace? 

YES?  Then please join our online Networking Group. Our group offers University of Maryland School of Social Work alumni the opportunity to network with other alumni who are working in the EAP and related social workers in the workplace field. Currently, we have a private group on Facebook that you can request to join: In the future, we will also create a LinkedIn group as an alternative to the Facebook group. We regularly post employment and training opportunities and provide an online meeting space where alumni can converse and share updates and best practices.

Ready to be a Changemaker?