The Role of Clinical Social Workers

At the Department of State Hospitals, our clinical social workers are an integral part of the interdisciplinary treatment team, bringing a holistic and strengths-based perspective to treatment planning and clinical intervention in the unit. Clinical social workers seek to enhance the capacity of individuals to address their own needs and improve their overall functioning.

Clinical social workers receive a master's degree in social work that includes studying sociology, growth and development, mental health theory and practice, human behavior/social environment, psychology, and research methods. Our hospitals maintain Social Work Departments with licensed and license-eligible clinical social workers.

At DSH hospitals, clinical social workers are responsible for many things including:

  • individual psychotherapy
  • group education
  • family education
  • facilitating advanced health care directives
  • court progress reports
  • case management
  • discharge planning

In addition, clinical social workers assist patients with all communications. This includes any interaction with family, conservators, social supports, court, public defenders, Conditional Release program, community mental health agencies, and housing placements. Working with other members of the interdisciplinary team and outside government agencies, the clinical social worker creates and modifies a patient's discharge criteria.


Valerie Cervantes
Valerie Cervantes

This year's VIP Awards saw employees from many different disciplines receive recognition for their commitment to our hospitals and tireless efforts upholding DSH values. The VIP Awards "Director's Top Honor" award went to Clinical Social Worker from DSH-Metropolitan, Valerie Cervantes.

Cervantes was instrumental in the development of the Social Work Professional Development Committee, which helps to identify best practices with discharge treatment while simultaneously training new social workers and interns. Her attitude, vision, and willingness to lead make her a passionate and well-respected employee.