Kolb’s (1984) experiential learning theory describes that learning is most impactful when it occurs through concrete experience, reflective observation, abstract conceptualization and active experimentation. Learning and developing competency skills in social work practice takes time and repetition. Simulation-based learning provides a great opportunity for focus on experiential learning experiences and highlights the significance of an Integration of Theory and Practice Loop. This “reinforces the idea that learning occurs through doing, reflecting, thinking, and doing again” (Bogo & Vayda, 1998).
In order to provide clinicians and students with the truest representation of therapy, our simulation model involves a one to one, therapist to client (i.e. experts by experience) ratio. Additionally, to preserve the genuine authenticity, curiosity, and empathy that builds in therapeutic relationships, students work with the same client (i.e. expert by experience) for all four simulations. The four simulations depict important milestones in psychotherapy.
Throughout your learning, therapists are taught about the importance of developing the therapeutic alliance and are encouraged to work on authentically connecting and developing attunement with the client.