James Clark

James Clark
Dean & Professor
University Center C2505
(850) 644-4752
Research Interests
Forensic Social Work
Legal & Ethical Issues
Trauma Informed Translational Research


  • Ph.D., 1995, The University of Chicago; Social Work
  • M.S.W., 1983, University of Kentucky; Social Work
  • B.A., 1980, Siena College

Scholarship Domains

Since 1991 I have continued to explore four major research and scholarship domains as operationalized into these question sets:

  1. Subjective experiences research: What are the subjective experiences of children and adults as they struggle with behavioral health and substance use disorders, and as they negotiate the mental health, child welfare, and legal systems into which these problems thrust them?  What quantitative and qualitative (especially biographical and life-historical) methods and approaches can be brought to bear to understand and utilize these experiences to develop translatable approaches to effective clinical decision making and judgment?
  2. Therapeutic jurisprudence and forensic mental health research: What are the most effective approaches to develop relationships between the human services (child welfare, mental health, health, addictions) and the Courts of Justice to create just and positive outcomes?  What analytic frameworks and evidence-based interventions are necessary and practicable to advance operational forms of therapeutic jurisprudence?
  3. Trauma informed translational research: What translational research analytic frameworks and evidence-based technologies need to be developed, implemented, and tested to enhance the probability for accurate assessment and successful interventions for trauma-exposed persons?  How should emergent knowledge (e.g. pediatric neuroscience; decision science; forensic science) be organized and incorporated into existing knowledge to build long-range programs for social work clinical intervention, program development, social policy, and empirical investigation?
  4. Knowledge and ethics “problems”: Finally, what are the epistemological, ethical, and other moral problems that must be simultaneously understood and addressed to effectively investigate the problems delineated above?  For example, the intersecting activities of civil, criminal, and public health law as these produce behavioral health effects have ramifications for the related domains of professional ethics, research ethics, human rights, forensic science, and therapeutic jurisprudence.  How do the inherent institutional and ideological forces generated by such problems shape social work knowledge, services, and research? How are these best understood and marshaled to serve social work’s commitment to advancing the common good?

Representative publications


Clark, J.J. (2010). Social Work EthicsDecision Making & Accountability.  Western Schools Behavioral Health Series. Brockton, MA: Western Schools

Leukefeld, C., Godlaski, T., Clark, J., Hays, L & Brown, C. (2000). Structured Behavioral Outpatient Rural Therapy: A Treatment Manual for Rural Substance Abuse. Lexington, KY: University Press of Kentucky.

Books (in progress)

Monahan, E.C. & Clark, J.J. (Eds.) Mitigation in capital cases: Understanding and communicating the life story. American Bar Association. (Expected publication: December, 2015.)

Clark, J.J. Robert Coles: Encountering America (working title).

Book Chapters 

Sprang, G., Craig, C., & Clark, J. (2013). Protecting the protectors: Secondary traumatic stress in child welfare professionals, in Child-Welfare: Current Issues, Practices and Challenges. Hauppage, NY: Nova Science Publishers.

Borden, W. & Clark, J.J. (2012). Contemporary psychodynamic theory, research, and practice: Implications for evidence-based intervention. In T. Rzepnicki, S. McCracken & H. Briggs (Eds.), From the task-centered approach to evidence-based and integrative practice. Chicago: Lyceum Books.

Clark, J.J. (2010). Erik H. Erikson: transitions, contributions, & marginalities. In T. Miller (Ed.) Life Stress and Transitions in the Life Span. NY: International Universities Press.

Clark, J.J. (2010). Social work, psychobiography & the study of lives. In W. Borden (Ed.) Reshaping Social Work Theory: Toward a Critical Pluralism in Contemporary Practice. NY: Columbia University Press.

Clark, J. & Croney, E. (2006). Ethics & accountability in child mental health supervision. In T.K. Neill (Ed.). Helping Others Help Children. Washington, DC: American Psychological Press.

Peer-reviewed Papers

Godlaski, T.M. & Clark, J.J. (2012). Implementation Issues in an Innovative Rural Substance Misuser Treatment Program. Substance Use & Misuse, 47, (13-14), 1439-1450.

Jordan, C., Clark, J. Pritchard, Charnigo, R. (2012). Lethal and other serious assaults: Disentangling gender and context. Crime & Delinquency, 58 (3), 425-455.

Sprang, G., Craig, C., & Clark, J. (2011). Secondary traumatic stress and burnout in child welfare workers: A comparative analysis of occupational distress across professional groups. Child Welfare, 90 (6), 149-168.

Clark, J. & Walker, R. (2011). Research ethics in victimization studies: Widening the lens. (Symposium target article) Violence Against Women, 17 (2), 1489-1508 [Best Article Award Nominee, 2011].

Clark, J., Sprang, G., Freer, B., & Whitt-Woosley, A. (2011). “Better than nothing” is not good enough: Challenges to introducing evidence based approaches for traumatized populations. Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice18 (2), 352-359.

Sprang, G., Clark, J.J., & Staton-Tindall, M. (2010). Caregiver substance use and trauma exposure in young children. Families in Society, 91 (4), 401-407.

Clark, J.J. & Borden, W. (2009). A new language for child psychotherapy. Journal of Loss & Trauma (Special issue: “From Neuroscience to Social Practice.”14 (4) 304-314.

Clark, J.J. (2009). Contemporary psychotherapy research: Implications for substance misuse treatment and research. Substance Use and Misuse, 44, 1-19.

Clark, J.J. & Sprang, G. (2008). Infant mental health, child maltreatment, & the law: A Jurisprudent therapy analysisInfant Mental Health Journal (Special Issue: Forensic Issues in Infant Mental Health) 29 (1) 21–35.

Clark, J.J. (2008). Complex thinking for wicked problems: An application of Sharon Berlin’s analysis of dichotomous thinking. Social Work Now (Special Issue: Honoring the Scholarship of Sharon B. Berlin) 39, 38-48.