Michal Sela-Amit

Clinical Associate Professor
Contact Information
University Park
Department of Study 
Children, Youth and Families
PhD, University of Southern California, 2002
MSW, University of Haifa, Israel, 1992
BA, University of Haifa, Israel, 1986

MICHAL SELA-AMIT is a clinical associate professor. She is a lead professor on the advanced theories and interventions in children, adolescents and family courses. Sela-Amit also teaches foundation practice courses, domestic violence and a global immersion course on Israel. Her clinical interests include providing culturally sensitive and relationally informed interventions. She also uses narrative therapy and the healing and transformative power of the arts in her practice and teaching. Recently, she has also developed and taught online courses in the school's Virtual Academic Center. Because of her interest in the intersection of social work and the arts, Sela-Amit is incorporating expressive practices, particularly the use of community-based theater, for empowerment of youth and communities into her teaching.

Born and raised in Israel, Sela-Amit served as a clinical therapist at the Haifa University Student Counseling Center. She then worked with emotionally and behaviorally challenged youth in both residential settings and in schools. She served as a research practitioner and therapist with adults, couples, families and groups impacted by domestic violence and child abuse at the Haifa Women's League for Israel Family Therapy Center. In addition, she was as an instructor at the University of Haifa and the Tel-Hai Academic College in Israel, where she developed and taught courses on immigration, group work and cultural competency for social workers.

Sela-Amit has developed the USC School of Social Work's support program for international students and continues to advise and support Admissions and Students Services in their work with international students. In 2008, she assisted MSW students in establishing the International Social Work Caucus and has served as the adviser to the caucus since then. Currently, Sela-Amit serves as a co-chair of the Families and Children concentration, a lead instructor on several courses, and a lead for the Social Work and the Arts think tank. Sela-Amit is a member of the CSWE-China USC Project, where she provides lectures and workshops to faculty in China and mentorship to visiting Chinese faculty and students to advance the development of the social work profession in China. Sela-Amit also serves as a board member of the Unusual Suspects Theater Company, a non-profit that arose after the LA Riots to empower incarcerated and at-risk youth in the most challenged communities in Los Angeles through mentoring and theater workshops.

Her research interests include domestic violence and its impact on survivors and family members, expressive practices and the neurobiology behind their healing powers, international social work, group social work, and the challenges of novice social workers with empathy in clinical work. She has professional and media publications, and has spoken in both national and international conferences.

Awards and Distinction
Certificate of Merit for Outstanding Presentation, International Conference of Arts and Sciences (2014)
Certificate of Excellence for Integration of LGBT Issues into Classroom Instruction (2009)
Annual Scholarship, Center on Child Welfare (1993-1999)
Dean’s Award for Excellence and Academic Achievements (1986, 1990)
More awards
Selected Publications

Sela-Amit, M. (2002). Intra-Familial Child Sexual Abuse: The Experience and Effects on Non-Offending Mothers. Ann Arbor, MN: UMI Dissertation services.

Sela-Amit, M. & O'Keefe, M. (1997). An examination of the effects of race/ethnicity and social class on adolescents’ exposure to violence. (22), 53-71.

Sela-Amit, M. & Weaver, D. (1996). Shall I stay or shall I go: The decision to remain at DCFS among graduates of the USC IUC internship program.: The cCenter of Child Welfare, University of Southern California School of Social Work.

Sela-Amit, M. & Eisikovits, Z. (1994). Group work with battered women. In H. Goldblatt & Z. Eisikovitz (Eds.) Towards a multi-disciplinary intervention model in domestic violence.: Women's League for Israel.

Sela-Amit, M., Eisikovits, Z., Guttmann, E. & Edleson, J.L. (1993). Women battering in Israel: The relative contributions of relationship adjustment, conflict and social suppor. (63), 313-317.

Sela-Amit, M., Eisikovits, Z., Edleson, J. & Guttmann, E. (1991). Cognitive and interpersonal factors in woman abuse. (6), 167-180.

Sela-Amit, M., Eisikovits, Z., Edleson, J. & Guttmann, E. (1991). Cognitive styles and socialized attitudes of men who batter: Where should we intervene?. (40), 72-77.