Michael Sela-Amit is a clinical associate professor. She 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.
Areas of Expertise (2)
Children, Youth and Family
Industry Expertise (2)
Certificate of Merit for Outstanding Presentation (professional)
Awarded by the International Conference of Arts and Sciences.
Media Appearances (3)
Facing old age behind bars: Photos illustrate aging inmates’ challenges
USC News online
"Levine’s exhibit of geriatric inmates titled Prisoners of Age has received international acclaim and was recently on display at the school’s Social Work Center. The exhibition was organized by Katz and Clinical Associate Professor Michal Sela-Amit..."
USC study feels out empathy in students
USC News online
"Zaleksi and Clinical Associate Professor Juan Araque led their first study on empathy by comparing the empathy levels of first- and second-year social work students. Other researchers included professors Michal Sela-Amit, Kimberly Finney, Bianca Harper and Jennifer Lewis. Approximately 300 students were measured using a scale that tested for both cognitive and affective empathy..."
reFRAME: The Unusual Suspects Theatre Company
"'Theater activities develop new connectivity in the brain and assist in achieving brain integration and better mental health,' says Professor Michal Sela-Amit, USC School of Social Work and Unusual Suspects board member. 'Dopamine, serotonin and endorphins released in the brain through improvisation help promote well-being, learning and neural integration, which is critical to building the brain and coping with adversities...'"