Shannon Denise Dunn, PhD

Associate Professor of Psychiatry and the Behavioral Sciences (Practitioner)

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Shannon Dunn, PhD, LCSW (CA, AZ, IL, IN), CRADC has been on the USC School of Social Work Clinical Teaching faculty since 2003. She has more than 40 years of clinical experience working with people who have been diagnosed with severe and persistent mental illnesses, including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, personality disorders and severe addictions. Dr. Dunn has worked in all levels of mental health treatment settings, including state psychiatric hospitals, acute inpatient facilities, residential treatment programs, intensive outpatient programs and private practice, where she helped people struggling with depression, anxiety, personality disorders and addiction. She also has more than 10 years of experience in emergency psychiatric settings in Chicago and downtown Los Angeles.

She has 23 years of experience teaching foundational and advanced mental health clinical courses in the in Master of Social Work programs in Los Angeles and Chicago and law and ethics for mental health providers in USC’s MFT program.

She received her Bachelor of Science from The University of Evansville (1988) and both her MSW (1993) and PhD (2002) in Clinical Social Work from Loyola University of Chicago.

Dr. Dunn enjoys practicing and teaching principles of the Recovery Model and strengths-based social work. She uses a variety of evidence-based practices in her clinical work including DBT, EMDR, CBT, Interpersonal Theory, Expressive Art Therapy, Problem-solving Therapy, Narrative Therapy and Psychodynamic Therapy. She is an LGBTQ+ and trauma informed. She is sensitive to a variety of cultures from which people identify. She works closely with Psychiatrists and other providers to insure comprehensive care for her clients. Her courses are guided by learner-centered teaching methods coupled with multimedia technology, expert guest speakers and field trips. In 2008, Dr. Dunn received the USC School of Social Work’s Jane Addams Teacher of the Year Award.


  • USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck, School of Social Work: Phi Kappa Phi Faculty Recognition Award, 2020
  • USC School of Social Work: Center on Excellence for Teaching Leadership Fellowship, 2019
  • USC School of Social Work: Faculty Recognition for Outstanding Integration of LGBTQ Issues into the Classroom, 2010-2011
  • USC School of Social Work: Jane Addams Award for Student Mentoring, 2009-2015
  • USC School of Social Work: Jane Addams Award for Professional Leadership, 2008
  • Loyola University of Chicago School of Social Work: Most Outstanding Teacher Award Nomination,, 2003
  • Dominican University of Chicago School of Social Work : Most Outstanding Teacher Award Nomination, 2002-2003
  • Loyola University of Chicago: Alpha Sigma Nu National Jesuit Honor Society, 2000


  • The Reality of Diversity, Gender, & Skin Color: From the Living Room to the Classroom 2020; 448. . View in PubMed
  • Healing the Distress of Psychosis: Listening with Psychotic Ears 2018; 386. . View in PubMed
  • An ecosystemic perspective in the treatment of posttraumatic stress and substance use disorders in Veterans Journal of Social Work Practice in the AddictionsSpecial IssueMilitary Veterans. 2012. . View in PubMed