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Foundations of Interpersonal Practice in Social Work

Foundations of Interpersonal Practice in Social Work
Promoting Competence in Generalist Practice

Third Edition

December 2010 | 616 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc
This is a core text for one of the most important courses social work students take in any BSW and MSW program: Direct Practice. This course teaches the fundamental values, knowledge and actions that constitutes the practice of social work. It is the skills they learn in their various direct practice courses that become directly relevant to their work as social workers. This text offers basic generalist practice methods which emphasize the common elements in working with individuals, families and groups. The goal upon completion of this course is for students to become efficient in enhancing an individual's social functioning by helping them become more proficient in examining and resolving their problems. The authors break the book into distinct parts that first focus on laying a foundation of the profession of social work: ethics, values, and knowledge base. It then goes in to the sequence of events in the helping process by addressing the beginning, middle and ending stages of working with a client or family. The last group of chapters identitifies skills that are necessary when working with individuals, families, groups, organizations and communities and finally looks at the task of termination.

A unique aspect for this book is that it pays special consideration to enhancing social justice by working with individuals and families who have been historically oppressed. Although content is interwoven throughout the book, there is a special chapter on enhancing social justice which is written by known experts in the area. The book takes a broad based approach and thus is highly relevant for courses typically called "Practice I" or Foundations of Practice, which are offered in BSW programs and first year MSW programs.

The book is thoroughly updated, including more content that will engage students, including:

-Chapter opening vignettes

-More excercises and role-play activities embedded within the chapters

-Questions for critical thinking

-Bolded/glossary terms highlighted within text

-Margin notes to enhance student comprehension

-New feature of "social work journal/diary" which details a 'day in the life' of a social worker in a variety of settings.

-IRCD and student study site

1. Interpersonal Practice in Social Work: Nature and Scope
Definition of Social Work

Interpersonal Practice

Use of Ecological Concepts

The Scope of Practice

The Bases of Interpersonal Practice


2. Basic Assumptions and Concepts

Underlying Assumptions


Basic Concepts: Client, Worker; Target, and Action Systems


3. Values, Ideology, and Ethics of Professional Social Work
The Ideology of the Social Work Profession

The Social Work Code of Ethics

Value Conflicts in Practice

Practice Cases With Ethical Issues


4. Interpersonal Practice Beyond Diversity and Toward Social Justice: The Importance of Critical Consciousness by Beth Clover Reed, Peter A. Newman, Zulema E. Suarez, and Edith A. Lewis
What is Critical Consciousness?

Mayor Dimensions of Multiculturalism and Some Terminology

Key Social Group Categories and Related Terminology

How Do Multiple Identities Work?

Routes to Critical Consciousness and Multicultural Competence

The Application of Critical Consciousness to Practice


5. Violence and Trauma
Recognition of Violence and Trauma

Types of Trauma

Assessment of Trauma

Consequences of Trauma: Symptoms of Psychological and Emotional Injury

Treatment Options

Risk Screening Protocols


6. Engagement and Relationship
Definition of the Social Work Relationship

Power Dimensions in Professional Relationships

Stages of the Professional Relationship

Transactional Nature of the Professional Relationship

Why Is Relationship So Important?

Conscious Use of Self

Importance of Hope

The Initiation of Relationships

Relationships in Group Situations

Relationships in Family Situations


7. Becoming a Client
Definition of a Client

Overview of the Clienthood Process

Pathways to Clienthood

The Entry Process

The Worker's Tasks With Applicants

Tasks With Nonclients

"Significant Others" in the Client's Life

Defining the Client in a Multiperson Client System

Agency Conditions and Definitions of Client

Continuance and Discontinuance

Orientation to the Client Role

The Initiation of Problem Solving

The Preliminary Contract


8. Contracting
Components of a Social Work Contract

Characteristics of a Social Work Contract

Value of the Contract Approach

Limits of Contracting

Contracting With Families and Groups


9. Monitoring and Evaluating Change


Side Effects


10. Assessing Individuals
Purposes of Assessments

Issues in Use of Sources

Individual Assessment Framework

Stress Assessment

Crisis Assessment

Assessment as a "Label"

PIE - The Person-in-Environment System


11. Individual Change
The Context of Interpersonal Change

Interventive Roles

Overcoming Barriers

Crisis Intervention

Role Solutions


12. Assessing Families
What Is a Family?

Measurement of System Variables

Family Assessment

The Process of Family Assessment

Obtaining Family Assessment Data

Categorizing Family Circumstances

Ways of Portraying Family Conditions


13. Family Change
Occasions for Family Interventions

Prior to the First Family Session

The Initial Sessions

The Family Change Stage

Phase of the Family Life Cycle



14. Assessing Groups
Types of Groups

Therapeutic/Effectiveness Variables

Group Development

Assessing Group Dynamics


15. Group Change
Working With Elders in a Support Group

First Group Session

Second Group Session

The First Session of a Closed Group

Leadership Interventions

Interpersonal Conflict in Groups



16. Assessing Organizations and Communities
Organizational Assessment

Community Assessment


17. Change in Organizations and Communities
Ethics of Organizational and Community Change

Theories of Organizational Change

Community Change


18. Termination
The Tasks of Termination

Termination Issues in Group Work

Termination Issues With Families

Worker Termination

Problematic Terminations


About the Authors

There are some applicable chapters to courses, however, not enough to have students buy the book. We are redesigning the course completely from scratch and will include more social/public health/communication topics in the course. Therefore, we will reconsider this book as a recommended text for the students at our medical school.

Dr Tania Arana
Medical Education, Texas Technology University Health Science - El Paso
December 28, 2011

Some useful ideas and theories but overall the slant is towards American practice, whihc whilst still relevant does have its differnences from UK practice. However, some of the writing will be useful in teaching and learning about relationships within the SW setting and I will be citing it in my teaching.

Mrs Kerry Fidler
School of Social Work, University of Leicester
July 8, 2011

I love the flow of the book and the ease of moving students through the engagment process to the evaluation process!

Dr Margaret Counts-Spriggs
School Of Social Work, Clark Atlanta University
April 26, 2011

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