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Applying Theory to Generalist Social Work Practice

Applying Theory to Generalist Social Work Practice

Carol L. Langer, Cynthia Lietz

ISBN: 978-1-118-85978-0

Nov 2014

336 pages



The social worker's guide to integrating theory and practice

Applying Theory to Generalist Social Work Practice teaches aspiring social workers how to apply theory in real world practice. Fully aligned with the Council on Social Work Education's 2015 Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards, the book links theory to practice with clear, concise instruction including a discussion of evidence-based practice. Twelve commonly-used theories are thoroughly explained, with discussion of the strengths and limitations of each, and applied to real work with individuals, groups, families, communities, and organizations. The book includes case studies and first-person contributions from practicing social workers to illustrate the real-world scenarios in which different concepts apply. Critical thinking questions help students strengthen their understanding of the ideas presented. Tools including a test bank, PowerPoint slides, and an instructor's manual are available to facilitate classroom use, providing a single-volume guide to the entire helping process, from engagement to termination.

Practice is a core foundational course for future social workers, but many practice texts focus on skills while neglecting the theoretical basis for social work. Applying Theory to Generalist Social Work Practice fills that gap by covering both skills and theory in a single text.

  • Examines the applications of prevailing social theories
  • Covers the most common theories used in micro, mezzo, and macro practice
  • Helps readers understand well-established approaches like strengths perspective, humanistic and client-centered, task-centered, and solution-focused brief therapy
  • Shows how to apply major theories including ecological/system, cognitive/behavioral, conflict, empowerment, narrative, crisis, critical, and feminist

An effective social worker recognizes the link between theory and practice, and how the two inform each other to culminate in the most effective intervention and most positive outcome for the client. Applying Theory to Generalist Social Work Practice provides students with a roadmap to the full integration of philosophy and application in social work.

Related Resources

Introduction 1

Chapter 1 The Role of Theories in Social Work Practice 7

Introduction 8

What Is Theory? 8

The Relevance of Studying Theory for Aspiring Social Workers 10

Case Example 12

Evidence-Based Practice 13

Further Debates 17

Theoretical Integration 19

Common Elements 22

Implementation of Theory: The Role of Microskills 23

Conclusion 25

Resources for Students 25

References 26

Chapter 2 Ecological and Systems Theories 27

Introduction 28

A Historical Discussion of Ecological and Systems Theories 28

Key Concepts 31

Theoretical Principles 34

Application of Ecological and Systems Theories Within Social Work Practice 39

Case Example 43

Stories From the Field 50

Student Application of Skills 51

Strengths and Limitations of Ecological and Systems Theories 53

Conclusion 54

Resources for Students 54

References 55

Chapter 3 The Strengths Perspective 56

Introduction 57

A Social Work History Lesson 58

Key Concepts 60

Theoretical Principles 64

Application of the Strengths Perspective Within Social Work Practice 68

Case Example 71

Stories From the Field 75

Student Application of Skills 76

Strengths and Limitations of the Strengths Perspective 77

Conclusion 79

Resources for Students 79

References 79

Chapter 4 The Task-Centered Model 82

Introduction 83

A Historical Discussion of the Task-Centered Model 83

Theoretical Principles 85

Application of the Task-Centered Model Within Social Work Practice 87

Middle Phase: Intervention 89

Case Example 92

Stories From the Field 95

Student Application of Skills 97

Strengths and Limitations of the Task-Centered Model 98

Conclusion 98

Resources for Students 99

References 99

Chapter 5 Conflict Theory 100

Introduction 101

A Historical Discussion of Conflict Theory 102

Macro Practice Case Example 107

Mezzo Practice Case Example 109

Application of Conflict Theory Within Social Work Practice 110

Stories From the Field 114

Student Application of Skills 116

Strengths and Limitations of Conflict Theory 117

Conclusion 118

Resources for Students 118

References 119

Chapter 6 Humanism and Client-Centered Theory 120

Introduction 121

A Historical Discussion of Client-Centered Theory 121

Key Concepts 123

Theoretical Principles 126

Stories From the Field 128

Application of Client-Centered Theory Within Social Work Practice 130

Case Example 135

Student Application of Skills 138

Strengths and Limitations of Client-Centered Theory 139

Conclusion 140

Resources for Students 141

References 141

Chapter 7 Cognitive and Behavioral Theories 143

Introduction 144

A Historical Discussion of Behaviorism and Cognitive Theory 145

Key Concepts 148

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy 151

Application of CBT Within Social Work Practice 153

Stories From the Field 157

Case Example 159

Student Application of Skills 162

Strengths and Limitations of Cognitive and Behavioral Theories 163

Conclusion 165

Resources for Students 165

References 166

Chapter 8 Empowerment Theory 167

Introduction 168

A Historical Discussion of Empowerment Theory 169

Development of Empowerment in Social Work 170

Theoretical Principles 173

Application of Empowerment Theory Within Social Work Practice 175

Case Example 177

Stories From the Field 180

Student Application of Skills 182

Strengths and Limitations of Empowerment Theory 183

Conclusion 184

Resources for Students 184

References 185

Chapter 9 Narrative Theory 186

Introduction 187

A Historical Discussion of Narrative Theory 188

Key Concepts 189

Theoretical Principles 193

Application of Narrative Theory Within Social Work Practice 195

Case Example 200

Stories From the Field 203

Student Application of Skills 205

Strengths and Limitations of Narrative Theory 207

Conclusion 208

Resources for Students 208

References 209

Chapter 10 Solution-Focused Brief Therapy 210

Introduction 211

A Historical Discussion of SFBT 211

Theoretical Principles of SFBT 212

Application of SFBT Within Social Work Practice 216

Case Example 221

Stories From the Field 225

Student Application of Skills 226

Strengths and Limitations of SFBT 227

Conclusion 228

Resources for Students 228

References 229

Chapter 11 Crisis Theory 230

Introduction 230

A Historical Discussion of Crisis Theory 232

Levels of Crisis 235

Stages of Experiencing and Resolving a Crisis 236

Case Example 237

The Critical Incident Stress Debriefing and Management Protocol 239

Stories From the Field 239

Student Application of Skills 241

Strengths and Limitations of Crisis Theory 242

Conclusion 242

Resources for Students 243

References 243

Chapter 12 Feminist and Critical Theories 245
Andrea N. Cimino, MSW, PhD

Introduction 246

Historical Foundation and Overview of Critical Theory 246

Theoretical Principles of Critical Theory 247

Historical Foundation and Overview of Feminist Theory 249

Theoretical Principles of Feminist Theory 250

Similarities and Differences 252

Key Concepts 253

Principles of Feminist and Critical Theories Within Social Work Practice 256

Application of Feminist and Critical Theories Within Social Work Practice 257

Case Example 262

Stories From the Field 265

Student Application of Skills 267

Strengths and Limitations of Feminist and Critical Theory Approaches 268

Conclusion 269

Resources for Students 270

References 270

Chapter 13 Transtheoretical Model 272

Introduction 272

A Historical Discussion of TTM 273

Key Concepts 274

Theoretical Principles 277

Stages of Change 278

Motivational Interviewing 282

Application of TTM Within Social Work Practice 285

Case Example 288

Stories From the Field 292

Student Application of Skills 294

Strengths and Limitations of TTM and Motivational Interviewing 295

Conclusion 295

Resources for Students 296

References 296

Chapter 14 Theory and Practice: Pulling It All Together 298

Acknowledgments 303

About the Authors 305

Author Index 307

Subject Index 311