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Introduction to Social Work Practice

Introduction to Social Work Practice
A Practical Workbook

December 2008 | 304 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc
Introduction to Social Work Practice orients the students to the role of the professional social worker. The first chapter delineates the differences between being a good friend and being a good clinician in terms of social/emotional factors, professionalism, and self-disclosure. The second chapter covers techniques for building a trusting working environment that is conducive to processing sensitive issues along with an overview of key therapeutic communication skills. The remaining five chapters detail an easy-to-remember five-step problem-solving model to guide the clinical process: 1. Assessment, 2. Goal, 3. Objectives, 4. Activation, 5. Termination.

Key features include:

- role-play exercises

- brief essay and response questions to build and test key communication skills

- discussion points

- glossary of terms

- diagrams and charts that graphically represent the flow of the helping process.

The workbook presumes no prior clinical experience and uses no technical psychological jargon. It teaches fundamental communication skills while emphasizing key social work values, ethics, and issues of multicultural populations and diversity throughout.

Overview of Exercises
1. What Does a Social Worker Do... and Not Do?
Social Work Diversity

Social/Emotional Factors




2. Fundamentals of Communication


Emotional Aspects


3. Step I - Assessment: Where Is the Client Now?
Before Meeting the Client

After Meeting the Client


4. Step II - Goal: Where Does the Client Want to Be?
Rationale for Setting a Goal

Problems Versus Goals

Intrinsic Versus Extrinsic Goals

Fundamental Attributes of a Goal: SMART

Supplemental Attributes of a Goal

Additional Techniques for Identifying a Goal



5. Step III - Objectives: How Does the Client Get From Here to There?

Objectives in Detail: The Strategic Plan

Specifying Resources: Brainstorming Demonstrated

Alternate Sources for Assembling Strategies

Serial and Parallel Planning

Client Perspective


6. Step IV - Activation: Moving From Intention to Implementation
Five Stages of Change

Laying the Groundwork for Change

Social Support



Identifying and Resolving Problems in Activation


7. Step V - Termination: Continuing the Mission Independently
What Is Termination?

When Does Termination Happen?

How Does Termination Happen?

Termination Need Not Be Forever

Types of Termination

Progressive Termination

Mutual Emotional Aspects of Termination

Consolidating Gains

Posttermination Planning


Appendix A. Sample Mental Status Exam (MSE)
Appendix B. Diagnostic Terminology
Appendix C. Documentation, Symbols, and Abbreviations
About the Author

Good introduction from an author who is from a social care background. This book combines theory aginst own experiences and a must for students who want to pursue a career in social work

Mrs angela lorraine mawer
Scartho Learning Centre, Community Learning Services
November 3, 2015

Clear and concise introductory text to use with students and helpful practice exercises to explore learning. I liked the information provide on communication as well as the role play as this enabled students to further consider and develop their skill base.

Mr Lesley Parish
Social Work , Worcester University
May 11, 2016

Some of the case studies/role play are useful but I did not like the layout

Mrs Jane Peacock
Faculty of Education, Winchester Univ.
September 19, 2014

A good introductory text of use to social work students.

Mr Tim Mann
Social Work , Chester University
March 23, 2011

Helpful practical exercises, very useful for the experiential learning focus of the course. Particularly good section on communication and the use of video role play to develop skills. This book would also provide a helpful resource for practice teachers during practice learning situations.

Ms Kirstin Parkes
School of Applied Social Studies, Robert Gordon University
February 16, 2011

The first chapter, in particular, will be an excellent resource for students on social work with individuals courses.

Dr Barbra Teater
Faculty of Humanities & Social Science, Bath University
January 31, 2011

This book is essential reading as it prepares students for practice.

It includes some of the essential skills needed for social work practice.

Ms Sharon Yearwood
Social Policy, Havering College of Further and Higher Education
September 28, 2010

A very welcome addition to the literature on this vital area of social work teaching.

Miss Jackie Yaskey
Social Work , Greenwich University
March 11, 2010

A well presented text. I particualrly liked the acronyms which students will find very useful for remembering key concepts.

Miss Jackie Yaskey
Social Work , Greenwich University
March 11, 2010

This is a useful text for this module because of the links to professionalism that are both in the book and in the module. However, the workbook approach and relatively generic content makes it potentially most appropriate at level 1 of the social work programme.

Dr Karin Crawford
Hull School of Health & Social Care, Lincoln University
January 4, 2010
Key features
Features and benefits include:
  • Easy to use and follow 5-step problem solving model
  • Easy to read; jargon free
  • Practical exercises to build clinical competency
  • Hands on with space to write and reflect on activities and learning
  • Helps students improve their clinical communication skills

Sage College Publishing

You can purchase this book and request an instructor sample on our US College site:

Go To College Site

This title is also available on SAGE Knowledge, the ultimate social sciences online library. If your library doesn’t have access, ask your librarian to start a trial.