BRIDGEWATER STATE COLLEGE
SOCIAL WORK DEPARTMENT
SW431 - GENERALIST PRACTICE II
Rebecca Leavitt, Ph.D., LICSW Rm 338
(508) 531-1389 x2254
COURSE DESCRIPTION: This practice course builds
on Generalist Practice I. It focuses on continuing the development of
practice skills and the ability to integrate them with social work knowledge
and values. Different practice models are approached with the goal of
critical reflection on their usefulness and limitations in various practice
situations. These models may include behavioral, cognitive,
psychodynamic, client-centered, ecological, family systems, empowerment,
advocacy, social systems, play, and various forms of group work.
In this course we focus on diversity in all aspects of social work practice: client systems, work settings, and society. We address the development of the client/group/system relationship, assessing progress in practice, decision-making, ethics and values, and some of the numerous settings in which social work practice takes place. We also discuss professional identity, the role(s) of the social worker, and ways to address one’s own needs as a practitioner and as a person.
COURSE OBJECTIVES: Over the course of the semester the student should acquire and/or enhance the following knowledge, values, and skills:
1) Familiarity with models of social work practice and their usefulness and limitations.
2) Familiarity with different racial, ethnic, cultural, and identity groups, and an understanding of how these groups can be oppressed, marginalized, and misunderstood, and why they may feel excluded from social work services.
3) An understanding of the theories underlying practice and practice decisions.
1) An understanding of the NASW Code of Ethics and its relevance to practice.
2) A commitment to client self-determination as an active and consistent goal of practice.
3) A commitment to social justice, with the professional goal of interrupting oppression as it is manifested in clients’ lives and in society.
1) The continued development of practice skills: assessment, differential planning, the carrying out of interventions, the evaluation of practice and its outcomes, and termination.
2) The ability to recognize the importance of race and ethnicity in assessment and practice.
3) The ability to understand the multiple and complex reasons for client situations and actions, including the “positives” within client problems.
4) The ability to have perspective on one’s actions as a practitioner, and to use oneself deliberately and ethically to effect change.
COURSE ORGANIZATION: The course will be organized according to five areas:
I) Practice with individuals, within the contexts of their families, social worlds, and cultures.
II) Practice with families.
III) Practice with groups.
IV) Practice evaluation.
V) Caring for the caregiver.
The goal of generalist practice is to combine these fluidly within each social work role, integrating the various levels and arenas of practice.
TEXT: Shulman, L.
(1999). The skills of helping individuals, families,
and groups, 4th
Ed. Itasca, IL: F. E. Peacock Publishers. Available in the College Bookstore.
A number of articles and case vignettes will be assigned and made available in class, in the department, and/or in the library during the semester. Students are responsible for completing all of the assigned reading. (NOTE: Readings are to be completed for the week in which they are assigned.)
GRADING: Your grade will be based on your papers and on class participation. Students are expected to attend class regularly, to be prepared, to participate actively in class discussions and activities, to encourage and allow for the participation of others, and to conduct themselves as aspiring professional social workers. Students are encouraged to bring to the attention of the instructor any special considerations necessary due to a disability, a learning style, or extenuating life circumstances. The relative contribution of each component of the course work to your final grade is as follows:
Assignment #1 25%
Assignment #2 20%
Assignment #3 30%
Class participation 25%
Date Class Topics and Reading Assignments
Week 1 Sept. 8th : Introduction to the course and to each other, including completion of the “pre-test.” Discussion of course objectives, format, and assignments. Review of Practice I material. Brief review of DSM-IV and how it is used in the mental health field. Introduction to working with individuals in various practice settings, including sharing information on what settings students will be doing their field placements. How to define what is a “problem” or a goal for intervention. Review of the NASW Code of Ethics, which we will use throughout the semester.
Week 2 Sept. 13th &15th: The beginning phase of work with individuals.
Initial interviews and assessment.
Setting goals; formulating a plan and a contract.
Establishing a relationship and developing trust.
Self-determination and other ethical concerns, particularly with clients who are not fully voluntary (e.g., children, protective services families, mandated clients, prisoners, and certain elders).
1. Shulman, chapter 2 & 3
2. Abramson, M. (1996).
Reflections on knowing oneself ethically:
Toward a working framework for social work practice. Families in
Society, 77(4), 195-201.
3. Haynes, K. (1998). The one hundred-year
debate: Social reform versus
Week 3 Sept. 20th & 22nd Practice settings: host settings (schools, hospitals and clinics, corrections, etc.), mental health clinics, multiservice centers, protective services, and residential and non-residential programs of many types. Assessment and practice and theoretical approaches: usefulness, limitations, and the role of theory in social work intervention. Introduction to the idea of a strengths perspective in social work practice.
1. Shulman, chapter 1 & 4.
2. Saleebey, D. (1996). The
strengths perspective in social work practice:
Extensions and cautions.
3. Witkin, S. L. (1999). Questions.
Week 4 Sept 27th & 29th Introduction to solution-focused practice with individuals, families, and groups.
Identifying and questioning our values, assumptions, and conclusions.
Determining what is “client-centered.”
Assessing progress in practice.
AUDIOTAPE: Excerpts of “Dying Well,” with Insoo Kim Berg.
1. De Jong, P.
Brooks/Cole. Chapters 2 - 5.
Week 5 Oct. 6th Crisis intervention and trauma: the role of the social worker.
Overview of crisis theory: danger, opportunity, and disorganization.
Responding to violence and other trauma.
Determining the level of intervention with trauma survivors: individual, family, or group?
1. Timnick, L. (1989). Children of violence. Los Angeles Times
Magazine, September 3.
2. Regehr, C., Cadell,
S. & Jansen, K. (1999). Perceptions of control and
long-term recovery from rape. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry,
Week 6 Oct. 11th * FIRST ASSIGNMENT DUE*
Family assessment and practice in social work.
The use of family therapy and family systems theories.
Different types of families: ethnic differences and how culture affects the definition of problems and solutions; grandparents as guardians; lesbian and gay families; how to establish trust; roles and “scripts” within families.
Definitions of family practice in various settings.
Deciding on an agenda for ethical family practice.
Students will share their experiences working with families.
1. Shulman, Chapters 6 and 7, skim.
2. Laird, J. (1995). Family-centered practice in the
Families in Society, 76(3), 150-162.
3. Wylie, M. S. (1999). The ties that define.
Family Therapy Networker,23(3), 21-31.
E. K., Davis, L. E. and Vosler; N. R. (1995).
Direct Practice. Washington, D.C.: NASW Press.
Week 7 Oct. 18th & 20th Case management: the social worker as coordinator, advocate broker, and “glue.”
GUEST SPEAKER: From Department of Mental Health
1. Whitley, D. M., White, K. R., Kelley, S. J. & Yorke, B. (1999).
Strengths-based case management: The application to grandparents raising grandchildren.
Families in Society, 80(2), 110-119.
2. Sullivan, W. P., Wolk, J. L.
& Hartmann, D. J. (1992).
Case management in alcohol and drug treatment.
Families in Society, 73(4), 195-204.
NOTE: Start reading Shulman chapter for next week
Week 8 Oct. 25 & 27th Introduction to groupwork.
The value of groupwork as a practice modality.
Beginning a group: purpose, composition, contracting, first session, and setting.
How to form groups and determine their focus. Establishing group boundaries: time limitations, agenda, and confidentiality.
1. Shulman, chapters 8, 9, 10.
2. Kauffman, E., Dore, M. M., and
Nelson-Zlupko, L. (1995). The role of
women’s therapy groups in the treatment of chemical dependence.
American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 65(3), 355-363.
Week 9 Nov. 1st & 3rd Children and sexual assault: assessment, individual and famiy intervention, systems advocacy and worker reactions.
GUEST PRESENTER: Bill Ames, Lutheran Social Services.
1. Gil, E. (1991) The
Healing Power of Play. (selected chapters)
Brower, A. M. (1996). Group development as constructed in social
Reality revisited: The constructivism of small groups. Families in
Society, 77(6), 336-344.
Week 10 Nov. 8th and 10th: Phases in the life of a group. How to help members become committed to
a group process and identify significant issues. The role of the group leader.
*** ASSIGNMENT #2 DUE****
1. Shulman, chapters 11 & 13.
2. Brennan. F. Downes, D. &
Nadler, S. (1996). A support group for
spouses of nursing home residents.
Week 11 Nov. 15th and 17th: Special issues in doing groupwork.
The middle phase of groups. Group modalities and approaches.
1. Shulman, chapters 5.
2. Yoshihama, Mieko.(2002) Breaking the Web of Abuse and Silence: Voices of
Battered Women in
3. Brower, A.M.
(1996). Group development as constructed social
reality revisited: The constructivism of small groups. Families in
Society, 77(6), 336-344.
Week 12 Nov. 22nd: Termination in all forms and modalities of practice.
Advocacy and its role in individual and family practice (review). Systems change: the potential and limitation of the social work role.
The interconnectedness of individuals, systems, and politics.
The political implications of practice: oppression and power.
The contribution of feminist practice ideals; revisiting empowerment.
* ASSIGNMENT #3 DUE December 8th *
1. Shulman, chapter 15 & 18
2. Bassuk, E. (1995). Into the mouths of babes.
American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 65(1), 4-5.
3. Barber, J. G. (1995). Politically
progressive casework. Families in
Society, 76(1), 30-37.
Week 13: Nov. 29th and Dec. 1st: Wraparound services in practice
Week 14 Dec. 6th and 8th: Preventing and identifying burnout.
Sources of stress in the workplace.
Sources of support for professionals: supervision, colleagues, family, etc.
The use of meditation, humor, relaxation, and professional help.
Supporting colleagues: preaching what we practice?
Discussion of experiences with work stress and ways of coping with it.
How to meet clients’ needs without sacrificing our sanity.
Course wrap-up, including post-test.
VIDEO: “How to Prevent Hardening of the Attitude” with Loretta LaRoche (excerpts).
1. Maslach, C. (1982). Burnout
-- The cost of caring.
Prentice-Hall. (Skim chapters 1, 4, and 8).
2. Witkin, S. (1999). Taking humor seriously.
Social Work, 44(2), 101- 104
Week 15 Dec. 13th Class Summary
Students will share topics from their research papers and apply these themes to intervention they have experienced in their field placements. Class members will identify areas of intervention that could be deepened by further research into the Spring Semester.
Dr. Rebecca Leavitt
Assignment #1: paper (4-6 pp.); due October 13th or earlier: Select a client system (individual, family, or group). Research the professional literature (current social work and related journals as well as relevant books) for articles and chapters related to working with clients who have similar issues or with the population your client system represents (e.g., adolescent parents, elders with disabilities, or Asian immigrant families). Reference (APA style) all conceptual or factual information. Also interview, briefly, two social workers at your internship agency. From your academic research and interviews, select some possible approaches you would take with your client system and why you might choose those approaches. Who decides on the goals and plan? What are some of the ethical issues that might arise in this agency context?
Assignment #2: essay; due Nov.17th: A case vignette of an individual, family, or group will be handed out (late October). Using your placement agency forms, you will write up this “client system” including all information the forms require. You may not change any of the information, but you may fill in missing information. Include a write-up of your first meeting with the “client” as you would if he/she/they were at your agency. If few forms exist, submit a process recording with a separate 2-3 pages of reflection on what took place during your meeting/intervention.
Assignment #3: paper (5-6 pp.); due Dec. 8th: This paper will integrate your previous research with your practice with an actual client system. Describe identifiable client system problems, needs, and strengths. Define your role with the client system at the agency. Based on your assessment and plan, describe the interventions you have made and systematically assess the client’s progress. What practice assessment tools are you using? How effective have your interventions been? How do you know? What has your practice evaluation told you might improve the progress?