Introduction to Generalist Social Work Practice

Introduction to Generalist Social Work Practice

Social work with individuals is aimed at helping people on a one-to-one basis to resolve personal and social problems.
When there are problems in a family, social services are often needed. There is extensive variation in the types and forms of services that are provided by social workers to troubled families. One of the many social services provided to families is family therapy. Almost every social service agency now provides some group services. The focus of social work groups has considerable variation, including social conversation, recreation, recreation-skill development, education, task, problem solving and decision making, self-help, socialization, therapy, and sensitivity training.
The goal in therapy groups is generally to have each member explore, in depth, his or her personal or emotional problems and to develop a strategy to resolve those problems. In contrast, sensitivity groups seek to foster increased personal and interpersonal awareness and to develop more effective interaction patterns.
An organization is a collectivity of individuals gathered together to serve a purpose. The roles of social workers within organizations, and their interactions with organizations (including their attempts to manipulate organizations), define much of what social workers do. There are basic structural conflicts between helping professionals and the bureaucratic systems in which they work. A number of suggestions are presented on how social workers can survive and thrive in a bureaucracy.
Community practice is the process of stimulating and assisting the local community to evaluate, plan, and coordinate efforts to meet its needs. Social work is one of several disciplines that provide training in community practice. Practically all social workers, in one capacity or another, become involved in community practice efforts. Three models of community practice are locality development, social planning, and social action. The locality development model asserts that community change can best be brought about through broad participation of a wide spectrum of people at the local community level. The basic theme is, “Together we can figure out what to do
and then do it.” The social planning model emphasizes the process of problem solving. The role of the expert is stressed in identifying and resolving social problems. The theme of this approach is, “Let’s get the facts and take the next rational steps.” The social action model seeks to organize an oppressed group to pressure the power structure for increased resources or for social justice. The basic theme of this approach is, “Let’s organize to overpower our oppressor.”

 

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