This course covers generalist practice skills in the beginning phase of the helping process with individuals and families. Initially, basic communication and interviewing skills essential to the helping relationship within all system sizes are introduced and practiced. Following this basic skill introduction, students learn the tasks and skills required in the beginning phase of practice, including preparation, engagement, first interview skills and case documentation. Students then learn the process of collecting relevant social, psychological, cultural, economic, biological and spiritual data from both individuals and families using a strengths perspective. The process of analyzing and synthesizing this data for the purposes of problem formulation is also introduced. The steps of the contracting process which link assessment to intervention are also examined and practiced. Lastly, case management as a form of social work intervention is examined from an historical and contemporary perspective highlighting the brokering and advocacy roles. Throughout this course emphasis is placed on the practice and application of skills through the use of role plays and other interactive exercises using case examples representative of the client populations with whom the students work.
Place of Course in the Curriculum
This course is the second part of the three course generalist social work practice sequence. It is taken during the same semester as the first course in the sequence, Social Justice: Practice with Organizations and Communities (SWGS 6319). (Students, who have taken SWGS 6320 - Generalist Social Work Practice with Organizations and Communities, may substitute that course for SWGS 6319. )
Upon completion of this course, students are expected to:
1. Acquire the basic generalist practice skills to translate an understanding of the interaction of environmental and biological, psychological, social and spiritual factors into work with clients.
2. Develop basic skills to engage clients in the helping process. This includes the relationship building skills of interviewing, communication and relationship skills.
3. Learn the principles and techniques of collecting, organizing and evaluating data in order to develop basic biopsychosocial and spiritual assessments of diverse clients and/or family systems and to analyze the interplay of multiple systems.
4. Guided by a strengths perspective, develop basic skills related to the process of issue formulation,, goal setting and contracting around worker and client's role in the helping process and intervention modality(s) and methods.
5. Develop the ability to identify plans of action with clients to help strengthen their capacity to deal with issues, based on the assessment of strengths, resources and obstacles within clients and their environments.
6. Develop a basic understanding of how the social worker's self-awareness pertaining to gender, age, culture, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation influences the conscious use of self in practice.
7. Examine the role of personal and professional values in practice and the potential ethical issues and dilemmas that may emerge.
8. Develop an awareness of the impact of diversity on the assessment and intervention process (i.e. culture, gender, etc . ) between worker and clients and among a broad range of clients.
9. Develop an ability to identify and operate in a wide range of interventive roles such as facilitator, mediator, advocate, counselor, catalyst, and social broker.
10. Develop a beginning ability to implement a plan of action, strategy for evaluating intervention and plan for future activities through the application of critical thinking skills.
11. Recognize the need to tailor the assessment and intervention process to meet client's specific needs, especially as it relates to populations at risk including immigrants and refugees.
12. Have a basic understanding of case management with diverse populations with particular attention to the skills of brokering and advocacy when linking clients to needed services.
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