The art of social work practice


Edited by Toyin Okitikpi and Cathy Aymer

Large format paperback, 160 pages

Published 2008

The Art of Social Work Practice argues that it is important for social work to reclaim many of its intuitive skills and core values. The core principle of building and maintaining professional relationships with service users is good and should never have been jettisoned for encounters that are characterised by an arm's length approach. Indeed, in many areas, such as user development, ADP, holistic approach, social model of intervention, social work has led the way and other professions have subsequently followed.

The Art of Social Work Practice explores:

  • the use of theory in social work and how theories enable practitioners to develop a deeper level of understanding of their practice. It argues that practitioners need to expose their ideas and their approaches to the very people whom they intend to benefit from their intervention
  • how dangerous practice could be avoided by continually asking searching questions about the worker and service users' relationship and the approach being adopted
  • preventative social work and unintended negative outcomes, assessment, communication and planning
  • decision making, user involvement and working in partnership, and collaboratively with other professionals, emphasising the importance of demystifying the stereotypes that different professionals hold of each other

While this is not a how-to-do-it book there are practice examples as well as questions that are posed for consideration in a number of the chapters to illustrate the applicability of the ideas and concepts under discussion. I the chapters where there are no specific cases or practice examples the aim is to encourage reflection and consideration of the ideas presented.

Practitioners, academics and researchers in social work, social welfare, health and social care.

Students in those areas on foundation, NVQ Levels 3 and 4, and degree courses.

Also, people who are studying or practicing in professions who work alongside social workers, for example those in education who are involved in children and extended schools.


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