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.

Fundamentals of Communication

Fundamentals of communication

This chapter provides an introduction to the basic skills for communicating effectively with clients both cognitively and emotionally. For a more comprehensive array of such skills, please refer to the text Therapeutic Communication: Developing Professional Skills (Knapp, 2007).


Fostering Sensitive Disclosure

Unlike casual conversations, which may vary substantially in depth, complexity of the story, or sensitivity of the issues at hand, the realm of the professional social worker is an environment of client self-examination and processing problems, which may involve potentially sensitive or embarrassing details of the client's personal life. As such, it is important to recognize that simply expecting clients to provide truthful and thorough disclosures to you—a stranger/authority figure—is not enough. You, as the social worker, need to do your ...

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