For most social work practitioners, developing a portfolio of methods tends to be a rather pragmatic activity influenced by professional training, the exigencies of the agency and the individual worker’s approach to practice. While developing a range of methods may be a complex activity within the current practice context, it does provide workers with a structured rationale for intervention. We have chosen to consider the purpose and process of a small number of methods in order that readers may select those which they consider relevant to their situation. Our intention is to introduce the reader to each of the selected methods, providing as we go some useful reference points for further study. Our primary aim is to encourage readers to explore these methods by arguing that it is the approach of the worker that impacts significantly on the process of intervention and its potential outcomes for the service user. The choice of methods for any text has to be fairly arbitrary. The methods in this and the following chapter have been selected because we consider them to be those most commonly used in social work settings. We accept that this is an assumption on our part, as there has been little research on the relative utilisation of different methods.
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