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About this book

This trusted textbook for both students and practitioners has sold over 75,000 copies across its four previous editions. This comprehensive text is divided into three easily navigable parts: Part I guides the reader through the social work process, detailing each stage and offering a new chapter on reflection; Part II introduces key methods of intervention, encompassing a broad range of theories and approaches, including new material on strengths based approaches and solution focused practice; Part III identifies the variety of contexts in which social work takes place, with individuals (both children and adults), groups and communities.

Whether a student new to social work or an experienced practitioner returning to training, this is a 'must buy' text that readers will return to again and again throughout their professional practice.

Table of Contents

Theory for Practice

Chapter 1. Theory for Practice

Abstract
For social work there is a continuing tension between practice and theory. This tension exists both within social work and about social work. At times, students and practitioners have protested that it was necessary to forget theory once in practice. The argument has been that theory is abstract, inaccessible, and that it reduces spontaneity in helping people. Using theory implied distance and objectivity which contrasted with feelings and the living reality of social work encounters. As such it was seen to be a stumbling-block to developing individual style, and the most that could be hoped for was that students would admit that they might subconsciously be using theory that they had absorbed during their education and training.
Veronica Coulshed, Joan Orme

Social Work Processes

Frontmatter

Chapter 2. Social work Processes: Assessment

Abstract
The process of assessment is core to social work practice. Increasingly, as the organisation and delivery of social work services change and develop in response to political and economic reforms, the assessment process is the one part of service delivery that depends on the skills, knowledge and values of those who have been educated and trained as social workers. This is not to say that an assessment, or the process of assessment, is unique to social work, but the use that is made of social workers’ judgements puts them in significant positions. These judgements are not always made in isolation. The development of multi-professional working requires comprehensive assessment to which a number of workers contribute. However what is vital is that the social work contribution is seen to be an essential part of any assessment.
Veronica Coulshed, Joan Orme

Chapter 3. Social work Processes: Advocacy and Partnership

Abstract
Although the need to listen to the views of those who were receiving services was first acknowledged in the 1970s (Mayer and Timms, 1970; Sainsbury, 1975), it was not until the 1990s that policy changes developed the language of choice and user involvement (DoH, 1989a). Community care legislation introduced the requirement that social workers acting as care managers negotiate with statutory agencies, third sector organisations and individual users and carers to ensure that individual needs are identified and appropriate services made available. Underpinning this was the need to ensure that individuals are treated with respect and empowered by the social work interventions.
Veronica Coulshed, Joan Orme

Chapter 4. Social Work Processes: Communication

Abstract
Communication, especially verbal communication, underpins both the processes of social work discussed so far and the interventions described in the following parts of the text. Social workers might have extensive knowledge and understanding of theories of human behaviour and of a range of possible interventions to help resolve problems, but if they are unable to communicate, to instil confidence, listen and respond appropriately, this knowledge is worthless.
Veronica Coulshed, Joan Orme

Chapter 5. Social Work Processes: Reflection and Review

Abstract
In the previous chapters mention has been made of both reflection and review. This final chapter in the section on processes explores these in more detail. Both should underpin all social work practice. The difference between them is to do with both timing and the processes involved. At an organisational level, review provides an overview of social work intervention: it can be a one-off event or it can occur periodically. At the level of individual work, it occurs at identified stages within a period of intervention. Reflection is a process which is ongoing throughout all social work intervention and beyond.
Veronica Coulshed, Joan Orme

Methods of Intervention

Frontmatter

Chapter 6. Counselling

Abstract
To state that counselling is fundamental to social work practice is controversial. Criticisms of casework by what has been known as the radical practice movement (Ferguson and Woodward, 2009) have suggested that developments in social work have moved away from a dependence on counselling. Social work has undergone major changes including policy developments such as care management and emerging principles such as user empowerment. Despite these changes, social work still draws on the concepts and skills of counselling (Trevithick, 2005a). The skills, which focus on the relationship, are fundamental to many interventions, even though the context of those interventions may be different. This chapter therefore tries to identify how theories relating to counselling underpin social work.
Veronica Coulshed, Joan Orme

Chapter 7. Crisis Interventions

Abstract
Individuals who come to social work agencies are frequently in crisis precipitated by homelessness, debt, difficulties with looking after children, the onset of dementia or other aspects of living. Others may have experienced or are experiencing trauma and loss. This loss may be an actual one, for example as a result of bereavement, divorce or illness. However, many of the circumstances which constitute crises also involve loss: loss of a home or a job; loss of life as we know it because of illness, injury, mental ill health and many other life events. Some crises are developmental: part of the experiences of the life cycle. Other crises are acute events that have affected the capacity of the person to function. For some people, crises might seem to be a permanent way of living, and they develop mechanisms for coping. For others, one seemingly small event might precipitate feelings of helplessness and render the person incapable of acting. Because people react differently it is therefore important for social workers to understand what is meant by ‘crisis’ as it relates to social work intervention.
Veronica Coulshed, Joan Orme

Chapter 8. Problem Solving Practice

Abstract
It could be argued that all social work is about problem solving. This chapter discusses specific ways of working with individuals to find solutions to their problems that have evolved over time. While the most well established approach has been associated with the well-specified set of procedures of task-centred practice in recent years other approaches have been developed. These concentrate on solving immediate problems rather than trying to identify the cause. Solution-focused practice has therefore been associated with empowering approaches to social work.
Veronica Coulshed, Joan Orme

Chapter 9. Cognitive-Behavioural Work

Abstract
The final chapter in this section looks at problem solving methods that have been developed from psychology but which are playing an increasingly important part in social work practice. The basic tenet of behavioural approaches is that behaviour is learned and unlearned. Much of the work was developed in psychology but behaviourism has influenced social work practice in a number of ways. In working with people with learning difficulties, the principles of ‘normalisation’ or age-appropriate behaviour involve the basic principles of learning theory. Programmes working with offenders, especially those who are dependent upon substances such as drugs or alcohol, have involved cognitive behaviour therapy, as do those working with people experiencing depression.
Veronica Coulshed, Joan Orme

Contexts of Intervention

Frontmatter

Chapter 10. Working with Children and Families

Abstract
The focus of this chapter is on the family as the site of intervention. Although the needs of children are paramount in policy and practice, social work is often about working with families. Many direct referrals to social work are to do with families. Referrals for practical problems sometimes uncover difficulties rooted in unsatisfactory family relationships. Assessments for community care require workers to consider family relationships, and the dynamics of these relationships influence the outcomes of such assessments. Care arrangements for older people, people with disabilities or those with mental health problems may well have to become involved in some family work using their understanding of family dynamics and specialist interventions. Workers in the criminal justice system frequently have to assess both the influence of the family on patterns of offending, and the impact of the offending on family dynamics. Families experience loss and bereavement, or they respond to counselling or short-term work.
Veronica Coulshed, Joan Orme

Chapter 11. Working with Adults

Abstract
Changes in the way that social work is organised to work with adults began with the community care reforms of the 1990s and continue in the 21st century. Community care and care management introduced philosophies for the provision of services built on notions of the market into care. This altered practice for those involved in delivering those services.
Veronica Coulshed, Joan Orme

Chapter 12. Working with Groups

Abstract
It is sometimes assumed that groupwork is any method of intervention with more than two people, but it is more than this. Theories of groupwork, drawing on social psychology, demonstrate that bringing people together in groups precipitates particular processes. Handled carefully, these processes can be powerful forces for positive change. As Trevithick (2005b) argues, the knowledge base of groupwork in social work includes three important areas: theoretical knowledge, factual knowledge and practice knowledge. The skill of good groupwork is being able to understand how these relate to each other and interweave.
Veronica Coulshed, Joan Orme

Chapter 13. Working with Communities

Abstract
A dwindling emphasis on working with communities in statutory work during the 1980s led to suggestions that community work is not part of social work. However, community work has always been part of wider definitions of social work which, with individual work and groupwork, involves a ‘holy trinity’ of approaches. Community work can be a distinct form of practice and calls upon a theoretical and knowledge base that is more sociological and less psychological than individual work and groupwork (Payne, 1995). However, this chapter argues that this knowledge base informs practice in and with communities in a variety of ways. In addition, because community approaches in social work require a change of emphasis from individual to community and collective (Ferguson and Woodward, 2009), they should be an integral part of empowering social work. The chapter starts however by discussing the contested nature of the term community.
Veronica Coulshed, Joan Orme

Conclusion

Abstract
Writing a conclusion to a text that was first written 20 years ago and is now in its fifth edition seems to be a contradiction! One conclusion is that social work, despite its many challenges, is here to stay. Another could be that social work practice is resistant to change.
Veronica Coulshed, Joan Orme
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