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About this book

Focusing on the challenges of achieving good practice, this popular textbook reflects recent developments in social work within the context of contemporary society, law and policy. Getting to the heart of what this profession is all about, Understanding Social Work continues to offer an excellent foundation for readers for anyone wanting a better understanding of the social work role. What is social work? How is it carried out? What skills does it require?

Table of Contents

1. Making Sense of Social Work

Abstract
The main focus of this chapter is the attempt to clarify the nature and purposes of social work – that is, to try to establish some degree of clarity about what social work is.
Neil Thompson

2. The Legal and Policy Context

Abstract
Although it is clear that social workers have a considerable degree of professional autonomy in some respects, the steps that can be taken are heavily constrained by the law and the policies that arise from it.
Neil Thompson

3. The Knowledge Base

Abstract
In Chapter 2 it was emphasized that, although the legal and policy context is an extremely important influence on practice, it does not prescribe in fine detail how we should proceed in any particular situation – there is still considerable professional autonomy, in the sense that the individual social worker has to make decisions about what he or she does.
Neil Thompson

4. The Skills Base

Abstract
It was emphasized in Chapter 3 that the knowledge base, although very important indeed, does not give us ready-made answers as to how we should proceed in a given situation.
Neil Thompson

5. The Value Base

Abstract
Social work involves working with some of the most disadvantaged sections of the community and with people who, for a variety of reasons, are experiencing major problems and distress, often with unmet needs and other difficulties that may at times seem intractable.
Neil Thompson

6. Achieving Good Practice

Abstract
Social work is a very responsible professional activity which brings with it many pressures.
Neil Thompson

7. Facing the Challenge

Abstract
Schön, in his work on reflective practice, writes of the ‘messiness’ of practice, the complexity, ambiguity and uncertainty of day-to-day reality for practitioners.
Neil Thompson
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