This chapter aims to help practitioners feel confident in using theory in their practice. It discusses the different kinds of social work theory and the arguments around them, and explains how all of this may be useful in practice. It shows how social work theory in general, and practice theory in particular, is socially constructed in interactions between clients and practitioners in their agencies and in wider political, social and cultural arenas. This makes clear that we build both practice and theory through our experience operating in the real world; they are not given to us from on high. Social construction ideas also show that practice and theory are not separate, settled bodies of knowledge, but constantly evolve and influence each other. Change in social work, and in the lives of practitioners and clients, is possible through engagement in this process of evolution of ideas and practice.
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