Generalist Social Work Practice : An Empowering Approach (Updated Edition)

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  • Edition: 6th
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2010-01-10
  • Publisher: Pearson
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Supplemental Materials

What is included with this book?


With its focus on empowerment and extensive coverage of ethics and values,Generalist Social Work Practice, 6/e, provides excellent coverage of: evidence-based practice, policy practice, social justice and human rights, end-of-life-care, diversity and special population groups, including immigrants, veterans, and older adults.

Author Biography


Karla Miley, MSW,LSW is Professor Emerita, Black Hawk College, Moline, Illinois.  She has been a graduate and undergraduate social work educator in Illinois and Iowa for thirty years.  Professor Miley received her masters degree in social work in 1966 at the University of Chicago, School of Social Service Administration.  She has extensive social work practice and consultation experience in school social work, health care, child welfare, and aging services.  Professor Miley has served as a member on a number of community agency initiatives and boards. She has published several articles on ethics and empowerment and has co-authored two social work texts on empowerment in social work: Social Work: An Empowering Profession with Brenda DuBois and Generalist Social Work Practice: An Empowering Approach with Brenda DuBois and Michael O’Melia.

Michael O'Melia is an Associate Professor in the St. Ambrose University MSW Program.  He specializes in teaching clinical social work with expertise in generalist, collaborative, and anti-oppressive methods.  O’Melia is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Illinois, working for over thirty years with individuals, couples, families and small groups in child welfare, delinquency prevention, family therapy, and school-based practice settings.  In addition to co-authoring Generalist Social Work Practice: An Empowering Approach, O’Melia is co-editor of Pathways to Power: Reading in Contextual Social Work Practice.  Functioning as a community trainer and program consultant, O’Melia focuses on developing culturally competent practices, working with resistant and mandated clients, and implementing strength-based clinical strategies.  He also sits on the Social Work Advisory Board for Pearson Education, serves as a member of the Editorial Advisory Board of the Rumanian Social Work Review, and contributes as an editor to the Journal of Progressive Human Services.


Brenda DuBois, MSW,LCSW, Ph.D. is Professor of Social Work at St. Ambrose University, Davenport, Iowa. She has been a graduate and undergraduate social work educator in Iowa for thirty-three years.  Professor DuBois received her masters degree in social work in 1977 at the University of Iowa and a doctorate in educational administration from Illinois State University in 2002. She has extensive social work practice and consultation experience in public welfare, community planning, organizational development, and program evaluation.  Dr. DuBois serves as a member on a number of community agency initiatives, ethics committees, and as a board member to agencies in the Quad Cities. She has published several articles on ethics and empowerment and has co-authored two social work texts on empowerment in social work: Social Work: An Empowering Profession with Karla Miley and Generalist Social Work Practice: An Empowering Approach with Karla Miley and Michael O’Melia.


Table of Contents

&>PART 1  Social Work Practice Perspectives  

1 Generalist Social Work Practice  

Social Work Values and Purpose  

Human Dignity and Worth  

Social Justice  

Defining Social Work  

Achieving the Purpose of Social Work  

Generalist Social Work  

Levels of Intervention in Generalist Practice  

Policy and Generalist Practice  

Research in Generalist Practice  

Advantages of a Multifaceted Approach  

Social Work Functions and Roles  


Resource Management  


Integrating Generalist Functions  

Assessing Your Competence

Looking Forward  

2 Human System Perspectives  

The Knowledge Base of Generalist Practice  

Theoretical Frameworks for Practice  

Developing a Practice Framework  

Analyzing Theoretical Perspectives  

Key Perspectives for Empowering Practice  


Social Constructionism 

Feminist Perspective  

The Ecosystems Perspective  

Humans in Context  

Focus on Transactions  

Development as Evolutionary Change  


View of Dysfunction  

Implications for Change 


Human Systems  

System Defined  

Dimensions of Systems  

A Structural View of Systems  

An Interactional View of Systems  

Biopsychosocial Dimensions  

Cultural Influences  

Ecosystems: A Conceptual Framework for Practice  

Identify the Focal System  

What’s Happening Inside the System?  

What’s Happening Outside the System?  

How Do the Inside and Outside Connect?  

How Does the System Move through Time?  

Applying the Ecosystems Framework 


Assessing Your Competence

Looking Forward  

3 Values and Multicultural Competence  

Frames of Reference  

Your Frame of Reference Shows  

Professional Values and Practice Principles  






Access to Resources  



Value Conflicts in Practice: An Example  

Personal Values and Resources  

Use of Self in Social Work  

Increasing Self-Awareness  

Values and Principles in Action: A Practice Example  

How Values Influence Practice  

Values and Diversity  

Multicultural Competence  

Cultural Diversity Defined  

Proficient Multicultural Practice  

Cultural Competence  

Cultural Sensitivity  

Cultural Responsiveness 


A Generalist View of Cultural Competence  

Practitioner-Level Cultural Competence  

Agency-Level Cultural Competence  

Community-Level Cultural Competence  

Assessing Your Competence

Looking Forward  

4 Strengths and Empowerment  

Strengths Perspective  

Practice Assumptions  

Key Transitions  

Applying a Strengths Perspective  


Personal Dimensions of Empowerment  

Interpersonal Dimensions of Empowerment  

Sociopolitical Dimensions of Empowerment  


Empowerment as a Concept and a Process  

Empowerment-Based Practice  

The Paradox of an Empowering Process  

Collaboration and Partnership  

Characteristics of Empowerment-Centered Social Workers  

Empowerment-Oriented Strategies  

Assessing Your Competence

Looking Forward  

5 An Empowering Approach to Generalist Practice  

Elements of an Empowering Generalist Approach  

Infusing an Ecosystems Perspective  

Reflecting a Social Justice Commitment  

Applying a Strengths Orientation  

Collaborating with Clients  

Constructing an Empowering Reality  

Phases and Processes of Empowering Practice  

The Dialogue Phase  

The Discovery Phase  

The Development Phase  

From Solving Problems to Promoting Competence  

Processes in Action: Practice Examples  

An Example at the Microlevel  

An Example at the Mezzolevel

An Example at the Macrolevel  

Multilevel Intervention in Generalist Pracitice: Integrative Case Example


Intervention at the Microlevel
Intervention at the Mezzolevel
Intervetnion at the Macrolevel

Assessing Your Competence

Looking Forward  

PART 2  The Dialogue Phase: Building Relationships and Describing Situations  

6 Forming Partnerships  

Collaboration and Partnership  

The Dilemma of Social Workers as Experts  

The Rewards of Clients as Experts  

The Social Worker’s Role  

Agency Influences on Worker-Client Relationships  

Making Initial Contacts 

Recognizing What Clients Bring  

Initiating Collaboration  

Beginning Steps: A Practice Example 

Qualities of Professional Partnerships  


Acceptance and Respect  



Cultural Sensitivity  


Constructing Empowering Relationships 

Recognizing Rights  

Taking Responsibilities  

Discussing Rights and Responsibilities  

Augmenting Power  

When Clients Feel Powerless  

Collaborating with Oppressed Clients  

Voluntary and Involuntary Clients  

Partnerships with Larger Systems  

Respecting Confidentiality 

Absolute and Relative Confidentiality 

Violating Confidentiality  

Informed Consent for Releasing Information 

Privileged Communication 

Balancing Accountability and Privacy  

Assessing Your Competence

Looking Forward 


7 Articulating Situations  

Empowering Dialogue  

Listening and Responding  

Proactive Responding  

Describing the Current Situation  

Orienting toward Goals  

Searching for Strengths and Resources  

Sizing Up Situations  

Exchanging Information  

Verbal Communication  

Nonverbal Communication  

Influences on Communication Processes  

Assessing the Client’s Perspective  

Responding to Thoughts  

Allowing Space  

Nonverbal Responses  

Single Word Responses  



Summary Clarification  

Request to Continue 


Combining Responses  

Practice Example  

Responding to Feelings  

The Experience of Feelings  

Identifying Feelings  

Verbalizing Feelings  

Validating Feelings  

Special Issues in Responding  

Responding to Anger  

Responding to Silence  

Responding to Questions  

Responding to Feedback from Clients 

Responding to Larger Client Systems  

Facilitating Discussion 
Respecting Existing Functioning  

Assessing Your Competence

Looking Forward  

8 Defining Directions  

Transforming Challenges into Directions 

Orienting Forward, Not Back  

Framing the Search for Resources  

Integrating Transactional Dimensions  

Considering Client Motivation  

A Transactional View of Motivation  

Motivating Clients Who Have Given Up  

Aligning Worker and Client Motivations  

Motivating Larger Systems  

Collaborating with Clients Who Resist  

Resistance Is Motivated  

Cooperating with Resistance  

Overcoming Environmental Resistance  

Cooperating with Mandated Clients  

Constructing Workers’ Expectations  

Structuring a Working Partnership  

Defining a Motivating Direction  

Taking Priority Actions  

Responding to Trauma  

Responding to the Threat of Suicide  

Responding to Threats toward Others  

Responding to Child Abuse  

Responding to Elder Abuse  

Responding to Intimate Partner Violence 

Responding to Survival Needs  

Responding to Signs of Addiction  

Assessing Your Competence

Looking Forward 

PART 3  The Discovery Phase: Assessing Resourcesand Planning Change  

9 Identifying Strengths  

Infusing a Strengths Perspective 

What Are Strengths?  

Why Identify Strengths? 

Balancing Strengths and Challenges

Looking for Strengths  

Highlighting Strengths in General Functioning  

Strengths in Individuals 

Strengths in Families  

Strengths in Groups 

Strengths in Organizations  

Strengths in Communities 

Solution-Focused Dialogue  

Creating a Solution-Saturated Atmosphere  

Searching for Exceptions 

Detecting Incremental Steps  

Searching for Transferable Skills  

Recognizing Cultural Strengths  

Strengths in Diversity 

Ethnic Group Strengths  

African Americans  

Latino Americans 

Asian Americans  

Native Americans  

Strengths in Cultural Group Memberships  


Gays and Lesbians  

Older Adults  

Religious Affiliations and Spirituality 

Persons with Disabilities  

Clients as Resources for Understanding Cultures  

Uncovering Strengths in Adversity  

Surviving Oppression  

Surviving Violence  

Surviving Family Disruption  

Assessing Your Competence

Looking Forward  

10 Assessing Resource Capabilities  

Exploring Resource Systems through Assessment  

Recognizing Environmental Resources  

Turning Challenging Situations into Resources  

Collaborating to Search for Resources  

Applying Theoretical Frameworks  

Organizing Assessment Using a Five-Point Ecosystemic Schema  

Practice Example: Franklin Courts 

Organizing Assessment: Applying Ecosystemic Questions 

Assessing Structures  

Assessing Interactions  

Assessing Thinking and Feeling 

Assessing Cultural Influences  

Assessing Spiritual Dimensions  

Assessing Physical Environments  

Putting the Pieces Together  

Using Assessment Tools  

Social Histories  



Culturally Sensitive Assessment 

Social Network Maps  

Group Assessment  

Organizational Assessment  

Neighborhood and Community Assessment  

Tools as Resources for Empowerment 

Adding Viewpoints 

Bringing in Significant Others  

Contacting Other Professionals  

Assessing through Observation 

Observations by Clients 

Observations by Workers  



Types of Recording Formats  

Ethical and Legal Issues in Recordkeeping  

Assessing Your Competence

Looking Forward  

11 Framing Solutions  

Collaborative Planning Processes 

Client Expertise in Planning  

Worker Expertise in Planning  

Issues Affecting Collaborative Planning 

Planning in Multiperson Systems  

Goals and Objectives  

Differentiating Goals and Objectives  

Considering Goals  

Translating Goals into Objectives  

Constructing Action Plans  

Crystallizing Outcome Goals  

Writing Effective Objectives  

Prioritizing Objectives  

Screening Generalist Intervention Strategies  

Choosing Effective Strategies  

Delineating Tasks and Responsibilities  

Setting Reviews and Evaluations  


The Evolving Contract  

Contracting as an Empowering Process 

Assessing Your Competence

Looking Forward  

PART 4  The Development Phase: Implementing, Evaluating,and Stabilizing Change  

12 Activating Resources  

Applying Generalist Intervention Skills  

Intervention across System Levels 

Maintaining Progress in the Action Plan  

Implementing Action Plans  

Enhancing Interactions  

Sustaining Motivation  

Developing Power  

Promoting Leadership  

Recognizing Choices  

Locating Genuine Options  

Magnifying Strengths  

Changing Perspectives  

Offering Feedback  

Constructing Feedback  

Creating New Concepts  

Using Narrative Strategies  

Trying Out New Behaviors  

Managing Resources  

Linking Clients with Resources  

Client Advocacy 

Maximizing Clients’ Rights  



Sharing Information  

Assessing Your Competence

Looking Forward  

13 Creating Alliances 

The Power of Alliances  

Developing Alliances through Groups  

Groups and Empowerment 

Mutual Aid in Groups  

Self-Help Groups 

Social Action through Group Work

Strengthening Natural Support Alliances 

Social Support  

Workers’ Roles in Encouraging Social Support  

Case Management: Client-Service Alliances  

Case Management Defined  

The Purpose of Case Management  

Case Management in Action: A Practice Example  

Case Management Activities with Clients  

Case Management Activities with the Delivery System 

Workers’ Resources for Case Management  

Critical Issues and Ethical Dilemmas  

Organizational Alliances for Service Delivery  

Building Interagency Coalitions  

Working on Teams  

Leading Effective Meetings  

Professional Support Networks  

Alliances within Organizations  

Job Stress and Burnout  

Professional Memberships  

Connections in Cyberspace  

Assessing Your Competence

Looking Forward  

14 Expanding Opportunities  

Opportunities: Keys to Empowerment  

Empowerment and Opportunities 

Empowerment in Groups and Communities  

Resource Expansion 

Identifying Resource Shortages  

Mobilizing Resources  

Educating the Public  

Writing Grant Proposals 

Community Change  

Processes for Working with Communities

Working with Communities through Organizing

Working with Communities through Development

Social Work as a Political Profession

Political Perspectives

Political Perspectives Applied to Social Work

Policy Development  

Policy Analysis and Change  

Consumer Participation in Policy Development  

Social Activism and Social Advocacy  

A Heritage of Social Reform  

Promoting Social Action  

Advocacy Role  

Legislative Advocacy  

Legislative Analysis  


Legislative Testimony 

Assessing Your Competence

Looking Forward 


15 Recognizing Success  

Social Work Evaluation and Research  

Integrating Practice and Research  

Evidence-Based Practice

Steps for Evidence-Based Decision-Making

Implications for Social Work Practice

Practice Evaluation  

Progress Evaluation  

Client Outcome Assessment  

Program Evaluation  


The Research Process 

Research Terminology  

Ethics in Research  

Single-System Designs  

Elements of Single-System Designs  

Types of Single-System Designs  

Limitations of Single-System Designs  

Assessing Your Competence

Looking Forward  

16 Integrating Gains  

Social Work Endings 

Completing Contracts  

Preparing for Resolution 

Discussing Readiness  


Sharing Feelings 

Generalizing Outcomes  

Firming Up Social Supports  

Celebrations and Ritualized Endings 
Looking to the Future
Following -Up

Closing with Referral  

Acknowledging Limited Resources  

Implementing Legal Mandates 

Making Referrals  

Responding to Clients’ Discontinuation of Services  

Preparing for Early Discontinuation  

Recognizing Exit Clues  

Resolving Unplanned Exits  

When Clients Die  


End of Life Care

Grieving the Death of a Client 

Resolving Relationships with Larger Systems  

Small Group Endings  

Resolving Intermember Relationships  

Endings with Organizations and Communities  

Assessing Your Competence

Endings Are Beginnings  


Appendix: Comprehensive Case Study: Client Empowerment: Surviving Domestic Violence



Author Index  


Subject Index

Rewards Program

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