Casework: A Psychosocial Therapy Review

Casework: A Psychosocial Therapy
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I have been teaching graduate social work for fifteen years and have yet to discover a text about psychosocial casework that surpasses this revised classic in its clarity, depth, thouroughness, and wisdom. The basic psychosocial orientation and typology of casework procedures defined by Florence Hollis remains intact, yet the text, as a whole, is substantially updated by Mary Woods, whose fluid prose is rich in clinical detail, articulate, and aimed at what the practitioner yearns to know and needs to know. As an experienced clinician, I still turn frequently to the chapters on couple and family treatment where protocols for navigating these exceptionally tricky modalities are clearly presented. In chapter 16, for example, Mary Woods develops a typology of "relationships and problems" detailing 12 patterns of couple conflict that, in itself, serves as a primer for the novice practitioner. Approaches to nontraditional couples (premarital couples, unmarried pairs, cross-cultural relationships, and gay and lesbian couples) are amply discussed as well with sensitive consideration of social differentials in power experienced by men and women and by couples of color. The text consistently partializes assessment and techniques of intervention so that one can read and assimilate complex clinical procedures in bite size pieces. Heuristics are laced throughout the text, giving one a feeling of personal guidance. The fifth edition of Casework is a treasure chest for students and teachers of social work and the helping professions to dig into time and time again.

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Known in academic circles as the "bible" for clinical practitioners of social work, Casework: A Psychosocial Therapy introduces readers to the basic theory and principles in the practice of psychosocial therapy, along with attention to the historical development of the approach as it has been enriched and expanded over the years.The authors' approach reflects a balanced focus on people, their environment, and the ways in which people interact with their environment. Essential techniques including how to conduct initial interviews with clients, crisis intervention, arriving at assessments, and choosing appropriate treatment, are thoroughly explained, and often clarified with case studies and vignettes, preparing readers to assess social work clients from a variety of perspectives.The book is designed for the graduate-level student who needs to master the principles, theories, and approaches of the psychosocial approach to applied practice, but it may also be used to fit a variety of courses, including the Introduction to Social Work BSW student who is looking for supplemental information on the basics of clinical practice.Now in its fifth edition, Casework has been thoroughly revised to keep discussions clear and up to date.New material has been added throughout, including a greater variety of case studies, discussions about current topics such as the influence of ethnicity and diversity in the social work practice, changes in family life roles, changes in ideas and practice approaches, and a significantly updated bibliography for reference.

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