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SWK 500: Course Intro

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Course Description

Direct Practice I (SWK 500) is the first of a two-course generalist foundation practice sequence required of all students.  It explores the history, foundations, domains, values, ethics, philosophy and roles of advanced generalist social work practice.  The overall goal of social work practice is to enhance the social functioning of individuals, families, groups, public and private organizations and institutions, and rural and urban communities.  Given this overall goal, basic theories, values, ethics and methods generic to social work practice at various system levels are presented.  


Combining classroom and skills laboratory, the courses introduces students to the ecological perspective advanced generalist problem-solving process, and empowerment in social work practice.  Also examined are assessment and planning processes and issues; the social work relationship including the influences of race, ethnicity, class, culture, gender, sexual orientation and varying abilities; and effective relationship-building, interviewing and evaluative skills.   In this course, in contrast to SWK 501 (Direct Practice II), primary attention is given to social work practice with individuals and families.

Learning Outcomes

1.  To understand the historical foundations, domains, philosophy, values, ethics, and roles of social work practice.

2.  To examine and understand the values and ethics of social work and their applicability in practice and to assess and differentiate personal values compared social work values.

3.  To develop basic knowledge of social work practice at micro, meso and macro levels, i.e. practice with individuals, families, groups, organizations, institutions, and communities.

4.  To develop knowledge and skills based on an ecological  perspective, generalist problem-solving process and an empowerment perspective (EPPSE framework) applied to social work practice at all levels, with a focus on individual and family systems, including:

a.   contact and engagement and with the client system

b.   problem identification

c.   assessment

d.   goal-setting and contracts

e.   interventions

f.    evaluation

g.   termination

5.   To develop and apply generalist social work practice knowledge to individuals and families, including professional use of self and relationship-building skills, such as:

h.   structuring the physical environment

i.    reflective listening

j.    empathy

k.   distinguishing content from feelings

l.    concreteness

m. genuineness

n.   respect/acceptance

o.   congruence

p.   authenticity

6.   To expand knowledge of individual and group differences, including those related to Rural/urban environments, race, culture, ethnicity, social class, gender, age, sexual orientation, religion and disabilities and to develop skills to promote social justice.

7.   To assess personal strengths and limitations as related to knowledge and skills necessary for problem-solving, interviewing and relationship-building.

8.   To develop basic generalist knowledge of social work practice in rural and urban areas.

Subject Guide

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Jaquatta Causey, MLIS
The J. F. Drake Memorial LRC
4900 Meridian Street #207A/B
Normal, AL 35762