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Principles of Generalist Social Work Practice I

Understand clients from a systems perspective.

In our society, not everyone has the resources, familial support or mental/emotional capacity to navigate their lives independently. Safety nets exist within federal, state and local governments in the form of funding and services, but access to these programs isn’t always easily available. That’s where you can come in. As a social worker, you can help the underserved people in our society find the help they need, whether in the form of housing, foster homes, drug treatment or other services. You’ll provide counsel, healing and, in some cases, protection to those who are most vulnerable.

Course Description

In SOWK 6315 Principles of Generalist Social Work Practice I, you’ll improve your basic interpersonal skills of talking and listening as you examine ways to successfully engage your clients so you can begin assessing their needs.

Every client you encounter will have a story. It’s the story of their life – where they come from, how they got where they are, who they are, who they want to be. As a social worker, your job is to listen and learn about who they are, what they need, what they’re willing to do and how you can help them.

As you learn to gather and organize data and information that will help you arrive at an accurate picture of the person-in-environment situation, you’ll be introduced to Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT), the evidence-based practice used to identify, reduce, and prevent problematic use, abuse, and dependence on alcohol and illicit drugs – all too common issues among clients.

You’ll examine the concept of professionalism and consider integrity, professional knowledge, self-understanding and self-control, as well as social support. Within your work with clients, critical thinking is a vital skill and you’ll improve your ability to approach problems from a variety of perspectives. Social workers confront complex ethical dilemmas daily. You’ll incorporate ethical decision making into your social work practice. To ensure that you understand your ethical obligations, you’ll review Codes of Conduct, including the Worden School Student Code of Conduct.

As a social worker, you’ll encounter and serve a wide and varied array of individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities, including LGBTQ clients and clients from religious-minority backgrounds. You’ll learn to secure and protect human dignity and individual rights, advance social justice and promote social well-being as you embrace diversity and difference.

By contracting with your clients, you work together throughout the duration of their services to establish goals, develop plans to pursue and achieve those goals, and create plans to evaluate progress toward goal achievement. Ending relationships is complex and terminating a client relationship requires a special set of skills. The most common forms of concluding relationships with clients are transfer, referral, termination, and client discontinuation. You’ll evaluate how to guide your clients through this process ethically and professionally.

Sample Learning Exercise

During a role-playing exercise with a classmate, you’ll screen and assess a “client” for substance abuse problems or at-risk use and determine their level of risk.

Assignment Example

Throughout this course, you’ll research and develop an in-depth cultural competence paper that describes an underserved client population. You’ll identify the population and explain why their needs are not being met. The purpose of this assignment is to increase your knowledge about how to work in a culturally competent manner with children and families of underserved populations.

Course Topics

During this course, you’ll focus on a core topic or theme each week. Sample topics are listed below and are subject to change based on the instructor.

  • Introduction
  • Self-Awareness
  • Ethical Decision Making
  • Talking, Listening, Preparing and Beginning
  • Self-care and Catch-up
  • Exploring and Assessment
  • Contracting and Working Phase
  • Termination

Learning Outcomes

You’ll be able to use the skills, methods and information you learn in SWOK 6315 to help improve your clients’ lives.

  • Demonstrate social work values and ethics for professional social work practice with a focus on human rights and social and economic justice with diverse populations.
  • Understand the basics of the ecological theory and perspective that guide the social work practice with work individual, families, and groups.
  • Practice Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT).
  • Be able to perform Motivational Interviewing and Brief Negotiated Interviews (BNIs).
  • Apply core social work practice skills: interviewing, communication, information collection, assessment, documentation, termination, and evaluation of practice.
  • Use different assessment and intervention skills needed to serve diverse populations.
  • Articulate and define social work roles and effective engagement, communication and use of self-skills with clients, in organizations, and communities working with diverse populations.
  • Appreciate the nature of prejudice and the impact of discrimination on individuals and groups, especially in regard to race, gender, disability, sexual identity, and ethnicity.

Learn More About Helping Others

In SOWK 6315, you’ll be introduced to the social work skills used in this profession. To learn more about this course or any other course in the online Master of Social Work from Our Lady of the Lake University, call 855-275-1082 to speak with an admissions advisor right away, or you can request more information.

The content presented on this page is representative information for example purposes and is subject to change as course and student needs change over time.

Programs that include this course