According to pearsonhighered.com the Generalist approach to practice began to emerge in the late 1960s. As Balinsky stated, “the complexity of human problems necessitates a broadly oriented practitioner with a versatile repertoire of methods and skills capable of interacting in any one of a number of systems.” The generalist practice contains two fundamental components. First, it provides a perspective from which the social worker views the practice situation. Social systems theory helps the social worker to maintain a focus on the interaction between systems- that is, the person-environment transaction- and to continually look for ways to intervene in more than one relevant system. Secondly rather than attempting to make the clients situation fit the methodological orientation of the social worker, the situation is viewed as determining the practice approach to be used. Thus the social worker is required to have a broad knowledge and skill and to have the ability to appropriately select from those basic competences to meet the needs of the client. According to pearsonhighered.com in contrast to the generalist the specialist social worker practice is characterized by the application of selected knowledge and skills to a narrowed area of practice based practice setting, population served, social problems addressed and/or practice intervention mode used. In other words this practice approach begins with a preference about the knowledge and skills required for practice in that specialized area and serves clients whose needs fit into those more narrow, but in-depth worker competences.
Morales , Armando, Bradford W. Sheafor, and Malcolm E. Scott. "Social Work: A Profession of Many Faces, Eleventh Edition.." Social Work: A Comprehensive Helping Profession. Pearson Allyn & Bacon, n.d. Web. 12 Feb. 2013. <www.pearsonhighered.com/samplechapter/0205636837.pdf>