BOOK REVIEW: GENERALIST PRACTICE IN SOCIAL WORK

Topics: Sociology, Social work, Social justice Pages: 8 (4305 words) Published: May 13, 2014
GENERALIST PRACTICE WITH ORGANIZATIONS & COMMUNITIES
As generalist, social workers operate from a base of diverse skills which enable them to help individuals with personal problems, while simultaneously confronting the larger issues which are problematic for communities or organizations. Based upon the Generalist Intervention Model, today’s social worker must be equipped with a skill set that is able to address micro, mezzo and macro systems in order to effect change and address issues at each of these levels. Micro systems are defined as individuals, mezzo systems represent small groups and macro systems are large organizations and communities. This book outlines the bases of these three areas of practice in the form of a guide. We are shown the commonalities between the three systems. More importantly a practical model for initiating macro change in organizations and communities is provided in detail; along with analysis of the specific skill set required to enact these changes thru the macro intervention process. This book is essential for helping the social worker to understand how to effectively advocate for client resources and services, by using agency skills within a community context. The ability to navigate from community to agency, in providing client services is the bases of achievement within the social worker profession. Knowledge of the macro system as it pertains to the role of the agency is germaine to establishing what a social worker can and cannot accomplish for their client. Similarly community issues must be understood for the impact that they present on the social workers ability to perform. The core of the book’s ideology on generalist practitioners is that they possess a wide diverse skill set along with comprehensive understanding of organizational functioning, to perform as a liaison helping their clients (micro system) to benefit from the macro system. Specifically, the book delineates the need for social workers to be thoroughly aware of how organizations function within the community and within towns, counties, states, the national and on the international level, to have a working framework that will enable them to help individual clients, groups, families and communities. This book seeks to address the means of accessing resources and contributing to effecting change within the organization to this end. In exploring the macro systems, diverse methods of intervention are presented, from the perspective of how they affect the social worker’s ability to provide services at the community and organizational levels. The strategies offered in the exploration of the generalist intervention model have proven effective when utilized to present ideas involving changes at the macro level, which are based upon experiences encountered in providing micro services. This is an essential part of the social worker’s role, helping the agency to improve service to clients, from input gained from the social worker in actual practice. Generalist practice is an outgrowth from historical social worker practice, in its expansive approach which incorporates a wide knowledge of skills and professional values enabling the social worker to work across the board, in providing specific client services. This model represents a change in the historical practice of having practicitioners specialize in one area of practice, such as with individuals or administration. In employing the generalist approach the overriding benefit is that problems are now dealt with from numerous perspectives that may involve all three systems. Presenting the foundation for generalist practice the authors define knowledge, skills and values as the basic three areas needed to be assessed when evaluating any problem. This paradigm is further broken down into the steps to be undertaken to put the model into usage. These fundamental critical thinking skills include engagement, assessment, planning, implementation, evaluation, termination and...
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