Social Work Theories and
Summary and Assessment Guidance
Nigel Horner
Lecture Overview
 Charting our journey
 Reminding ourselves of the Rationale
 Revisiting Core Concepts
 Relating to Practice
 The Assessment Format
 Key Tips for Success
 Next Week…………………
 Any questions?
Charting Our Journey
 Why this matters?
 Distinguishing between Theory (of Explanation)
and Method (of Intervention)
 Psychodynamic approaches
 Behavioural and Cognitive Behavioural
 Systems models
 Existential and Humanistic approaches
 Crisis Intervention and Task Centred Practice
 Strengths Based Approaches
 Radical / Structural models
Reminding Ourselves of the Rationale
 Indeed we have only the most general ideas
of what we are trying to produce, what
constitutes the essential skill of the social
worker, and consequently still more varied
ideas of how to set about it (Younghusband,
 50 years on, do we know what social
workers do and how they do it?
The Current Definition
 The social work profession promotes social
change, problem - solving in human relationships
and empowerment and liberation of people to
enhance well being. Utilising theories of human
behaviour and social systems, social work
intervenes at the points where people interact
with their environments. Principles of human
rights and social justice are fundamental to social
work” (International Association of Schools of
Social Work and the International Federation of
Social Workers, 2001, in BASW, 2002)
The Purpose of Social Work Intervention
 ….the need for social work intervention
arises when the resources available to an
individual, family or community are
insufficient for them to achieve preferred or
required outcomes……
 In other words, social work intervention is a
response to the apparent incapacity of the
service user target to achieve their goals
without assistance from an external agency
Theories and Methods
Theories are constructs of
explanation: What’s Going On?
Methods are models of
intervention, or practice: What
Are We Going To Do About It?
Theory and Method
 Theories
 Methods
 Attachment
 Play work
 Behaviour modification
 Learning
 Cognitive
 Developmental or  Humanistic counselling
Existential Crisis
 Bereavement Counselling
 Loss
 Family Therapy or Social
 Eco systems
Relating to Practice
 Intervention follows from and is bound together
with assessment and planning and relates to the
methods and models to be used to achieve changes
or outcomes that have been identified and agreed
(Parker, 2007: 118)
 Intervention can thus be seen as situated as an
element in an apparently sequential process of
ASPIRE, APIE or APIR, although such linearity is
itself a contested notion
The Assessment Format
 You may bring a dictionary, but no other text
 You can bring in your set of notes, not copies of
slides, handouts etc:
 You can bring in up to ten pages of your own
notes in. The idea is that you revise the material
from the books, handouts and articles which have
been recommended and make notes on all of the
relevant theories and methods.
And remember……………
 ~This is Level One………….we are
seeking to ensure you have the basics for
practice……….nothing more and nothing
 There are no trick questions………you have
been taught the curriculum on which you
will be assessed, and finally
 We want you to pass and do well!
Key Tips for Success
 Read about the subject…..then read more!
 Prepare good notes!
 Take care with your use of English and aim to
communicate your meaning clearly.
 Use short sentences, avoid too much jargon, and
aim to use clear practical examples and
explanations in relation to any theory or concepts
that you mention.
 Remember that there are links to other modules
that you have already studied and that it will pay
to revisit material e.g child development, mental
health, communication, values and ethics.

Social Work Theories and Methods