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Article

Tony Tripodi and Marina Lalayants

This entry reviews the state of social work research from the appearance of the social work research overview in the previous encyclopedia to the early 2010s. Social work research is defined, and its purposes, contents, training, location, and auspices are briefly discussed. Continuing issues and developments, as well as the emerging developments of evidence-based practice, practice-based research, cultural competence, and international social work research, are featured.

Article

Yekutiel Sabah and Patricia Cook-Craig

The professional commitment of practitioners in a changing society requires them to continuously acquire new professional knowledge. Since robust and relevant knowledge is often in short supply, practitioners must learn to acquire the knowledge they need. Similarly, social agencies must become institutions that support the development of practice innovations by engaging in organizational learning. This implies that they both adopt an organizational culture and create structural arrangements conducive to learning. Given this imperative, the following entry reviews the philosophical, conceptual, and methodological underpinnings of organizational learning as a strategy for guiding practitioners and organizations in a systematic endeavor to invent and manage knowledge. A methodology for the application of organizational learning in social services is presented.

Article

Virginia Rondero Hernandez

Generalist and advanced generalist practice evolved out of a century-long debate about what constitutes social work practice. Generalist practice currently refers to the practice of a bachelor level social worker who demonstrates basic competencies in multilevel, multimethod approaches. Advanced generalist practice refers to the practice of a master social worker who possesses advanced competencies in multilevel, multimethod approaches and is equipped to work independently in complex environments that may require specialized skill sets. The definition and educational content of generalist and advanced generalist practice are poised to be influenced by national debate once again, as the profession examines the merits of evidence-based practice and implementation science and their implications for social work education.

Article

Addie Weaver, Joseph Himle, Gail Steketee, and Jordana Muroff

This entry offers an overview of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). Cognitive behavioral therapy is introduced and its development as a psychosocial therapeutic approach is described. This entry outlines the central techniques and intervention strategies utilized in CBT and presents common disorder-specific applications of the treatment. The empirical evidence supporting CBT is summarized and reviewed. Finally, the impact of CBT on clinical social work practice and education is discussed, with attention to the treatment’s alignment with the profession’s values and mission.

Article

Michael S. Kelly and Marjorie C. Metcalf

Task-centered practice is a social work technology designed to help clients and practitioners collaborate on specific, measurable, and achievable goals. It is designed to be brief (typically, 8–12 sessions) and can be used with individuals, couples, families, and groups in a wide variety of social work practice contexts. With nearly 40 years of practice and research arguing for its effectiveness, task-centered practice can rightfully claim to be one of social work’s original “evidence-based practices,” though the relative paucity of research on its effectiveness in this decade suggests that the approach itself may have become increasingly integrated into other brief social work technologies.

Article

Lawrence Shulman

The article addresses the four major content areas of supervision, including direct practice, professional impact, job management, and continued learning. It also examines supervision models and current challenges including the adoption of evidenced-based practices, a movement away from process supervision, supervision of social workers by other professionals, advances in technology, inter and intra-cultural issues, and changes in the NASW Code of Ethics.

Article

Rates of depression increase during adolescence and may put youth at risk for suicidality, future episodes, and impaired functioning in multiple life domains. Increased vulnerability for depression during this stage may occur because it is when the cognitive capacity for personal reflection, abstract reasoning, and formal operational thought develop; depressive styles for attributing events may hence form, along with hopelessness about the future. However, other biological and social influences may also interact with the increased cognitive vulnerability. Latino ethnicity and female gender appear to exert particular influence. Treatment for adolescent depression includes medication (mainly Prozac and Zoloft), cognitive-behavioral therapy, interpersonal therapy, and family therapy. Medication and psychosocial treatment is also combined, particularly for treatment-resistant depression.

Article

Catherine N. Dulmus and Albert R. Roberts

This entry focuses on serious mental illness among adults, including those having serious and persistent mental illness. Social work's historic and current roles in service delivery are reviewed, its present trends in the field (including the recovery movement, evidence-based practices, comorbidity, and the integration of physical and mental health), as well as the service delivery system and the current needs and challenges it faces, are discussed.

Article

The concept of evidence-based practice (EBP) was introduced in social work by Mary Richmond, who had the revolutionary notion of adopting a more direct practice with clients. The origins of EBP in the United States are traced, as well as its emergence in the Arab world. Discussed are various Arab faculties and departments of social work that include EBP among their academic courses. Social work settings that apply EBP in professional interventions with clients are examined. Barriers and challenges to the processes of both teaching and learning EBP in Arab society are highlighted. The future outlook for EBP in Arab schools of social work is explored.

Article

Ronald W. Toseland and Heather Horton

This entry begins with a brief history of group work in the United States. Next, there is a description of the wide range of treatment and task groups used by social workers. This is followed by a discussion of group dynamics, diversity and social justice issues. Then, there is a brief overview of the developmental stages that groups go through and widely used practice models. The chapter concludes with a brief review of the evidence base for the effectiveness of group work practice.

Article

Edward J. Mullen, Jennifer L. Bellamy, and Sarah E. Bledsoe

This entry describes best practices as these are used in social work. The term best practices originated in the organizational management literature in the context of performance measurement and quality improvement where best practices are defined as the preferred technique or approach for achieving a valued outcome. Identification of best practices requires measurement, benchmarking, and identification of processes that result in better outcomes. The identification of best practices requires that organizations put in place quality data collection systems, quality improvement processes, and methods for analyzing and benchmarking pooled provider data. Through this process, organizational learning and organizational performance can be improved.

Article

Paula S. Nurius

Walter W. Hudson (1934–1999) was a leader in measurement theory, development and testing of assessment and outcome evaluation tools, applied statistics, evidence-based practice methodology, and computer applications for human services practice.

Article

Concepcion Barrio, Mercedes Hernandez, Paula Helu Fernandez, and Judith A. DeBonis

Social workers in health and mental health and across public and private health sectors are expected to be knowledgeable of comprehensive approaches to effectively serve individuals dealing with psychotic disorders, including family members involved in their care. Effective services require expertise in assessment, diagnostics, treatment planning, and coordination of community support services. This article provides a knowledge base for social work practitioners working with clients challenged by the experience and consequences of serious mental illness, such as schizophrenia spectrum and other psychotic disorders. We begin by reviewing the public health significance of these disorders, clinical phenomenology and its historical context, and symptoms and classification. We then discuss the family and cultural context, evidence-based treatments, and several social and clinical issues that social work practitioners should be aware of when working with this client population.

Article

Susan J. Wells and Geoff Johnson

The true extent of child abuse and neglect is unknown but reports to state agencies indicate over 3 million reports concerning maltreatment of over 6 million children are made each year. Confirmed reports involved over 679,000 children in 2013. Yet, only 32% of the children known to be harmed by maltreatment in the community are investigated by child protective services. The perplexing dilemma in surveillance and service delivery is how to identify those who need help without spuriously including those who do not. This entry focuses on the definition of maltreatment and provides an overview of the history, etiology, and consequences of child abuse and neglect as well as the current trends and dilemmas in the field. To afford some perspective for the reader, some international data and information are provided.

Article

This entry focuses on services for adults with severe mental illness, specifically the five psychosocial interventions considered evidence-based practices. The emergence of psychiatric rehabilitation, the only professional discipline designed to serve a specified population, is described. The primary historical practice approaches, which are the foundation for psychiatric rehabilitation, are discussed. Each of the five evidence-based practices is then described with the empirical supporting evidence. The emphasis on this population and interventions were selected as social workers are the major providers for this population and frequent implementers and developers of these interventions.

Article

Lonnie R. Snowden

This entry describes the extent of the mental health problem in the United States, trends in treatment rates, and evidence that public recognition of mental illness and related interventions is increasing both in the United States and internationally. Emphasis is given to the structure of the mental health system's major sectors, to the key roles that social workers play, and to the challenges they face, outlined at the conclusion of several sections, in providing effective and quality care against the complex backdrop of this system.

Article

Allan Hugh Cole Jr.

This entry discusses principal ways in which knowledge and knowing have been understood within philosophy, science, and social science, with implications for contemporary social work practice. Attention is given to various types of knowledge, its necessary conditions, scope, and sources. It focuses particularly on how practice wisdom remains a key source of knowledge for social work theory and practice, and suggests that greater epistemological clarity could further competent social work practice in an increasingly pluralistic world.

Article

Edith M. Freeman

This article defines social work methods and then presents a framework with criteria for analyzing methods from a social work perspective. These criteria are organized into the boundary, value, prescriptive, descriptive, therapeutic bond and tasks, and evidence dimensions. The framework is designed to encourage social workers in all functions to analyze how well a particular method meets these interrelated client-centered criteria, and to use them, modify them, or not use them accordingly. The lessons from this analysis are summarized in terms of the profession's continuing role in identifying essential criteria and building knowledge about effective social work methods.

Article

Enola Proctor and Alicia Bunger

Implementation science seeks to inform how to deliver evidence-based interventions, programs, and policies in real-world settings so their benefits can be realized and sustained. The aim of implementation science is building a base of evidence about the most effective processes and strategies for improving service delivery. Implementation research builds upon effectiveness research and then seeks to discover how to use specific implementation strategies and to move interventions into specific settings, extending their availability, reach, and benefits to clients and communities. This article provides an overview of implementation science as a component of research translation with an emphasis on traditional social work practice settings. The article begins by defining key terms, including implementation and evidence-based interventions. To inform conceptualization of implementation studies, the article continues with an overview of guiding implementation theories, models, and frameworks that explain the role of the multi-level practice context for implementation. Next, the article defines implementation strategies, identifies sources of implementation strategies, and provides recommendations for specifying and describing strategies that allow for replication. The article then describes methodological issues, including variable measurement, research design, and stakeholder engagement. Given the importance of designing implementation studies that optimize both internal and external validity, there is special attention to creative alternatives to traditional randomized controlled trials, and the potential for participatory and systems approaches. Finally, the article concludes with a discussion of future directions for implementation science in social work.

Article

Thomas Packard

This article presents an overview of the field of organizational change as it applies to human service organizations (HSOs). It offers definitions, conceptual models, and perspectives for looking at organizational change and notes common reasons that organizational change efforts fail. The article takes the perspective of an agency executive or manager who has the responsibility for initiating and implementing a planned organizational change initiative. It offers a comprehensive, evidence-based model for tactics to use and steps to take, from assessing change readiness and change capacity to institutionalizing and evaluating change outcomes within the organization. Common change methods, including those particularly relevant to HSOs, such as implementation science, the use of consultants, and change efforts which can be initiated by lower-level employees, are reviewed A research agenda, with particular attention to change tactics, is offered.