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Article

Phylis J. Peterman

Michael White (1948–2008), academic, researcher, adventurer, and athlete, is known as a leading developer of narrative family therapy. Narrative family therapy focuses on empowerment, strengths, and collaboration and positions people as the experts in their own lives. The theory has application in problem solving and conflict resolution with diverse groups.

Article

Amanda Sorrent-Diaczenko

Oliver Wolf Sacks, MD, FRCP, CBE (1933–2015), was a brilliant and unconventional neurologist, scientist, university educator, and acclaimed author. With unquieted scientific curiosity, openness to new ideas, and a profound sense of humanism, Sacks worked to increase understanding of the brain and neurological conditions, while advocating for persons affected to be listened to, considered, and included, in treatment. A person-centered practitioner, Sacks is best known for his literary collections of case histories and empathic narratives, which document his scientific explorations in neurology and illustrate the personal aspects of neurological diseases.

Article

J. Christopher Hall

This article presents a history and overview of first- and second-order cybernetics and the ways in which the theories inform models of social work practice. A foundational understanding of cybernetics is crucial for social workers because it forms the groundwork for how models of practice operationalize the ideal counseling relationship and how client problems will be assessed. A first-order approach invites the social worker to begin counseling via an objective assessment derived from a defined theory of normality, whereas a second-order approach suggests that a social worker adopt a curious or not-knowing approach to explore collaboratively with the client to decide how problems will be understood and how solutions to problems may be constructed. These approaches are sometimes differentiated as first-order, or modern, and second-order, or postmodern.

Article

J. Christopher Hall

A history and description of narrative therapy is provided including empirical research, theoretical underpinnings, and the clinical process of the practice. Narrative is a postmodern, person-centered practice that promotes change through the exploration of narrative. A narrative is a series of events, linked in sequence, through time, according to a specific plot. In this approach identity is understood to be a narrative, a story of self, and narrative techniques involve exploring the meanings attributed to life events, deconstructing, and reconstructing the meaning of those events in ways that are of benefit to the client. Narrative practice is a practice of liberation in that problems are viewed as not being located inside people but in the social discourses that clients have been recruited into accepting in their lives and by which they may be self-subjugating. Narrative is a respectful, non-blaming approach, which places people as the experts of their lives, and harnesses their innate strengths, skills, and resiliencies to re-story, or re-author themselves in a more positive and enriching way.

Article

Gilbert J. Greene

Research and meta-analysis of research on psychotherapy outcome has consistently supported the use of therapy that is planned from the beginning to be brief. In recent years several brief therapy approaches have been developed, often by social workers, and found to be effective. This article provides an overview of the research supporting the use of brief therapy and describes the basics of the major approaches to brief therapy such as the task-centered approach, the psychodynamic approaches, interpersonal therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy, emotion-focused therapy, the strength-based approaches, couples and family therapy, and group therapy. It closes with the discussion of several future trends in brief therapy.

Article

Darlene Grant

The soldiers from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as large numbers of nonwounded soldiers, experience post-traumatic stress disorder. Further, the families, groups, and communities from which all U.S. service men and women come, during and after these and other wars, have experienced their own war-related trauma. Stories on the nightly news reveal soldier reaction to combat stress, including intrusive memories, racing thoughts, nightmares, troubled sleep, irritability, anxiety, fear, isolation, depression anger, poor concentration, hyper- or hypovigilance, exaggerated responses, and increased alcohol and other drug abuse. The stories of family, friends, and community are filled with war stress symptoms of their own. Charged with keeping their families together, bills paid, jobs afloat, children safe and growing, families may experience a drop in income, loneliness and isolation, long deployments, multiple last minute combat redeployment and duty extensions, anger, frustration, depression, increased alcohol and other drug abuse, loss of trust, fear, increase in domestic violence, and school disruption. Not all of the change for family is negative as some spouses and children who are left behind find they have new skills and new independence with which to negotiate their world. The returning soldier's response to this newfound independence and skill may require the services of the clinical social worker.