Introduction to Social Work: Through the Eyes of Practice Settings

Michelle E. Martin

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Introduction to Social Work: Through the Eyes of Practice Settings

By Michelle E. Martin
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Michelle E. Martin
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For courses in Introduction to Social Work and Social Welfare and Introduction to Human Services


A look at the role and function of the generalist social worker within the context of practice settings, and a focus on contemporary social problems.


This contemporary introduction to social work is designed to help beginning students understand the role and function of social workers within the context of a range of social service practice settings—child welfare, adolescence, older adults, mental health, homelessness, health care and hospice, school social work, religion and spirituality, violence and victim advocacy, and international social work. Students learn to recognise a range of social problems impacting people within society, particularly members of at-risk and disenfranchised populations; understand key psychosocial and clinical issues impacting a range of populations within various theoretical frameworks; and apply key intervention strategies to case studies involving frequently encountered social problems and psychosocial issues.


Michelle Martin has over 25 years experience working in advocacy, policy and social work. She has a PhD in Peace Studies from the University of Bradford in the UK, an MSocSci in global policy studies from the University of Bristol in the UK, and an MSW from University of Illinois, Jane Addams College of Social Work in Chicago. Michelle is the author of three books, Introduction to Human Services: Through the Eyes of Practice Settings; Advocacy for Social Justice: A Global Perspective, and Introduction to Social Work: Through the Eyes of Practice Settings, and several articles focusing primarily on social policy and global issues related to human rights violations and conflict. Her area of research focuses on the internationalization of global conflict, including the history of ethnonationalist conflict, and civil war and genocide in Rwanda, with a focus on the role of social media in conflict and peace processes. She has also extensively studied forced migration and conflict-generated diaspora and their engagement in peace and conflict processes.


Michelle is also interested in human rights mechanisms and the role of the United Nations in responding to human rights violations, as well as the relationship between emerging technologies, globalization and global conflict situations. Michelle is particularly committed to advocating for marginalized and at-risk populations on a global level. Michelle teaches at Dominican University in the Chicago area.


Additional text features include:

  • See how to connect competencies with real world practice. This text uses an integrative approach to exploring the discipline of social work.
    • Consistent with the new CSWE EPAS, the text explores practice competencies within the context of common practice settings. (See Core Competencies, Practice Behavior Examples and Critical Thinking questions in margins across all the chapters.)
    • Authentic case examples—realistic vignettes—are used throughout the text to help students apply new knowledge to real scenarios. (See the beginning of each chapter.)
  • Explore and understand the role and functions of social workers contextually, by examining a range of social problems in the practice settings where social workers are most likely to encounter them, among them:
    • Child welfare, adolescence, older adults, mental health, homelessness, health care and hospice, school social work, religion and spirituality, violence and victim advocacy, and international social work. (See the Table of Contents.)
  • Learn the concepts through an exploration of the most recent body of literature. This text provides foundational and conceptual theory as the basis for understanding a range of psychosocial dynamics and processes, social conditions, and intervention strategies.
  • Develop cultural competence. Each chapter is infused with multicultural considerations, including the impact of social problems in ethnic minority populations, religious minorities, the LGBT population, and other diverse populations.
  • See how to make the best use of technology to enhance learning. Technology topics, such as social media, are integrated throughout the text.
  • Put an emphasis on ethical practice from the start. The NASW Code of Ethics is infused throughout the text, enabling students to better recognise and resolve practice-related ethical dilemmas.
  • Explore the role of religion and spirituality in the helping process. Included is a discussion of the role of faith-based organisations within the social work profession.
  • Gain an understanding of the history of social policy and legislation affecting the profession and the role of the social worker.
    • Each chapter explores a major social problem within a historical and socio-political context.
Table of contents
  • Preface
  • Part I: Foundational Issues in Social Work Policy and Practice
  • 1. Introduction to the Social Work Profession: Purpose, Preparation, Practice, and Theoretical Orientations
  • 2. The Evolution of Social Welfare Policy: Effect on Social Work Practice
  • 3. Generalist Skills and Intervention Strategies: Effecting Meaningful and Ethical Change
  • Part II: Social Work in Action–Common Practice Settings
  • 4. Child Welfare Services: Overview and Purpose of Child and Family Services Agencies
  • 5. Adolescent Services
  • 6. Social Work and Older Adults
  • 7. Mental Health and Mental Illness
  • 8. Homelessness
  • 9. Healthcare and Hospice
  • 10. School Social Work
  • 11. Religion, Spirituality, and Faith-based Agencies
  • 12 .Violence, Victim Advocacy, and Corrections
  • 13. International Social Work
  • Epilogue: The Future of Social Work in an Ever-Changing World
  • References
  • Index