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An Integrated Theory of Practice in Social work

Table of Contents

				Contents			Page
Author’s Preface ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………	1
Introduction ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………	4
	Towards a unifying theory of practice ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………	4
	Analysing the basic assumptions of theory ……………………………………………………………………………………………………	4
	Understanding the heuristics of applying theory to practice ……………………………………………………	5
	Reflective practice as a valid research method ………………………………………………………………………………………	6
	Social work values as an ontological metatheory ……………………………………………………………………………………	6
Chapter One: The Eclectic Theory Base of Social Work Practice ……………………………………………………………………	7
	The need for an eclectic theory base to social work practice …………………………………………………	7
	The original eclecticism of nineteenth century social work ………………………………………………………	8
	Social work eclecticism in the first half of the twentieth century …………………………………	8
	The knowledge explosion in the third quarter of the twentieth century …………………………	9
	The search for a unified knowledge base …………………………………………………………………………………………………………	11
	Knowledge developments in the last quarter of the twentieth century ………………………………	12
	The daunting breadth of social work eclecticism ……………………………………………………………………………………	12
	The continuing problem of how theory is integrated in practice ……………………………………………	13
	Arguments about eclecticism …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………	13
	Summary ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………	14
Chapter Two: Paradigms of Theory in Social Work Practice …………………………………………………………………………………	15
	The problem of paradigms …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………	15
	Defining paradigms of theory and practice in social work ……………………………………………………………	16
	Malcolm Payne’s paradigm definitions …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………	16
	Some problems with Payne’s paradigm definitions ……………………………………………………………………………………	17
	An addition to Payne’s paradigm categories …………………………………………………………………………………………………	19
	Thinking structurally about paradigms ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………	19
	Figure 2.1. Four paradigms of theory created by intersecting axes ……………………………………	20
	Applying the four paradigms to social work practice …………………………………………………………………………	20
	Figure 2.2. Howe’s boxed taxonomy of social work theory ………………………………………………………………	21
	Howe’s allocation of theories to paradigms …………………………………………………………………………………………………	21
	Synthesising thinking on paradigms of theory for practice …………………………………………………………	22
	Modifying the structure of the four paradigm model ……………………………………………………………………………	22
	Rationalising the definitional terms of paradigms ………………………………………………………………………………	23
	Figure 2.3. Four paradigms of practice based on dual assumptions of theory ……………	24
	Mapping the basic assumptions of theories ……………………………………………………………………………………………………	25
	Summary ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………	25
Chapter Three: The Constructivist Paradigm ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………	26
	Theories from the constructivist paradigm ……………………………………………………………………………………………………	26
	Existential theory …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………	26
	Client centred theory …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………	28
	Virtue ethics and new age therapies ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………	28
	Grief and loss theory …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………	29
	Trauma theory ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………	29
	Gestalt theory ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………	30
	Solution focused theory ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………	31
	Crisis intervention theory ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………	32
	Summary ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………	33
	Figure 3.1. Dispersal of theories within the constructivist paradigm ……………………………	33
Chapter Four: The Constructionist Paradigm ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………	34
	Theories from the constructionist paradigm …………………………………………………………………………………………………	34
	Relativism ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………	34
	Egoist ethics ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………	35
	Postmodern theory ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………	35
	Critical theory …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………	36
	Feminist theory …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………	37
	Narrative theory ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………	38
	Interactionist theory …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………	39
	Empowerment theory …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………	40
	Summary ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………	41
	Figure 4.1. Dispersal of theories within the constructionist paradigm …………………………	41
Chapter Five: The Structuralist Paradigm ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………	42
	Theories from the structuralist paradigm ………………………………………………………………………………………………………	42
	Radical feminism ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………	43
	Radical Marxism …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………	43
	Utilitarian ethics …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………	44
	Democratic socialism ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………	45
	Poststructural theory …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………	45
	Situation theory ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………	46
	Dysfunctional situations …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………	47
	Reactive situations ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………	48
	Symbolic situations ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………	48
	Involuntary situations ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………	48
	Idiosyncratic situations …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………	49
	Pluralist theory ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………	49
	Justice theory ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………	50
	Lexical ordering of social and individual justice principles …………………………………………………	52
	Reflective value based ethics ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………	53
	The ten virtues of a competent moral judge …………………………………………………………………………………………………	53
	The process of ethical decision making ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………	55
	A reflective value based model of ethical decision making …………………………………………………………	55
	A time pressed ethical decision making process ………………………………………………………………………………………	56
	Advocacy theory …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………	57
	Summary ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………	58
	Figure 5.1. Dispersal of theories within the structuralist paradigm ………………………………	58
Chapter Six: The Positivist Paradigm ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………	59
	Theories from the positivist paradigm ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………	59
	Absolutism ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………	59
	Deontological ethics ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………	60
	Behavioural theory …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………	60
	Psychodynamic theory ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………	61
	Transactional analysis ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………	62
	Organisational theory …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………	63
	Systems theory ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………	64
	Developmental theory ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………	65
	Attachment theory ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………	65
	Problem solving theory ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………	66
	Summary ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………	67
	Figure 6.1. Dispersal of theories within the positivist paradigm ………………………………………	68
Chapter Seven: In Search of the Fifth Paradigm ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………	69
	Some practical constraints on the mapping exercise ……………………………………………………………………………	69
	Figure 7.1. Paradigm location of theories according to balance of assumptions ……	69
	Theories from the outer perimeter of the four paradigms ………………………………………………………………	70
	Theories from the middle regions of the four paradigms …………………………………………………………………	70
	Theories from close to the central intersection of the four paradigms …………………………	71
	Establishing the integrative fifth paradigm ………………………………………………………………………………………………	72
	Figure 7.2. The donut hole fifth paradigm ……………………………………………………………………………………………………	72
	A case illustration in functional theory integration ………………………………………………………………………	73
	How social workers use theory in practice ……………………………………………………………………………………………………	74
	The prospective and retrospective use of whole theory in intervention …………………………	75
	Summary ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………	76
Chapter Eight: The Heuristic Nature of Professional Expertise ……………………………………………………………………	77
	The five stage process of gaining professional expertise ……………………………………………………………	77
	Novice stage …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………	78
	Advance beginner stage ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………	79
	Competence stage ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………	79
	Proficiency stage ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………	80
	Expertise stage …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………	81
	The difference between human heuristics and computer heuristics …………………………………………	82
	The seven stages of heuristic theory use in social work practice ………………………………………	82
	Heuristic deconstruction …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………	83
	Heuristic searching ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………	83
	Framing ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………	84
	Incongruity testing ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………	84
	Reframing …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………	85
	Heuristic templating ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………	85
	Modeling ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………	86
	Modeling the heuristic process of theory use ……………………………………………………………………………………………	86
	Figure 8.1. The heuristic application of theory to practice ……………………………………………………	87
	How reflexivity links heuristics to reflection ………………………………………………………………………………………	88
	The theoretical base to reflexivity ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………	88
	Reflection as a valid form of research in itself …………………………………………………………………………………	89
	Identifying the heuristic paradigm ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………	90
	Figure 8.2. The heuristic paradigm as the hole in the donut………………………………………………………	90
	Summary ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………	91
Chapter Nine: The Research Functions in Heuristic and Reflective Practice ……………………………………	92
	Research method must be consistent with research purposes …………………………………………………………	92
	The research purposes of heuristic case practice …………………………………………………………………………………	92
	Defining interventive research …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………	93
	Defining modeling research ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………	93
	Current conceptualisations of research in social work ……………………………………………………………………	94
	The exploratory and explanatory research functions of case practice ………………………………	94
	Identifying the methodological steps in interventive and modeling research ……………	95
	Figure 9.1. The methodological steps in interventive and modeling research ……………	96
	Observing …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………	97
	Describing ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………	97
	Abstracting ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………	98
	Generalising …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………	98
	Assimilating …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………	98
	Categorising …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………	99
	Ordering ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………	99
	Contextualising …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………	100
	Modeling ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………	100
	Accommodating ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………	100
	Acting …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………	101
	The problem of bias in research ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………	101
	Strategies for controlling bias in interventive and modeling research …………………………	102
	Summary ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………	104
Chapter Ten: An Integrated Approach to Building Theory from Practice …………………………………………………	105
	The hundred year paradigm conflict in social work ………………………………………………………………………………	105
	Social work’s paradigm war of the 1980’s ………………………………………………………………………………………………………	106
	The process of conceptual modeling ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………	106
	The false dichotomising of inductive and deductive arguments …………………………………………………	107
	The presence of heuristics within science ……………………………………………………………………………………………………	108
	Figure 10.1. An integrated model of theory development …………………………………………………………………	109
	The false dichotomising of theory and practice ………………………………………………………………………………………	110
	The presence of science within heuristics ……………………………………………………………………………………………………	110
	The positivist deification of explanatory theory …………………………………………………………………………………	111
	Thinking on the social work knowledge base into the 1970’s ………………………………………………………	112
	Thinking on the social work knowledge base in the 1980’s ……………………………………………………………	112
	Thinking on the social work knowledge base in the 1990’s ……………………………………………………………	113
	Thinking on the social work knowledge base into the new millennium …………………………………	114
	Rethinking the knowledge base of social work ……………………………………………………………………………………………	116
	Figure 10.2. A developmental onion ring model of theory types ………………………………………………	117
	Intervention theory ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………	118
	Operational theory …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………	118
	Templated theory ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………	119 
	Mesotheory ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………	119
	Explanatory theory …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………	120
	Metatheory ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………	120
	Figure 10.3. A functional model of theory types ……………………………………………………………………………………	121
	Summary ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………	121
Chapter Eleven: Collaborative Theory: Our Integrative Theory of Practice ………………………………………	122
	The false distinction between fact and value ……………………………………………………………………………………………	122
	The residual reluctance in social work to see values as theory ……………………………………………	123
	Identifying the foundational value of social work ………………………………………………………………………………	124
	The similarity between social work values and plural democratic values ………………………	124
	Exploring the systematic nature of social work values ……………………………………………………………………	125
	Figure 11.1. Modeling the systematic relationship of social work values ……………………	126
	Identifying the prime instrumental value of social work ………………………………………………………………	127 
	Social work values as a metatheory of practice ………………………………………………………………………………………	127
	Collaboration as the integrative theory of practice …………………………………………………………………………	128
	The common factors in effective practice with voluntary clients …………………………………………	128
	Research into ‘what works’ with involuntary clients …………………………………………………………………………	129
	The importance of client engagement with process …………………………………………………………………………………	130
	Figure 11.2. The four collaborative alliances within the heuristic paradigm …………	131
	Summary ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………	132
Chapter Twelve: The Four Modes of Alliance in Collaborative Theory ………………………………………………………	133
	The journey so far …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………	133
	Collaboration as the integrating theory of heuristic and reflective practice ………	134
	The remedial alliance …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………	134
	The therapeutic alliance …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………	135
	The emancipatory alliance ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………	136
	The ameliorative alliance ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………	136
	The five types of action associated with the ameliorative alliance …………………………………	137
	Brokerage …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………	137
	Case advocacy ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………	138
	Case to cause advocacy ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………	139
	Project advocacy ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………	140
	Cause advocacy ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………	141
	Summary ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………	141
Bibliography ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………	143
Author and Subject Index ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………	151
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