Contemporary and Emerging Theory and Models of Practice

Week 5


Contemporary and Emerging Theory and Models of Practice

As the field of social work has evolved and expanded, so have its theoretical underpinnings. Importantly, many new theories relate to human need and social justice and lead to strategies that social workers now use to promote social and economic justice, and human rights.

For example, the minority stress theory and model has been presented to explain why individuals of stigmatized minority groups may experience extremely high levels of stress. It points to several factors, including socioeconomic status, limited social support, prejudice, and discrimination as contributing to this stress.

Public awareness in the past decade related to suicide ideation and other risky behaviors has led to the refinement of crisis intervention models and theories that can help clients at risk.

Another more recent model of practice for social workers is the Independent Living Model, fundamental to professional practice with individuals with disabilities. In this model, based on case management, clients/constituents manage their own cases and their own lives. This model is derived from the minority perspective and is a promising approach in which social and environmental issues are the primary focus of intervention and change, which is in contrast to more traditional models where the individual’s issues are the primary focus (Mackelprang & Salsgiver, 2016).

The readings for this week bring more detail to this conversation around traditional and contemporary theories. Schriver situates this as a difference between dominant and alternative paradigms. This week, you will read about dominant or traditional theories for social work practice with individuals. The two additional readings present theories or models that bring a social justice focus, as well as strategies to promote social and economic justice, and human rights.

Be sure to review this week’s resources carefully.  You are expected to apply the information from these resources when you prepare your assignments.


Mackelprang, R. W., & Salsgiver, R. O. (2016). Disability a diversity model approach in        human service practice (3rd ed.). New York: Oxford.

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Due August 1 at 11:59 PM

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The agency where you are employed assists its staff of social workers to be life-long learners through a monthly Professional Development Program. The Executive Director of the agency asks you to prepare a presentation on an emerging theory in social work practice for the next month. You are charged with presenting both theoretical knowledge on an emerging theory and information about skills involved in putting this theory into

practice. Understanding that your audience of social workers from those who recently started their careers to those who have been in the field for many years, you know that you will have to create a presentation that is engaging and relevant. Not all of your colleagues will be able to be in the room for a meeting at the same time, you are to prepare a voice-over PowerPoint presentation.

    • From the assigned reading and your own research, choose a theory that is not traditionally used in social work practice. In the past two courses, you’ve been exposed to many of the traditional theories, do not attempt to present one of them as an “emerging” theory.
    • Briefly describe your chosen theory. Questions you may want to answer include, but are not limited to: When did it start? Where did it start? Who started it? Did it grow out of a traditional theory? What information would a social worker need to know if he was considering using this theory in his practice? For example, under what circumstances is it appropriate to use this theory- clients, level of practice, type of problem, etc.
    • Describe specific skills that a social worker would sue to apply this theory in his generalist practice. What skills would he need in order to engage, assess, plan, intervene, evaluate, terminate, and/or follow up with clients?
    • Briefly compare your emerging theory, with one of the traditional theories that has been presented in this course or in your previous class.
    • Address how both of these theories are relevant- or not- to working with underserved populations.

Incorporate appropriate animations, transitions, and graphics as well as speaker notes for each slide. The speaker notes may be comprised of brief paragraphs or bulleted lists and should cite material appropriately. Add audio to each slide using the Media section of the Insert tab in the top menu bar for each slide.

Support your presentation with at least three scholarly resources. In addition to these specified resources, other appropriate scholarly resources may be included.

Length:12-15 slides (with a separate reference slide)

Notes Length: 100-150 words for each slide

Be sure to include citations for quotations and paraphrases with references in APA format and style where appropriate. Save the file as PPT with the correct course code information. Upload your document, and then click the Submit to Dropbox button.