The Social Work Interview: A Guide for Human Service Professionals

The Social Work Interview: A Guide for Human Service Professionals

The Social Work Interview: A Guide for Human Service Professionals

The Social Work Interview: A Guide for Human Service Professionals

Synopsis

For twenty-five years, The Social Work Interview has been the textbook of choice in social work and other human service courses, as well as an essential professional resource for practitioners. This new edition, the first in seven years, is thoroughly updated-revised, expanded, and reorganized for more thorough coverage and for more effective teaching and learning. New to this edition: Thoroughly reorganized chapters and sections for greater coherence and clarity More extensive literature review Greater emphasis on the process of communication and its role in interviewing New or greatly expanded coverage of interviewing short-term, involuntary, and other special clients Expanded coverage of techniques for bridging racial and ethnic differences Greater coverage of interviewer/interviewee differences related to class, race, and gender Chapter-end summaries throughout.

Excerpt

Many people in many different professions conduct interviews. Social workers are only one such group. But for social workers interviewing is a preeminently important activity. In fact, carrying out most of their responsibilities depends on interviewing. Social work interviews differ from those of other professional groups in some crucial ways, reflecting what is unique about social work. This book describes the general art of interviewing as adapted and used by social workers in a social agency setting. Both experienced and inexperienced practitioners, struggling with the recurrent problems of interviewing and seeking specific guidelines and answers, may profit from an explicit examination of the interview. We hope this book will stimulate self-assessment.

A major part of the book is concerned with the techniques of social work interviewing. Technique has a bad sound -- cold, mechanical, inhuman, manipulative: applicable to things but not to people. The word deserves to be rescued, its image refurbished. Techniques are devices whose application enables us to accomplish our purposes, to carry out our professional responsibilities. They are clear formulations of what we should do in a given situation to offer our service effectively and efficiently.

Technical skill is not antithetical to spontaneity. In fact, it permits a higher form of spontaneity. The skilled interviewer can deliberately violate the techniques as the occasion demands and apply techniques with greater discrimination. Awareness and command of technical knowledge have another advantage. To be technically skilled is to be prepared; to be pre-

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