There are three dimensions that most agree should be included in the definition of
generalist practice; first, the definition should focus on the importance of multiple-level
interventions (including those with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and
communities). Second, the definition of generalist practice should involve a knowledge
base carefully chosen from a range of theories. Third, it should maintain a focus “both on
private issues and social justice concerns.”
The Uniqueness of Social Work
The purpose of social work is “to (1) enhance the problem solving and coping capacities
of people, (2) link people with systems that provide them with resources, services, and
opportunities, (3) promote the effective and humane operation of these systems, and (4)
contribute to the development and improvement of social policy.”
Five major dimensions that make Social Work unique:
Social workers may focus attention on
or cluster of problems, even
those that are very complex and difficult.
Targeting the environment
for change. Targets of change are not limited to
individuals or families, sometimes, services are unavailable or difficult to obtain,
social polices are unfair, or people are oppressed by other people.
Social workers often find the need to
for their clients. Advocacy
involves actively intervening in order to help clients get what they need.
Emphasis of and adherence to a
core of professional values.
The core of social work values and how important it is for clients to make their
own decisions. Social workers do not track people into specific ways of thinking
or acting, rather they practice in a
with clients, making and
implementing plans together.
Defining Generalist Practice
The application of an
eclectic knowledge base, professional values,
wide range of
target systems of any size,
for change within the context of four primary
processes. First, generalist practice emphasizes client
Second it involves
working effectively within an
and doing so
Third, it requires the assumption of a
wide range of professional roles.
practice involves the application of
planned change process.
a set of elements that forms an orderly, interrelated, and functional whole.
Assumes a broader perspective and can refer to inanimate, mechanical operations.
Addresses boundaries of subsystems within a system, and the maintenance of