SWO-475 Narrative Approaches to Social Work Practice

This advanced clinical course will focus on acquisition of practice skills using a narrative therapeutic approach with individuals, families, groups, and communities. It aims at teaching a therapeutic process based on a belief in the power of the specific language or languages used and the value of multiple perspectives in helping people reach preferred outcomes and maintain relationships. The course builds on knowledge, skills, and values acquired in the foundation year to assist students in developing narrative practice approaches. It also examines the research and conceptual underpinnings of narrative therapy. The course will address issues of cultural diversity and narrative practice approaches with different populations and groups. Using experiential methods and exercises, the course will engage participants in practice skills that promote collaboration through stances of openness, accountability, respect for power of community, and the belief in client competence and reliance on clients’ own expertise. The course will pay attention to social problems on a micro and macro level. Students will be encouraged to observe and give feedback to each other. The course will be divided into three parts. In the first part, we will review theories and models of narrative therapy; the second part will address interventions and techniques of narrative practice; and the last part will attend to special populations and special issues. Special issues will include illness, disability, spirituality, abuse, eating disorders, the elderly, families and children, groups, organizations, and larger systems.