School of Social Work






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School of Social Work

SWK 240 Lab Basic Working Relationship Skills for Generalist Practice

BT 103

Fall 2012


Vonda B. Gardner, MSW, LCSW

Class Meeting Time: Monday 12:00 pm – 1:00pm.


[preferred communication]

Office Hours: Mondays 11:00am-11:45 am

Course Catalog Description:

SWKL 240 - Basic Working Relationship Skills (3) Prerequisite: SWK 235; Corequisites: SWK 235, SWK 240, SWK 320. Multi-cultural working relationship skills for generalist practice, building client-directed partnerships, interviewing, and transitioning from services using a strengths-based and solution-focused perspective. Process recordings, case assessments, social work ethics, values and diversity are covered.

Course Description:

This lab is the first of a four-part generalist practice course sequence. It introduces students to the basic working relationship skills necessary for generalist social work practice with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities within a diverse and multicultural society. It introduces students to strengths perspective for generalist practice, as well as, solution focused models. This lab focuses Purpose:

This lab will be the first of a sequence of courses organized to prepare students to think and engage others from the perspectives of the generalist practice framework, thinking contextually and working within the complexities of the social environment/person interface. Utilizing a solution-focused model, it will focus on students learning and practicing the basic skills of building collaborative partnerships and working

relationships necessary at all levels of generalist practice. Course content and process will cover the basics of building a collaborative relationship and will utilize SWK240 material in role play, practice skills, class discussion and practical application to understand it’s process. Students will use the main components of building relationships and rapport: starting where the client(s) is, learning to listen to the client’s story and desired outcomes, collaboration with the client(s), and consideration of the client(s) situation from a generalist framework and in terms of an empowerment/strengths perspective within the context of the social environment.

Course (Lab) Objectives:

1. Students will demonstrate a basic understanding of the foundation skills for a generalist practice framework, recognizing the complexities of the person in the environment.

2. Students will have a beginning understanding of the complexities of the helping relationship and forming collaborative partnerships.

3. Students will demonstrate a beginning understanding and ability to use the concepts of empowerment, social justice, values, and strengths/solution focused practice.


5. Students will demonstrate a basic understanding and use of attending and listening skills. 6. Students will demonstrate a basic understanding and use of questions and collaborative probing. 7. Students will demonstrate a basic understanding and use of a strengths perspective/solution-focused perspective through “not knowing”, paying attention to what the client wants, identifying concrete goals, exploring for exceptions, building on client strengths/resiliency/successes, formulating feedback , monitoring what is better and working relationship.

8. Students will demonstrate a beginning understanding and use of both problem management strategies and the empowerment/strengths perspective on collaborative solution focused work.

9. Students will demonstrate a beginning understanding of the impact of social justice and social policy as it affects the worker, client(s) and the working relationship.

10. Students will demonstrate a beginning understanding of the impact of diversity on the basic working relationship in generalist social work practice.

11. Students will demonstrate a beginning understanding of both ethical and fiduciary responsibilities in the working relationship.

12. Students will demonstrate a beginning knowledge of constructing process recordings, collaborative understanding of client system situations, and recursive practice evaluation.

Required Text:

There is no required text for SWK240 Lab Required Readings:

Readings will be disseminated by the instructor.


The primary learning format will be lectures, role play, skill building and classroom activities, which involve all students as active learners. It is anticipated that each student has experiences and points of view that will enrich class discussions. The instructor will be responsible for organizing and presenting primary course material, assisting any student with course-related material and assignments, and for assessing student progress. The student will be responsible for attending all classes, facilitating his/her own learning and that of others in class, sharing ideas, making observations, participating and asking questions.

Academic Integrity

All members of the UNCW’s community are expected to follow the academic Honor Code. Please read the UNCW Honor Code carefully as covered in the UNCW Student Handbook). Academic dishonesty in any form will not be tolerated in the class. Please be especially familiar with UNCW’s position on plagiarism as outlined in the UNCW Student Handbook. Plagiarism is a form of academic dishonesty in which you take someone else’s ideas and represent them as your own. Here are some examples of plagiarism:


You write about someone else’s work in your paper and do not give them credit for it by referencing them.


You give a presentation and use someone else’s ideas and do not state or acknowledge that the ideas are the work of another person.


You get facts from your textbook or some other reference material and do not reference that material.


Accommodation for students with disabilities [challenges]

I am more than happy to make appropriate accommodations for students with disabilities or challenges. Students with diagnosed disabilities or challenges should contact the Office of Disability Services (962-7555) so that they can provide you with appropriate services. Please give me a copy of the letter you receive from the Office of Disability Services detailing class accommodations you may need. If you require accommodations for test-taking please make sure I have the referral letter no less than three days before the test so that I can make arrangements for the test material to be available to them.

Violence and Harassment

UNCW practices a zero tolerance policy for any kind of violent or harassing behavior. If you are

experiencing an emergency of this type contact the police at 911 or UNCW CARE at 962-2273. Resources for individuals concerned with violent or harassing actions can be located at

http;// Campus Respect Compact

UNCW is committed to a civil community, characterized by mutual respect. Individuals wanting more information about Respect Compact can contact the Office of International Diversity and Inclusion. Use of Personal Electronics

I assume that you are all adult learners who are respectful concerning use of electronic equipment. If use of electronics becomes disrespectful, distracting or disruptive to me and/or your classmates, I will ask you to cease use of electronics.

Attendance Policy:

Students are expected to attend each class session. This is particularly important with respect to class exercises and group experiences we will be engaged in during class time. The instructor will use attendance and participation as a guide to each student’s final grade.

Campus Assistance for this Course

Assistance is available on campus to help you succeed in this course. The Randall Librarian assigned to the School of Social Work is Mr. John Osinski. You can email him at The Writing Place is available to you for paper-writing assistance.

Instructor’s Teaching Philosophy

Be prepared to bring course material into SWK 240 Lab through role play and class participation. Open discussion is a must, as is active learning. My classroom style generates learning through hands on experience, visual demonstration and feedback. My philosophy is to best equip future social workers with the realities of the field and best prepare each student to function effectively and efficiently within that field.


Attendance and participation 50%–You must sign in each class and be prepared to participate in all class activities. Each class attended is worth 6.7 points. There are 15 class sessions in the semester.

Resource guide 50%: Resources are a must when utilizing generalist social work practice. Students will build a resource guide regarding local services, providers and programs. Students will include the service/program/provider contact information and other relevant details for one to acquire services. Resource guide will be complied in a three ring hard cover binder with index tabs to differentiate the type of service. Students must have a minimum of 35 different resources for this instructors review on November 14, 2012

Grading will based on the following scale:


Important Dates

August 22 – Classes Begin August 29 – End Drop/Add Period November 14 – Resource guide due November 21 – No Class

December 5 – Last day of class

Recommended Readings:

Araaoz, D. L., & Carrese, M. A. (1996). Solution-oriented brief therapy for adjustment disorders: A guide for providers under managed care. New York: Brunner/Mazel.

Berg, I. K., & Kelly, S. (2000). Building solutions in child protective services. New York: W.W. Norton. Berg, I.K., & Miller, S.D. (1992). Working with the problem drinker: A solution focused approach. New York: W.W. Norton.

Christensen, D.N., Todahl, J., & Barrett, W.C. (1999). Solution-based casework: An introduction to clinical and case management skills in casework practice. New York: Aldine De Gruyter.

DeJong, P., & Berg, I.K. (2002). Interviewing for solutions (2nd edition). Pacific Grove, CA: Brooks/Cole. Donlan, Y. (2000). One small step: Moving beyond trauma and therapy to a life of joy. San Jose, CA: Authors Choice Press.

Duncan, B.L., Hubble, A.A., & Miller, S.D. (1997). Psychotherapy with “impossible” cases: The efficient treatment of therapy veterans. New York: W.W. Norton.

Duncan, B.L., & Miller, S.D. (2000). The heroic client: Doing client-directed, outcome-informed therapy. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers.

Hubble, M.A., Duncan, B.L., & Miller, S.D. (1999). The heart and soul of change: What works in therapy. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Metcalf, L (1998). Solution focused group therapy: Ideas for groups in private practice, schools, agencies, and treatment programs. New York: Free Press.

Metcalf, L. (1995). Counseling toward solutions: A practical solution-focused program for working with students, teachers, and parents. West Nyack, NY: The Center for Applied Research in Education.(school social work)

Miller, S. D., Hubble, M.A., & Duncan, B.L. (1996). Handbook of solution-focused brief therapy. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers.

Nardone, G. (1996). Brief strategic solution-oriented therapy of phobic and obsessive disorders. Northvale, NJ: Jason Aronson, Inc.


Pichot, T., & Dolan, Y.M. (2003). Solution-focused brief therapy: Its effective use in agency settings. New York: Haworth Press.

Rowan, T., & O’Hanlon, B. (1999). Solution-oriented therapy for chronic and severe mental illness. New York: John Wiley & Sons.

Turnell, A., & Edwards, S. (1999). Signs of safety: A solution and safety oriented approach to child protection. New York: W.W. Norton.

Walter, J.L., & Peller, J.E. (2000). Recreating brief therapy: Preferences and possibilities. New York: W.W. Norton.

Walter, J.L., & Peller, J.E. (1992). Becoming solution-focused in brief therapy. New York: Brunner/Mazel Webb, W, (1999). Solutioning: Solution-focused interventions for counselors. Philadelphia, PA:





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