Social work

experience and methods

A comparison and blending of the countercultural practice models: structural and narrative social work


The structural and narrative models of social work practice are summarized and compared relative to the social worker’s role, the conceptualization of the problem, and the intervention techniques utilized. The two approaches are found to differ signifcantly in all areas and most specifcally in problem conceptualization. This difference is indicative of Kuhn’s (1962) observation that different conceptual paradigms are both structured and limited by their theoretical framework. Though both models vary by conceptualization and application, both are determined to be signifcantly different from the dominant medical model paradigm of “helping” and thus considered countercultural. Finally, it is pointed out that the challenge to the dominant paradigm by these two models allows them to be blended together in social work practice.
Keywords: structural social work, narrative social work, family therapy in social work practice.


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