Socialinis darbas

patirtis ir metodai

Clinical social work: methodology, practice, and supervision


Clinical Social Work (CSW) is generally defined as practice specialization used to enhance human well-being and to increase social justice outcomes. CSW refers to different theories and models of social work, psychology, and sociology. This is one of the most popular methods of social work, created and predominantly widespread in the USA, where rigorous standards and requirements have been formed to be able to practice it as a professional social work method. In Lithuania there is a lack of studies and research on this method. However, there are examples of CSW practices, particularly in hospital social work and in many other areas, such as mental health, psychical disorders, disabilities, addictions, the field of violence, different areas of work with families and children, adolescent problems, fostering and adoption, and others. Some of these areas have created real specializations or programs, often taken and adapted from foreign countries for the Lithuanian context. These existing practices are neither called and clearly identified with CSW, nor analyzed and conceptualized from the point of view of epistemology and methodology of social work. There is neither a special university education nor professional training to prepare for specialization in CSW. Another important dimension is that CSW requires the use of supervision which could be defined as a professional practice consultation that helps social workers in the relationship with professional supervisor reflect on their work situation as well as the emotional conditions and judgement. In Western countries where CSW has long-standing traditions the use of supervision is a requirement for using the CSW method. This trend is also developing in Lithuania, but due to the lack of resources and insufficient recognition by the institutions and social workers themselves, supervision still has limited possibilities. Thus, it can be assumed that CSW development is related to the development of supervision. Finally, the social work practices existing in Lithuania can be better reflected and generalized as important professional paradigms for the professionalization and scientific development of social work in Lithuania.

Keywords: clinical social work, relationships in social work, supervision


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