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Discuss about the Empowerment Approach To Social Work Practice.

Expected Learning Outcomes

Practice with individuals is designed to provide necessary theoretical framework for students to practice with clients.  At this point in their studies, many students will have started planning their first field placement.  Practice with Individuals therefore focuses on the knowledge and skills that students require in beginning and developing their direct practice with client systems. The topic will examine concepts related to practice with various client systems. Many students work with individuals in their first placements and this is reflected in the emphasis of the topic content.  

Students are invited to engage fully in all opportunities for discussion whilst aiming to respect others and to protect the safety of the space for all contributors.

I look forward to help you with your learning process and this topic guide will provide you with all the necessary details regarding the teaching and assessment of this topic.

This semester is viewed as an important one in the development of practice skills.  It is at this point that students begin to recognise in more depth how some of the theories and concepts from the classroom and the literature apply within their own practice with clients.  For this reason, the topic content is very much direct practice-focused and as practical as possible.

The weekly sessions will include a variety of teaching methods.  Formal lectures, small group tasks and discussions and role plays of practice will be used.

This topic aims to:

  • increase understanding of the essential elements of social work process and phases in social work practice with individuals.
  • increase understanding of theories and knowledge that inform social work practice with individuals.
  • develop practice knowledge and skills in the areas of client engagement, problem identification, assessment, goal setting and planning, intervention and endings.
  • develop understanding about the skills for work with various client systems and settings.
  • develop skills in reflecting on, analysing and understanding social work practice with individuals.

Upon completion of this topic, you should be able to:

  • describe and implement the process that social workers generally use in direct work with individuals.
  • write a comprehensive social work assessment utilising the empowerment framework.
  • recognise how concepts from core social work theoretical approaches and models relate to specific client situations.
  • identify key social work practice skills with individuals and analyse their relevance to specific case examples.
  • link ideas from this topic with your own social work practice experiences.
  • recognise how social work practice with individual clients provide opportunities for reflection and learning.

The topic supports the development of the following qualities in students: (taken from Flinders University Graduate Qualities):

  • who are knowledgeable
  • who can apply their knowledge
  • who communicate effectively
  • who can work independently
  • who are collaborative
  • whovalue ethical behaviour
  • who connect across boundaries



Week 1

25 July

Introduction to the topic – Practice with individuals

The social work process;

The problem-solving model

Week 2

1 August

The concept of assessment – process and product

Key areas for consideration and data collection

Week 3

8 August

Knowledge bases that inform assessment

Working with eco-maps and genograms

Week 4

15 August

The empowerment approach – a multifocal perspective

Week 5

22 August

Planning as informed by assessment; Determining problem(s)-for-work; Contracting and goal setting

Week 6

29 August



Week 6

5 September

Intervention – “doing the decided”

Social work roles, skills and interventions in the work phase

Crisis theory and crisis intervention

Week 7

12 September

Evaluating social work practice with individuals

Week 8

3 October

Endings and transitions


Week 9

10 October

Report writing


Your attendance in this topic is a requirement as per the guidelines of AASW.

  • Attendance in this topic is compulsory as per the AASW guidelines.
  • The topic is designed to be taught in a “face-to-face” format and involves considerable interaction between the lecturer/s and the class.
  • Students are expected to bring in situations and questions from their personal life experiences or other practice experiences for discussion.
  • Due to the topic’s focus on direct practice with clients, much of the discussion and class activity is intended to model and analyse interpersonal practice skills.
  • There is much learning that occurs between students.
  • Many elements of practice cannot be fully captured in handouts or web-based material.

A record of attendance will be taken during each class and tutorial and you are expected to have at least 80% of attendance. If you do not have 80% of attendance you will NOT BE PERMITTED TO COMPLETE THIS TOPIC. You will be expected to repeat this topic again. If you have any questions about attendance expectations, please discuss these with the topic coordinator.  The Discipline of Social work expects that field education will not interfere with any classroom topics, and students are asked not to schedule field-related activities during class times (apart from exceptional circumstances).

To pass this topic, students will be required to complete the following 2 assessments:

Critically analyse the social work intervention process from the point of view of empowerment approach by quoting relevant readings. Please outline the ways in which this approach can be beneficial to social work clients and also professional social workers.

Graduate Qualities

Word length: 2500 words Weighting: 50%


  • Read about empowerment approach to social work. One reading that you can start with could be - Lee, J (1994) “Making beginnings in individual and family empowerment: processes and practice skills”, in The Empowerment Approach to Social Work Practice, Columbia University Press, New York. However, this reading is not compulsory. You are expected to refer to as many sources as possible to widen your understanding.  
  • Summarise the information you collected through your readings and critically comment on them.
  • Explain the ways in which social work intervention from the point of view of empowerment approach can be beneficial to both social work clients and professional social workers.
  • Critical analysis on empowerment approach and its application in social work intervention process: 50% marks
  • Benefits of empowerment approach to clients: 15% marks
  • Benefits of empowerment approach to professional social workers: 15% marks
  • Number/Quality of references and producing the references using APA referencing style: 20% marks

The take home exam will be posted on FLO on 10th October 2018 with 7 days response time given. Further information and details about this exam will be available along with the exam questions.

Evidence that the students have understood the topics discussed in the classroom and in addition, the students have widely referred to many reading materials relevant to this topic.

Ability to apply the concepts discussed in classroom in Social Work practice

The following guidelines may assist you with in preparing your assignments for this topic:

  • Use appropriate professional language while expressing your ideas in your assessments.
  • Make use of sign postings and sub-headings wherever necessary to ensure that the reader of your essays makes sense of what you are trying to explain.
  • Provide good quality references where needed while arguing your points in your essay.
  • Set line spacing at one and a half or two lines
  • Check your spelling and grammar
  • Use American Psychological Association system of referencing only.

Assessment will be discussed in class, with full assessment details outlined in the Statement of Assessment Methods. If you have any questions about the assignments, please do not hesitate to contact me on [email protected] or 8201 2677.

It is essential that your assignments be presented in a neat, organised, legible format.  It is a requirement of the University that all assignments are submitted online on FLO.

Emailed or posted submission of assignments will not be accepted, they need to be submitted online on FLO.

  • The primary reader of your assignment is Dr.Mubarak and you should always consult him if you have any questions or require any further assistance.
  • You must adhere to the word length, at least to within plus or minus 10% of the limit (e.g. if the stated word length is 2500 words, you are allowed to write between 2,250 and 2,750 words).
  • Referencing and plagiarism:

It is important that due recognition is given in your own writing to the work of other writers that you use by acknowledging:

  • direct quotations
  • indirect paraphrasing of quotations or whole passages
  • ideas that have come from other people, whether in books, articles, in the media, on television, on the radio or during personal conversation
  • Please watch the video available at:
  • American Psychological Association (APA) system of referencing needs to be used while referencing your essay:

The APA system may differ from the system you are accustomed to using. You may find the following website very useful as it provides general introduction to essay writing and also provides tutorial and further information on the APA referencing:

While quoting a reference in your text, cite the author’s or authors’ name (s) and year of publication and page numbers (note the use of ampersands (&) within text and in citations):

For example,

“A comparative atmosphere leads to low effectiveness in solving complex problems (Johnson & Johnson, 1975, p.97).  Kelley and Stahelski (1970) examined the question of what happens when a competitive person joins a group that has a cooperative atmosphere…….”

  • In the list of references at the end of the assignment give full citation details. While referencing a book:
  • author’s name and initials
  • year of publication
  • full title of book
  • place of publication
  • name of publication

      For example,

      Zastrow, C.H., (1999) The practice of Social Work, Melbourne: Brooks/Cole

      Publising Company.

      While referencing journal article:

  • author’s name and initials
  • year of publication
  • title of article
  • name of journal in which it was published
  • volume number
  • issue number
  • page numbers (from beginning to end without abbreviations such as “pp”)

All topics are of a prescribed length, and all work in a topic is expected to be completed within the prescribed period. Applications for extension of time in which to complete written work or other topic requirements are handled differently according to whether the extra time falls before or after the College of education psychology and social work deadline for all topics. College rules in force at the time of submission will be applicable when processing your request for extensions.


Within each topic requests for extensions beyond assignment due dates will be granted only on medical or compassionate grounds, and need to be supported by appropriate evidence.  Extensions will not be granted because other commitments interfere with coursework. It is the student’s responsibility to adjust his or her enrolment workload according to his or her other commitments.

If a student does not have medical or compassionate grounds for an extension but cannot meet the assignment deadline, he or she will be allowed up to five working days after the deadline to submit the assignment.  For each day past the due date, 5% of the final mark will be deducted for lateness. After five working days no assignment will be accepted.

A request for an extension should be submitted to the topic coordinator in writing via FLO by clicking on the tab Assignment extension.  

Extensions after the college deadline:

For an extension beyond the college deadline, or for a special examination, the request must be submitted to the College Office, on the University form headed ‘Application for a special examination or extension on medical or compassionate grounds’.  The request must be submitted within 3 working days after the date of examination or assignment deadline.  The request should be submitted directly to the College Office.

The University’s policies and procedures website on academic integrity ( states the following:

“All students and staff have an obligation to understand and respect the rules and practice of academic integrity.  It is therefore expected that students and staff will adhere to high standards of academic integrity.  The University will provide resources to assist students and staff to be aware of their responsibilities.  It is expected that academic staff will provide appropriate guidance, support and feedback to assist students to become familiar with the normal academic conventions relevant to their discipline.

Academic integrity means that all work which is presented is produced by the student alone, with all sources and collaboration fully acknowledged.

Any failure to meet the requirements of academic integrity in any form of academic work will be regarded as a breach of the requirements of academic integrity and, depending on the circumstances and the nature of the breach, consequences including penalties may be expected to follow.  Breaches of academic integrity may include plagiarism, collusion, fabrication, falsification, double submission of work and misconduct in examinations.”

It is the obligation of all students to understand and respect the principles that underpin academic integrity and to avoid practices that involve academic dishonesty.

submitting the work of another person which is represented as your own original work (plagiarism), including failing to properly acknowledge the source of ideas taken from another person’s work or failing to use quotation marks for direct quotes from a source;

any improper assistance during examinations;

submitting the same piece of work for more than one topic unless the lecturers-in-charge have indicated that this procedure is acceptable for the specific piece of work in question.

The University recognises that sometimes academic dishonesty, particularly in the form of plagiarism, may arise from genuine ignorance of the use of academic conventions but will not accept ignorance as an excuse.

Students should be aware that serious or persistent breaches of the academic dishonesty policy can result in failure of a topic and/or documentation of such breaches in a central registry maintained by the University.

For full details of the University policy about academic dishonesty, see the Student Related Policies and Procedures Manual 2012 or go to the University website at:

For student-related guidance regarding academic integrity, see the following Flinders website:

It is also important that students reference material appropriately in their assignments.  There are some potential “pitfalls” that students have experienced in this regard and which you should endeavour to avoid by following the guidelines below.

  • Avoid overuse of web sites as references– There are many web sites online, some of which are very good, and others that are not, in terms of the quality of the information included.  Despite the appeal of web sites as “quick and easy” ways to research ideas, they should not be used as a significant part of your referencing for assignments done in university studies.  Your reading and research for ideas to include in your assignments should focus on recognised academic or professional literature, such as that included in the topic’s selected readings or recommended texts.
  • Do not use the topic handouts as references– The topic handouts are provided as a general resource to assist students during presentations.  This material will not be accepted as a reference in essays.  For example, a reference such as “Mubarak, (2013) Lecture notes from Human Social Development” is not an appropriate or acceptable citation.  You must cite the original source of any referenced ideas in your essays.  Any references should refer to the original work, such as articles in the topic reading pack.  Use of the handouts as a reference will result in a lower grade being awarded to the assignment involved.
  • In addition, no real names or identifying information are to be included in your assignments.  You should include a footnote, indicating that identifying information has been changed, in any assignment that deals with case situations.


The following readings are recommended as ones that you can use in this and other topics in the social work course:

Lee, J., The empowerment approach to social work practice (2nd edition), Columbia University Press, 2001.

Shulman, L, The skills of helping individuals, families, groups and communities (Peacock, 2006).

Trotter, C, Working with involuntary clients (Allen & Unwin, 2006).

Another useful reference book is Direct social work practice: theory and skills (Brooks/Cole, 1997) by Hepworth, D, Rooney, R and Larsen, J.  This book is in the Flinders library.

Cite This Work

To export a reference to this article please select a referencing stye below:

My Assignment Help. (2019). Empowerment Approach To Social Work Practice. Retrieved from

"Empowerment Approach To Social Work Practice." My Assignment Help, 2019,

My Assignment Help (2019) Empowerment Approach To Social Work Practice [Online]. Available from:
[Accessed 22 February 2024].

My Assignment Help. 'Empowerment Approach To Social Work Practice' (My Assignment Help, 2019) <> accessed 22 February 2024.

My Assignment Help. Empowerment Approach To Social Work Practice [Internet]. My Assignment Help. 2019 [cited 22 February 2024]. Available from:

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