First Advisor

James Breedlove

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Social Work (MSW)


Social Work




Social service -- Methodology



Physical Description

1 online resource (64 p.)


This paper will focus upon the value positions underlying two social work models: the traditional or psychodynamic and that of behavior modification. It is recognized that there are areas in which those two approaches do not seem far removed, e.g., with some neo-behaviorists and/or some ego psychologists. However, to the extent that the lines become very blurred, so does the clarity of position or practice. Like many practitioners who claim to be “eclectic,” it becomes extremely difficult to find out where they are and what they do value at a given point in time. Why do social workers become so caught up in treatment facts? Because they have not clearly defined what they value and where those values lead them.

In order to demonstrate that the profession of social work has moved from position to position, this paper will first sketch briefly the early history of social casework. Second, the paper will focus upon some of the basic dangers involved in "borrowing" from the knowledge of other disciplines. Finally, two major practice models, the traditional model and the behavior modification model will be described both in terms of their nature and development and in terms of their conflictual value positions. Social workers need to be cautious not only to identify the values from which they are operating, but also to be certain that their positions are not too narrow or simplistic for the effective dealing with life.


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Practicum written for School of Social Work

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