Perspectives on Social Work: 2007

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This collection gathers content from two volumes of Perspectives on Social Work published in 2007.


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    Conformists, Innovators, and Rebels: Adapting to the Devaluation of Social Work in Home Health Care
    (University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work, 2007) Cabin, William D.
    This article emerged from a pre-dissertation, interview-based pilot study of a convenience sample of 14 home care social workers. The interviews occurred between August-December 2006 in the New York City metropolitan area. The study goal was to explore factors influencing the decision-making process of home care social workers regarding Alzheimer’s disease patients, paralleling an earlier study of home care nurses (Cabin, 2007). Both studies were prompted by a literature review indicating a dissonance between the need for psychosocial care by Alzheimer’s disease home care patients, statistically-significant evidence of effective psychosocial interventions to improve patient and caregiver outcomes, and government home care policy which does not cover such interventions (Cabin, 2006a, 2006b).
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    Passive Abuse: A Conceptual Framework for Attachment Theory and Adolescents
    (University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work, 2007) Baldridge, Stephen N.
    The link between attachment, parental involvement and childhood behavioral outcomes has been studied at length, specifically as it relates to adjustment and success later in life. Due to the implications that early childhood behavioral difficulties and development have on later adulthood success (Fronstin, Greenberg, & Robins, 2005), it is important that attention is given to the issues surrounding familial attachment and caregiver interactions. In order to develop appropriate theories and treatment specific to this subject, research must continue to focus around the caregiver/child relationship, the variables that affect the level of attachment, and the variables that influence that attachment.
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    (University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work, 2007) Small, Eusebius; Cavel, Kara A.; Hayes, Jane; Baldridge, Stephen N.; Cabin, William D.; Deka, Ankita; Wesley, Julia M.; Pilkinton, Melinda W.; Quinn, Camille R.
    This is the full-text volume of Perspectives on Social Work, vol. 6 (Fall 2007)
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    Book Review: Morris, A. D. (1984). The origins of the civil rights movement: Black communities organizing for change. New York: The Free Press.
    (University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work, 2007) Pilkinton, Melinda W.
    Although Mr. Morris’ work is more than two decades old, it remains a definitive chronicle of the history of the African American Civil Rights Movement in the United States. Mr. Morris researched archival records and conducted personal interviews with forty-nine significant personalities of this movement to document the story. The depth of his research is admirable. In this book, the story of civil rights is told for posterity. The rich details augment the telling of the history and, in part, serve to correct some of the previously held erroneous beliefs about the movement. Within and beyond the details lie incredible stories of courage, persistence, sacrifice, honor, pride, and evidence of such moral responsibility that one is inspired by the actors. Additionally, the author critiqued the movement based on three theories: classical collective behavior theory, the theory of charismatic movements, and the resource mobilization theory. The theories provided a framework for both positive and negative comparisons.
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    Reflections on Countertransference and the Holding Environment in Psychodynamic Social Work Practice
    (University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work, 2007) Cavel, Kara A.
    The British object relations theorist D.W. Winnicott contributed to psychoanalytic theory and practice through his extensive work in pediatric care. Winnicott emphasized a child’s interaction with the environment, and postulated that “…human infants could not start to be except under certain conditions” (as cited in Buckley, 1986, p. 239). One of these necessary conditions for growth and development is achieved through the activity of holding. Winnicott believed the caretaker’s ability to adapt to the infant and the infant’s physical and psychological needs defined the concept of the “good-enough” parent. The “good-enough” parent is an essential component of the holding environment (St. Clair, 2004, p. 70). The concept of the holding environment also extends to other people and social structures of the child’s life such as the family, the school, and other social systems all contributing to a child’s ability to achieve healthy development (Applegate & Bonovitz, 1995). When the child’s holding environment allows her to express creative gestures without unnecessary impingements, the self naturally evolves (Fonagy& Target, 2003). When this occurs, the child eventually develops a true self, Winnicott’s term for health (Winnicott, 1960). Thus, the conditions of the child’s holding environment highly contribute to the development of her true self. In the following paper, I will use Winnicott’s concepts of the holding environment, countertransference, and true self/false self to explore my psychodynamic social work practice.
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    Still Forcing Back the Color Line: Implications for Social Work Research and Practice
    (University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work, 2007) Wesley, Julia M.
    In 1903, William Edward Burghardt DuBois reported that the problem of the 20th century was the problem of the color line. The color line symbolized relations between the darker and lighter races throughout Asia, Africa, America and the islands (DuBois, 1903). Shortly after Emancipation, the color line facilitated the disenfranchisement of freed Blacks in the United States (U.S.). Slavery had been abolished but the color line continued to hold back justice for freed Blacks newly cast as wards of the state, requiring financial and social governance and protection. DuBois (1903) indicated that “despite compromise, war, and struggle, the Negro [was] not free” (p. 28). Instead, the social, economic, and political existence of freed black men was volleyed between the political positions of the divided North and South. Three years later, DuBois (1906) reported that Blacks had begun to force back the color line. A small number of Blacks formed independent groups, became land owners, and participated in unions. Numerous Blacks sacrificed immediate gratification and often risked their lives for social, economic, and political rights. However, these achievements and sacrifices were associated with negative social and economic costs. Aware of this quandary, DuBois (1906) stated “Negroes have forced back the color line, but undoubtedly increased the color-prejudice of workingmen by so doing” (p. 239). More than a century later, it appears that the color line and the quandary remain. There are indeed implications for 21st century social work research and practice, but the problem of the color line is scarcely tended to in recent social work literature. Thus, the problem of the color line, the forcing back of the color line, and 21st century relevance are discussed in the following sections. Based on DuBois’ writings, the first section provides a historical overview of how Blacks struggled to force back the color line in the 20th century. The second section extends the color line discussion to the 21st century. It provides a critical review of a 2007 national conference on race and its salience for current social and economic issues. The final section discusses implications for social work research and practice.
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    An Analytical Framework for Policy Practice: A Value Perspective
    (University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work, 2007) Hayes, Jane
    It is the intent of this paper to examine the frameworks available to social workers for policy practice. Analyzing policy requires a social worker to integrate a variety of frameworks to produce one that is applicable to the policy/political arena. It also requires that a distinction be made between policy analysis to inform decision making and policy analysis for political action. Policy analysis to inform decisions requires a social worker to maintain an objective and value neutral perspective to generate policy recommendations. Policy analysis for political action also informs the decision makers, but requires the social work policy practitioner to analyze the policy in relation to social work values as well as to take action to implement the policy. Within this policy/political arena, a framework must address substantive, value, and environmental issues. No one framework can address all these issues, thus the necessity of integrating basic concepts of a number of frameworks. The frameworks to be examined for their contribution to this discussion include the analytical descriptive ((Dobelstein, 2003), value critical (Chambers & Wedel, 2005), value committed (Chambers & Wedel), and policy advocacy (Jansson, 2003).
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    (University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work, 2007) Small, Eusebius
    Editorial from Perspectives on Social Work Volume 5 (Fall 2007)
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    Book Review: Simmonds, J. (2006). Children in change: A group curriculum for kids ages 8-14 who are experiencing family change. Minneapolis, MN: Family & Children’s Service, 77 pp. (paperback).
    (University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work, 2007) Quinn, Camille R.
    The home lives of children have changed considerably over the past few decades. There has been an increase in the numbers of children born to single and/or divorced parents and children spending a portion of their childhood in single-parent households (Mare & Winship, 1991). Children whose parents live separately are often disadvantaged as compared to children whose parents live together (Amato, 1994) and given that the current rate of divorce for firsttime American marriages is 50 percent it is more likely that children will face challenges. In addition, the number of children born into cohabitating families is increasing. As a consequence, about two-fifths of all children spend some time in a cohabiting family, and the greater instability of families begun by cohabitation means that children are also more likely to experience family disruption (Bumpass & Lu, 2000). For all of these children, mastery is an ongoing task that requires special tools and preparation. Therefore, the prevalence of family change and the potential effects on children requires our attention and effective methods must be emphasized to assist children in becoming successful. Social workers would be remiss if they use one-dimensional clinical approaches when treating children with these experiences. Also, comprehensive interventions and guidelines that address the full spectrum of children’s needs should be utilized. The book covered in this review has attempted to provide a curriculum including several techniques specially designed for children experiencing changes in their home lives.
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    Conceptualizing Gender Equity in Indian Health Care System
    (University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work, 2007) Deka, Ankita
    Ensuring gender equity in access to basic services has remained an enduring challenge in the political economy of social policy development in most nation states. In India, an analysis of the problem of lack of access to basic services like health care assumes significant complexity, as poverty interplays with structural inequities arising out of caste, class and gender. Gender based differences are not unique to India as they have been the fundamental characteristic of most human societies and they impact all aspects of an individual’s political, socio-cultural , economic and intra-psychic life (Chafetz,1990). However, gender based discrimination has existed in the fabric of the Indian social system for a very long time and has adversely affected women’s development. Gender inequity in access to basic services, stems from the way the gender roles ascribed by society impact the way resources and rights are distributed amongst men and women. Therefore, inequity in health care access is also characterized by the way resources are allocated, distributed and utilized by men and women in India (Thukral, 2002).
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    Ending Welfare and Poverty As We Knew Them: TANF at Ten
    (University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work, 2007) Cabin, William D.
    Let us consider Zakiya Kyle, a 26 year-old single mother with two sons and former welfare recipient in South Los Angeles in 1997, the first year after passage of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA, 1996). PRWORA was lauded by President Bill Clinton to “end welfare as we know it” (Weaver, 2000). The primary means of ending welfare was PROWRA’s Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF), a block grant program which premised assistance on work-before-welfare. TANF replaced the Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) program, the primary national cash income support system for poor families with children originally created by the Social Security Act in 1935 (Trattner, 1999).
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    (University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work, 2007) Dulin, Agnes; McGovern, Justine; Beaulieu, Elise; Becerra, David; Cabin, William D.; Hill, Larry E.; Beaty, Darla D.; Pilkinton, Melinda W.; Gentle-Genitty, Carolyn S.; Lucero, Nancy M.; Russell, Amy; Griffin-Garcia, Jack; Small, Eusebius; Lopez, Kara; McIver, Saralyn; Epstein, Maxine W.
    This is the full-text volume of Perspectives on Social Work, vol. 5 (Spring 2007).
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    Book Review: Razor, Peter. (2001). While the Locust Slept: A memoir. St. Paul, MN: Minnesota Historical Society Press.
    (University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work, 2007) Lucero, Nancy M.
    In his compelling memoir, While the Locust Slept, a Minnesota Book Award Winner, Peter Razor gives a personal voice to the often unspoken heartbreak and loss that is shared by thousands of American Indian parents and grandparents who grew up away from kin and community. Writing in his seventies and compelled by realizations that his childhood experiences were affecting his own children and grandchildren, Razor reminds readers that the effects of dislocation from family and culture do not fade with the passage of time.
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    Self-in-Relation Theory: A Model for Helping
    (University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work, 2007) Pilkinton, Melinda W.
    Self-in-relation theory was first proposed by women researchers at Wellesley College’s Stone Center in 1991 (Jordan, Kaplan, Miller, Stiver, & Surrey, 1991). Self-in-relation theory evolved as a collaborative effort based on research regarding women’s psychological development (Jordan, et al., 1991). Previous researchers had begun to define women’s dysfunctional reactions to societal pressures such as expectations that one “be a good wife” and fulfill expected gender roles according to gender specific norms (Jack, 1987; Stiver & Miller, Copyright University of Houston, 2006 29 1988; Strauss, 1988). These researchers posited that women experience conflict based on the friction between norms and expected gender role functioning vs. their personal needs. This friction, as posited by the researchers, led to depression and other dysfunctional responses (Stiver & Miller, 1988).
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    Creating Useful Knowledge in the Social Sciences through Interdisciplinary Research
    (University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work, 2007) Hill, Larry E.; Beaty, Darla D.
    Interdisciplinary research (IDR) attempts to advance systematic and rigorous “scholarly endeavors that integrate at least two different perspectives into a blended product” (Achenbaum, 1995). Ideally, it produces better results than conventional approaches. Effectively navigating this process resulted in two-thirds of all major social science advances during the social Copyright University of Houston, 2006 24 movements between 1930’s and 1965 (Deutsch, as cited in Achenbaum, 1995). It deviates from the reductionist spectrum of natural and social sciences by introducing a systems-oriented approach. Social Work has led the way in promoting a holistic view of human behavior, but we have not spent enough time talking about interdisciplinary research. This article attempts to articulate some of the process issues which support harmonizing disciplines.
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    Counterpoint-Muscling into the Marketplace: Social Work for the New Millennium A Response to Peter Kindle
    (University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work, 2007) McGovern, Justine
    In his “Answering the Critics: The Inherent Value of Social Work,” Peter Kindle summarizes the history of social work and outlines claims made by critics of the profession (Kindle, 2006). In addition, he leaves the reader with a glimmer of optimism. Indeed, Kindle suggests that despite low standards, ill-defined terrain and mission, and a questionable relationship to social control, social work will carry on because it offers a flicker of hope to impassioned and dedicated social reformers (2006, p.7). However, his conclusion that passion anchors the field and ensures its future also reduces the profession.
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    Results of the 2006 Nursing Home Social Work Survey
    (University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work, 2007) Beaulieu, Elise
    Since 1998, the Massachusetts Chapter of National Association of Social Workers Nursing Home Committee has developed annual surveys about various topics in practice of social work in nursing facilities. The 2006 Nursing Home Social Work Conference Survey addressed the area of social workers’ perceptions of cultural, diversity, and ethno-culture in their facilities. In addition, the survey looked at how they see their facilities meeting the needs of diverse residents.
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    (University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work, 2007) Dulin, Agnes
    Editorial for volume 5 of Perspectives on Social Work, by journal editor Agnes Dulin, LMSW
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    Critical Theory and Critical Thinking: The Failure of Social Work Education
    (University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work, 2007) Becerra, David
    Critical theory emerged primarily through an interdisciplinary approach to examining society, social structures, and power imbalances in an effort to change existing oppressive social structures. One of the most valued principles in the United States is the belief that there exists an open society where people can critically analyze and question the government and social structures in order to promote social justice and equality within society. There have been many examples of movements, from the abolitionist movement to the civil rights movement and beyond, that have been successful exposing social injustice and creating changes within the social structure of the United States. Unfortunately, despite claims of a society that values an openness of ideas and equality, social change does not come easy. Social structures are rigid, people are often resistant to change, and many feel threatened by ideas that question the status quo. Despite the resistance, change in oppressive structures is necessary.
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    Book Review Hooks, B. (1994). Teaching to Transgress - Education as The Practice of Freedom. NY: Routledge.
    (University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work, 2007) Gentle-Genitty, Carolyn S.
    Gastil (2004) writes that by engaging learners in the classroom, in daily political conversations, there is the potential for understanding and critical assessment in daily life. The challenge, no doubt, is how to engage the learners to the point that they value critical Copyright University of Houston, 2006 32 assessment? Self and worldly criticism is what truly transcends the four walls of academia, to learning that enables learners to be ready and equip to participate as active citizens in the real world. This real world becomes reality in and outside the classroom, particularly for social work educators, as the classroom is the microcosm of the world (Giroux, 2004). It is the playground of policy, political dialogue of justice and injustice, and the place for societal review, faultfinding, and engaged dialogue. As such, there must be as much emphasis in what is taught as well as how the material is imparted and conceptualized within the classroom.