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Orientation to and validation of relational diversity practice

Judith B. Rosenberger

pp. 13-29

This chapter locates clinical social work practice with diverse populations in the mainstream of contemporary relational practice. As a practice which focuses on immediate client needs as well as the underpinnings in the individual's internal life that affect competence, empowerment, and self-regard, social work has from the beginning been a relational profession (Tosone, Smith College Studies in Social Work, 74(3), 475–487, 2004). This chapter draws on the psychoanalytic traditions of object relations theory, self-psychology, and interpersonal psychoanalysis, summarizing key skills that pertain to the here-and-now, humanistic, and socially informed work that updates the social work tradition. Core skills of social work education are supported and deepened by demonstrating how the psychodynamic concepts of relational theory build mutuality, self-reflective awareness, and relevance to urgent and culturally embedded issues that dominate contemporary clinical practice. Relational social work roots are explained in terms of their historical context, their key concepts and principles, their use in direct practice, and their unique contribution to diversity practice. Diversity itself is explored as a clinical practice dimension, offering the practitioner opportunities for enhanced connection with clients in all clinical social work, as well as with specific populations. Attunement, mutual discovery, co-construction of meanings, collaborative treatment planning, and use of enactments of transference and countertransference are among the dimensions illustrating the therapeutic use of differences between client and clinician. Stages of practice are presented, translating theory to application for the clinical social work student, educator, and practitioner.

Publication details

DOI: 10.1007/978-1-4614-6681-9_2

Full citation:

Rosenberger, J. B. (2014)., Orientation to and validation of relational diversity practice, in J. B. Rosenberger (ed.), Relational social work practice with diverse populations, Dordrecht, Springer, pp. 13-29.

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