Social Work Practice with Individuals, Groups and Families


SOCW 6313:
Social Work Methods: Individuals, Groups and Families


I Course

A Catalog Description

Cr. 3. (3-0). Prerequisites: SOCW 6311, concurrent enrollment in SOCW 6314. Fundamentals of micro practice aimed toward eliminating barriers to enhanced social functioning. Focuses on the roles, methods, and skills of integrated social work practice with individuals, groups, and families.

B Purpose

This course is a required Foundation courses in the Practice area. Students are concurrently enrolled in SOCW 6314: Social Work Methods: Community Practice. It advances students’ knowledge and skill in social work practice with individual, group, and familial client systems.

II Course Objectives

Upon completion of this course, students will be able to:

1. Demonstrate understanding of the principles, concepts and models of integrated social work practice with individuals, groups and families;

2. Describe and discuss the stages of individual, group and family treatment modalities;

3. Demonstrate skill in assessments, treatment plans, and advocacy appropriate to individual, group and family levels of intervention from an interdisciplinary perspective;

4. Demonstrate understanding of how intervention skills are theoretically based and differentially applied in work with individuals, groups, and families;

5. Demonstrate understanding of principles and concepts relevant to the evaluation of one’s practice efforts;

6. Demonstrate skills in helping individuals, groups, and families to understand the social dimensions of problems; and

7. Demonstrate skills and methods of culturally competent practice with oppressed groups, including but not limited to women, persons of color, persons who are gay or lesbian, and those most economically disadvantaged

III Course Content

Students explore the theoretical basis of micro methods, and practice intervention skills as they apply to individuals, families and groups with special attention to the oppressed and those from varying cultures. In addition, assessment, planning, treatment and evaluation are examined in a manner which can empower clients.

IV Course Structure

Class time will be a combination of lecture, discussion, experiential exercises, and audio-visual material. Guest lecturers and students will be invited to present on specific areas of course content. A significant part of the course will consist of practicing intervention skills. NOTE: Students must have at their disposal a small audio tape recorder and bring this to class to practice skills.

V Textbooks

One textbook and one workbook are required. These are:

Hepworth, D. H., Rooney, R.H., & Larsen, J. (1997). Direct Social Work Practice (5th ed). Pacific Grove: Brooks/Cole.

Cournoyer, B. (2000). The Social Work Skills Workbook (3rd ed.). Belmont, CA: Brooks/Cole – Wadsworth.

Additional readings from the list below (some recommended and others required) and which are mentioned in your Course Outline are on reserve at the M.D. Anderson Library. If a book you want is signed out, please consult your instructor since he may have it.

Dulwich Centre’s Newsletters: 1990 (1) titled Social Justice & Family Therapy. (Excerpt on reserve);

Devore, W. and Schlesinger, E.G. (1996). Ethnic-Sensitive Social Work Practice. (4th or 5th ed.) (See Chapter on Ethnic Sensitive Direct Practice and chapter on Ethnic-Sensitive Practice with Families.)

Hare-Mustin, R. (1986). The problem of gender in family therapy theory, Family Process, 26, (March): 15-41.

Kagle, J. D. and Giebelhausen, P. N. (1994). Dual relationships and professional boundaries. Social Work, 39, (2), 213-219.

Lum, D. (1996). Social Work Practice and People of Color. (3rd or 4th ed.) Pacific Grove: Brooks/Cole. (Section on Micro Level Intervention).

McNair, L.D. (1992). African-American women in therapy. Women & Therapy, 12 (1 and 2): 5-18.

Proctor, E. and Davis, L. E. (1994). Challenge of racial difference: Skills for clinical practice. Social Work, 39 (3): 314-323.

Sabo, D. and Gordon, F. (Eds.) (1995). Men’s Health and Illness: Gender, Power and the Body. Thousand Oaks: Sage. (See especially Chapter 1).

Santiago-Rivera, A. L. (1995). Developing a culturally sensitive treatment modality for bilingual Spanish-speaking clients. Journal of Counseling & Development, 74 (September/October), 12-17.

Savage Jr., J. E. and Kelley, Y. Counseling psychotherapy and black men. In Skovholt & Schauble,  Counseling Men , (pp 130-139). Monterey, CA: Brooks/Cole,  .

Smead, R. (1994). Skills and Techniques for Group Counseling with Youth. Champaign: Research Press.

Tracy, E. M. and Whittaker, J. K. (1990). The social network map: Assessing social support in clinical practice. Families in Society, 71, (8): 461-470.


Your instructor also has an annotated bibliography about references on multicultural content in social work graduate education which he will gladly share with any interested students.



VI. Course Requirements

A. Readings

Required readings are listed on Course Outline. These are also on reserve at M.D. Anderson Library. Additional readings from journal articles or excerpts from books are recommended. Handouts will be made available to students during the course as needed.

B. Assignments:

1. Teaching on Topic, Presenting Case, or Practice Illustration
Choose either “a” “b” or “c”

(a) During first two weeks of this course, select a topic from Course Objectives which interests you. (Topics are written in upper-case letters on the Course Schedule –see below. Do not select a skill as your topic since your instructor will explicate and illustrate these.) Team up with one (max. two) other class participants with similar topic interest. By second week, hand in to instructor a brief note on what topic you will lead the class, and with whom.

(b) Alternatively, you may present a case in class for input and discussion that you have personally been involved with or a case that you wish to simulate. Resembling “case conferencing”, you will seek feedback from classmates and instructor on what you perceive to be both helpful and problematic interventions (which have are already taken place and/or are going to occur). Be sure to give an explanatory introduction of the case to help class participants to understand what is going on. To enhance your case presentation, you might provide a segment of an intervention or interview with your client(s) which was tape recorded. Inform instructor by second week of course so that a date can be assigned for your presentation.

(c) If you chose to simulate an example of direct practice you may select to demonstrate a one-on-one, couple or small group intervention (assigning roles to classmates) based on a client problem or an area of desired growth by a client. Keep in mind all the possibilities of selecting a client from a particular population such as socio-economically disadvantaged; emotionally or physically challenged; gay, lesbian transgendered persons(s); culturally, religiously, racially or ethnically from a minority group.Try to team up with at least one other student to do this presentation. Remember, like in “a” above, each student can simulate both the client and model the counselor.

2. Prepare a brief audio / video taped interview in which you demonstrate the skills of active listening.

You are to demonstrate only paraphrasing (reflecting content and feeling), not probing (asking questions) yet. If you use only audio, describe any non-verbals you think are relevant. Include at least two examples of paraphrasing. Make certain that the technical aspects of this recording are clear to understand. If you use a micro-cassette recorder, use the faster speed (if you have that option).

How to do the assignment: After recording your interview, you will select four consecutive interventions from the total interview. (Do not edit out four interventions from your total interview. They must be consecutive without breaks.) Cue up your tape so that the instructor does not have to look for your interventions when you hand in your assignment which will consist of your tape and written analysis. For each of the four exchanges between speaker and yourself, you will write out verbatim what your client said and what you gave as a response. You will then identify your skill that you used. Next you will briefly analyze your intervention. Lastly, you will give an alternate (what you consider to be a better) response for the one you originally made. Please note that you are evaluated on your analysis and alternative response, not on any initial responses. In fact, you are encouraged to learn by making active mistakes in this course!


I’m very nervous about doing well this semester. I don’t know…. I’ve been out of school so long and I just don’t know how I will fit in. I lost sleep the night before my first class! Most students are younger than me and they seem to know what they’re doing. This all seems so new for me!

You’re not sure about how well you’re going to do starting school again. You don’t seem to have the confidence like those students around you.


I think I got most of what the speaker said, but missed reflecting her emotion.

Alternative response:
I can see that you are quite worried about coming back to school after so many years finding yourself different than most students and feeling really out of touch with things –like going to another planet!

3. Second audio / video taped interview & analysis.

You will prepare an audio or video recording like in Assignment #2 above and follow all the steps you did previously with some additional written work. This time you may include the skill of probing and other  more active and interpretive skills, if it is appropriate in the interview segment that you chose. If you do any reframing or interpretation, state what your “hunch” was based on that you were trying to do. Select five consecutive and unedited interventions. Be sure that you hand in your tape cued to the appropriate place having verified that it is audible.

Additionally, for this assignment, you are also asked to write:

=> The purpose of the interview or group meeting, including any goals and your choice for intervention format(s) (individual, family, group);

=> The stage(s) of the helping relationship you are demonstrating (if this can be discerned);

=> Social work values you have respected, considering gender, cultural, ethnic, class, sexual orientation, ableness, and/or, spiritual/religious, factors;

=> Any particular theoretical approach(es) you are inclined towards;

=> Any strengths and/or weaknesses you are able to identify about yourself as a helper which surfaced through this assignment;

=> Sum up what has been accomplished in this interview or group session and where you expect to go from here with any additional interventions.

Since this assignment is at the conclusion of the course, if you want feedback on your work, include envelope with your name and GSSW student mail box on it (or, self-addressed & stamped envelope if you want it mailed) so your work can be returned to you.

VII Evaluation and Grading:

Total course grade will be comprised of the following:

=> Teaching on Topic / Presenting Case / or Illustrating Practice 30%

=> First audio / visual recording & analysis 20%

=> Second audio / video recording & analysis 40%

=> Attendance / participation (including all exercises) 10%

Please consult UH Graduate and Professional Studies Bulletin regarding incompletes and all other policies such as academic honesty.

VIII Consultation:

Your instructor is available for consultation during office hours (TBA) and by appointment. Office is Room 409 on the fourth floor of the Social Work Building. Best means of corresponding is by email:

Office phone is: (713) 743-8119.
Fax number is: (713) 521-9405.

Note: Printed copies of your work must be handed in. Unless advised to the contrary, your work should NOT be emailed or faxed.

This course is supplemented by an electronic list. You are encouraged to use this list to communicate with your classmates and instructor. Your instructor uses this list to convey information between classes, so it is important to be subscribed (at no cost). See instruction sheet titled “LISTSERV Information for Dr. Dankwort’s SOCW 6313 Course” on how to subscribe (addendum to this syllabus). Get your student account a.s.a.p. and join the list!

(Please note, it is the student’s responsibility to verify that fax or email has been received by the instructor if this method of communication is chosen and the matter is important. Normally, the instructor will acknowledge receipt of any such messages. Remember, the Internet is only as private as a post card. The instructor will not communicate course grades or other sensitive information electronically.)


IMPORTANT:  The American with Disabilities Act of 1990 requires that the University make reasonable accommodation to persons with disabilities as defined in the act. Students who feel they need assistance under the ADA guidelines should approach the instructor to discuss such consideration.


SOCW 6313: Course Schedule with Topics, Assigned Readings & Exercises

Note: It is required that students have completed readings & assignments for the indicated dates of class meetings. Students must bring their recorders to every lab session. Topics for consideration are noted below with an *

Jan. 20


Presentations, “What Helping Is” and “Safe & Supportive Climate” in-class exercises


Jan. 27 and Feb. 3


Due on Feb 3: Your topic choice for Assignment 1 must be turned in.

Readings: H.R.L: Review chs. 3, 4 (skip over exercises); ch. 5 up to “Authenticity” on p. 119, and from pp. 135 to 139 (skip exercises in text); Cournoyer: Ch 1 (skip exercises) and Ch 2.

Due on Feb 3: Cournoyer Workbook exercises: Choose one from the following exercises and be prepared to report to the class on what you did and what, if any, impression it had on you: Exercise 2-1 or 2-4; Also 2-5, 2-6 or 2-11. Also, do Exercise 2-9. You must have completed 3 exercises by Feb. 10.

Due on Jan 27: Optional assigned exercises: “List of Strengths & Soft Spots”

Optional in-class ethical issues exercise.

Video on non-verbals, facial expressions and gestures

Lab: practice active listening / paraphrasing


Feb. 10

Lab: Role plays demonstrating barriers in communicating and practice paraphrasing


Readings: H.R.L: chs. 7 & 16; Cournoyer: Ch. 3;  Also items on reserve: Dual Relationships & Professional Boundaries (Kagle & Giebelhausen); Social Justice & Family Therapy (Dulwich Ctr.)

Due: Exercise 3-1 in Cournoyer. Do all 5 examples and be prepared to discuss one in class.

Optional in-class exercises: “Client Core Messages” and “Empathizing” (not assigned)

Videos on ethics and interviewing.


Feb. 17 & 24


Readings: H.R.L: ch. 6 (up to but not including section titled Summarizing); Ch.19 (up to but not including section titled Confrontation).

Readings: Cournoyer: Ch. 4. and pp. 194-195 and 198-199 in Ch 7.
Due: Do only Exercise 4-4.
Due: Reflecting Content & Feeling Exercises 7-3 and 7-4 in Cournoyer Workbook Ch.7.

Readings: On reserve: Challenge of Racial Difference (Proctor & Davis); African-American Women in Therapy (McNair); Counseling Psychotherapy and Black Men (Savage & Kelley); Problem of Gender in Family Therapy (Hare-Mustin).

Lab: practice paraphrasing


March 3


Due: Workbook Exercise  7-1

Readings: H.R.L. Chs. 5 (rest of Ch.) &14; Cournoyer, Ch. 7. On reserve: Developing a Culturally Sensitive Treatment (Santiago-Rivera);

videos: Therapy choices and different approaches to therapy




March 10: No class –

Spring Break. (Though the University has designated 3/17/01 as the Saturday within Spring Break week, students are requested to take the 10th off and be in class on the 17th. If for any reason this is not possible, you must speak with your instructor as soon as possible.)



March 17

Lab: practice paraphrasing and include summarizing and/or probing skills


Due: First audio / visual assignment

Readings: H.R.L: chs 8, 9 ,12; Cournoyer, pp. 31-43; items on reserve: Social Network Map (Tracy & Whittaker).

Due:  Exercesis 2-5 (your genorgram) and 2-6 in Cournoyer (your eco-map)

Possible guest speaker


March 24


Due: Exercises 7-6  8-1, and 10-4 in Cournoyer.

Readings: H.R.L. Chs. 13 & 15 (skip Crisis Intervention); Cournoyer, Ch. 8. Also, p. 207 on Partializing and p. 330 on Focusing.

In-class exercise:” Barnga” (not assigned)

Video & in-class exercise exploring diagnosis and treatment in line with five-axis DSM-IV

Lab: practice paraphrasing and include partializing and focusing


March 31


Due: Workbook Exercises: Choose one of the three cases and do same one for 9-1 through 9-6. Also do 10-9

Readings: H.R.L. Chs. 13 on Crisis Intervention, and 18 (skip “Confrontation”); Cournoyer, Chs. 9 up to page 300 & 10. pp. 311-317; 350-352.

Possible guest speaker this week or next

Lab: practice any previous skills, including reframing



April 7

Lab: repeat practice of any skills covered to date


Readings: H.R.L. chs. 10 & 16.


April 14


Due: Workbook Exrecise 10-10

Readings: H.R.L. Ch. 18 – section on Confrontation; Cournoyer, pp. 355-356.

video illustrating dynamics using above formats or guest speaker

Lab: practice skill of confrontation plus any previous skills


April 21


Due: Workbook Exrecise 10-8

Readings: H.R.L. Ch. 11 and pp. 116-130 in Ch. 5; Cournoyer, pp 346-347.

Possible guest speaker (this week or next)

Lab: practice any previous skills, especially immediacy and self-disclosure


April 28

Lab: practice skills

Due: Second taped interview and analysis. (Please don’t forget to provide envelope with your student box # or home address and stamps so instructor can return your tape and graded assignment.)


Readings: H.R.L. Chs. 17 & 20; Cournoyer, Ch. 11.

video illustrating group dynamics or guest speaker




The following are useful sources for reading during this course or for future reference:

Bamford, K. W. (1991). Bilingual Issues in Mental Health Assessment and Treatment. Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences, 13 (4), 377-390.

Bograd, M. (Ed.) (1991). Feminist Approaches For Men In Family Therapy. New York: Harrington Park Press.

Buriel, R. & Rueschenberg, E. (1989). Mexican American Family Functioning and Acculturation: A Family Systems Perspective. Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences, 11(3), 232-244.

Chau, K. L. (Ed.) (1991). Ethnicity and Biculturalism: Emerging Perspectives of Social Group Work. New York: Haworth.

Ciornai, S.. (1983). Art Therapy with Working Class Latino Women. The Arts in Psychotherapy, 10, 63-76.

Reid, K. E. (1997). Social Work Practice with Groups: A Clinical Perspective. Pacific Grove: Brooks/Cole.

Dass, R. and Gorman, P. (1991). How Can I Help: Stories and Reflections on Service. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. (Highly recommended)

De Shazer, S. (1985). Keys to Solution in Brief Therapy. New York, N.Y.: W.W. & Norton Co.

Fiene, J. I. & Taylor, P. A. (1991). Serving Rural Families of Developmentally Disabled Children: A Case Management Model. Social Work Journal, 36 (4), 323-327.

Freeman, E. M., Logan, S.M.L., & McRoy, R. G. (1990). Social Work Practice with Black Families: A Culturally Specific Perspective. New York: Lonagman.

Longres, J. F. (1982). Minority Groups: An Interesting Group Perspective. Social Work Journal, 27 (1), 7-13.

Miller, J. B. (1986). Toward a New Psychology of Women. Boston, MA: Beacon Press.

Marlin, E. (1989). Genograms: The New Tool for Exploring the Personality, Career, and Love Patterns You Inherit. Chicago: Contemporary Books.

Mendoza, R. H., & Martinez, J. L., Jr. (Eds.) (1984). Chicano Psychology. Orlando: Academic.

Nelson-Zlupko, L., Kauffman, E., & Dore, M. M. (1995). Gender Differences in Drug Addiction and Treatment: Implications for Social work Intervention with Substance-Abusing Women. Social Work, 40 (1), 45-54.

Parish, B., & Weiss, B. S. (1989). Culturally Appropriate Crisis Counseling: Adapting An American Method for Use with Indochinese Refugees. Social Work Journal, 32 (2), 252-254.

Proctor, C. D., and Groze, V.K. (1994). Risk Factors for Suicide Among Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Youths. Social Work, 39 (5), 504-513.

Rivas, R. F., & Toseland, R. W. (1984). An Introduction to Group Work Practice. New York: Macmillan.

Robinson, J. B. (1989). Clinical Treatment of Black Families: Issues and Strategies. Social Work Journal, 34 (4), 323-329.

Shernoff, M. J. (1984). Family Therapy for Lesbian and Gay Clients. Social Work, 29 (4), 393-396.

Street, E. (1994). Counseling for Family Problems. CA: Sage.

Vosler, N.R. (1990). Assessing Family Access to Basic Resources: An Essential Component of Social Work Practice. Social Work, 35 (5), 434-440.

Watkins, S. A. (1989). Confidentiality and Privileged Communications: Legal Dilemma for Family Therapists. Social Work, 34 (2), 133-136.

White, M. and Epston, D. (1990). Narrative Means to Therapeutic Ends. Adelaide, South Australia: Dulwich Centre Publications.

Williams, N. (1990). The Mexican American Family: Tradition and Change. Dix Hills: General Hall.

Yalom, I. D. (1985). The Theory and Practice of Group Psychotherapy. New York, N.Y.: Basic Books.

Ziter, M. L. P. (1987). Culturally Sensitive Treatment of Black Alcoholic Families. Social Work, 32 (2), 130-135.



LISTSERV information for Dr. DankwortÕs SOCW 6313 sections:

You may easily communicate with your classmates and instructor either one-on-one or collectively without meeting in person or by phone. Simply subscribe to a list especially created for this course to share your thoughts, questions, opinions, concerns, insights or just to get organized around your facilitation topic. You may also contact your instructor privately at his personal email address <>.

How to subscribe:

(1) LISTSERV subscription requests need to be sent to the LISTSERV address rather than to the list itself. You do this by sending mail to LISTSERV@LISTSERV.UH.EDU

with the command in the body of the message, leaving the subject blank:

sub SOCW6313-JD Your Name

(2) You will soon get a reply asking you to confirm by just sending in body of message “ok” (no period between letters and no quotation marks) back to the system. Once you are subscribed, you will get a notice saying that with more information.

How to send messages to the SOCW6322-JD list:
(as opposed to commands to the LISTSERV address, as mentioned above):

send your messages to:


Anyone subscribed to the list –including yourself– will get the message you have sent out.

(Optional: If you are unfamiliar with LISTSERV and its associated commands, you may wish to add the commands:


as additional lines of your message. But this is not necessary if you just follow instructions given here.)

LISTSERV will then send you a file containing a General Introduction to Revised LISTSERV that will give you some instruction on the service and a Quick Reference Card of the various commands.

Very important: Remember to remove yourselves from list at semester’s end by sending this in the body of your message:




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