Singapore University of Social Sciences

Social Work Practice and Skills Lab I: Working with Individuals and Families

Social Work Practice and Skills Lab I: Working with Individuals and Families (SWK291)


In this first practice and skills lab, the students are introduced to a strengths-based, planned change, generalist practice model encompassing these steps: engagement, assessment, planning, implementation/intervention, evaluation and termination. Emphasis is placed on developing professional relationships with clients and learning basic interviewing skills. Tutorial sessions will function as skills laboratory in which students learn how to apply the practice model to individuals and families from diverse backgrounds through role playing, observations, audiovisuals and case studies.

Level: 2
Credit Units: 10
Presentation Pattern: EVERY REGULAR SEMESTER


  • Generalist practice
  • Empowerment and strengths-based practice
  • Theories of direct practice
  • Self awareness and cultural context of of practice
  • The professional social worker-client relationship
  • Basic interviewing skills
  • Pitfalls in interviewing
  • Assessing individuals: process and tools
  • Assessing families
  • Contracting and planning
  • Intervention with individuals
  • Knowledge and skills for evaluation: record keeping
  • Knowledge and skills for termination:Ethics in social work.

Learning Outcome

  • Demonstrate the beginning self-awareness of one’s strengths and limitations, recognise the potential to help and harm clients, resolve personal issues on grief and loss, and identify transference and counter-transference.
  • Illustrate basic interviewing skills (verbal and non-verbal communication) and relationship building skills with individual and families.
  • Discuss major theoretical practice theories for individuals and families.
  • Analyse individuals and families holistically, based on a synthesis of knowledge of biological, psychological, social, cultural, and spiritual influences on behaviours
  • Explain the helping process in the generalist planned change model based on the strengths perspective: engagement, assessment, planning, intervention, evaluation, termination, and follow-up and how this process is applied to work with individuals and families.
  • Describe major social work roles such as therapist/counselor, educator, broker, case manager, advocate, facilitator, and mediator
  • Appraise risks in individuals and families experiencing crises, such as abuse, addictions, suicide, and post-traumatic stress.
  • Demonstrate racial, ethnic, class, gender, religious, linguistic, and cultural diversity in working with individuals and families and use appropriate assessment tools and interventions.
  • Examine the formats, purposes, and standards of different types of social work recording & writing.
  • Analyze commonly encountered ethical issues in work with individuals and families and learn factors to consider in resolving ethical dilemmas.
  • Outline the position of advocacy in generalist practice
  • Comment on the importance of a human rights perspective for effective practice
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