Original Paper

Clinical Social Work Journal

, Volume 39, Issue 2, pp 204-211

First online:

Integrating Social Work Perspectives and Models with Concepts, Methods and Skills with Other Professions’ Specialized Approaches

  • Alex GittermanAffiliated withUniversity of Connecticut School of Social Work
  • , Nina Rovinelli HellerAffiliated withUniversity of Connecticut School of Social Work Email author 

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In this article, the authors encourage social work practitioners to identify with and adopt distinctive social work perspectives and practice models rather than solely embrace models or approaches developed by and for other professions. We do so because these perspectives are most responsive to our professions’ mission of social justice and social purpose of paying equal attention to people and their environments. For heuristic purposes, we present and illustrate the ecological perspective and life modeled approach. Since no social work model or approach can take into account every type of life stressor, event and condition, we demonstrate how we can borrow and integrate specialized concepts, methods and techniques from other profession’s approaches. The authors identify five characteristics which borrowed content should meet in order to integrate well with social work models. Accordingly, concepts, methods and skills from a few approaches have particular relevance for social work direct practice: Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy; Motivational Interviewing; Narrative Therapy and Solution-Focused Practice. Moreover, the authors present and illustrate the process of borrowing and integrating concepts, methods and skills from other professions to deepen social work practice.


Ecological perspective Life model Cognitive behavioral Motivational interviewing Narrative therapy Solution-focused