, Volume 41, Issue 4, pp 376-386

Beyond the Pale of Psychoanalysis: Relational Theory and Generalist Social Work Practice

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Many have noted the consonance between contemporary relational theory and classic social work values and practice principles such as person in environment and starting where the client is. However, there have been few efforts to explore relational theory’s utility to the generalist social work framework. This paper takes the position that relational theory’s intersubjective stance lends new coherence to classic social work principles, and therefore elucidates the process aspects of evidence-based social work practice. In order to illustrate this point, the author applies relational theory to implementation issues around early childhood home visitation with Spanish-speaking immigrant clients—a social work service modality that, like so many others, does not fall into the category of individual psychotherapy in the context of private practice.