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Psychological and Clinical Theories

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Social Work Theory and Ethics

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Abstract

Psychological and clinical theories are one of the major sources of knowledge in social work practice. The first part of this chapter provides a critical review of four psychological theories — psychodynamic, humanistic, cognitive behavioural and postmodern theories — and their application in social work practice. The theories’ relevance to social work objectives and their strengths and limitations are discussed. The second part of the chapter considers mindfulness as a newly emerging psychological and clinical theory. A review of its philosophical underpinnings and relation to major social work objectives is provided. Using mindfulness as an exemplar, the author demonstrates how psychological theory can be applied and adapted in the process of social work program planning and practice. The design of mindfulness-based programs for children and parents in social work programs is introduced, with a discussion of practice knowledge, ethical issues and trauma-informed practice using mindfulness. Finally, the benefits of learning and practicing mindfulness for social work practitioners are discussed. The conclusion of the chapter is that social workers should spend more effort to reflect and adapt the use of psychological and clinical theories in practice. The benefits of mindfulness in empowering the lives of clients and practitioners and its impact the social work profession should be reviewed and promoted.

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Correspondence to Herman Hay Ming Lo .

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Lo, H.H.M. (2023). Psychological and Clinical Theories. In: Hölscher, D., Hugman, R., McAuliffe, D. (eds) Social Work Theory and Ethics. Social Work. Springer, Singapore. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-19-1015-9_2

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